Children mostly unaffected by blackface Zwarte Piet debate: Survey

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pieten
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pieten. kiekkiek / Wikimedia Commons

Two thirds of parents whose kids still believe in Sinterklaas say their kids are mostly unaffected by the ongoing debate surrounding blackface Zwarte Piet, according to a survey by I&O Research among 3 thousand adult Dutch, AD reports.

Seven percent of respondents indicated that their children are heavily affected by the debate, 27 percent said their kids are somewhat affected. These parents mostly indicated that their kids are "confused" and "can't understand" the debate. "The children know: Zwarte Piet is nice. And it scares them that there are people who do not find him nice", one parent said.

Slightly less than half of the children who believe in Sinterklaas got an explanation from their parents on why Zwarte Piet's appearance is changing. Three quarters of that group found it "very good" to "good". 

Most of the respondents are very much set against the changes RTL and Sinterklaasjournaal made to Zwarte Piet this year. RTL is only using Chimney Piet characters, whose faces are covered in soot. Sinterklaasjournaal got a mixture with black, white, sooty, and Mondrian Piet characters. 62 percent consider the changes RTL made to be "bad" or "very bad". 58 percent feel the same about the changes in the Sinterklaasjournaal. 

A total of 65 percent of the surveyed think that Piet should not change at all, 14 percent are happy with a color mix among the Piet's and 1 percent think that Zwarte Piet should be abolished completely.

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