Our Colonial Hangover
Did you know Santa uses a black slave to help out with all those presents? Well in Holland he does! Every Christmas in the Netherlands, the same debate rages over Black Pete, Santa's black-faced assistant who is played by a blacked-up white person. Sporting an afro and huge red lips, the character is reminiscent of racist colonial caricatures of black people, like the infamous ‘golliwog’. But in Holland there is huge resistance to its banning, with supporters claiming it is an innocent tradition for children. The debate reveals a society at odds over how to deal with racism, and unable to confront its colonial legacies.