Social Acceptance Takes A Holiday

, , , | Friendly | July 31, 2018

(It’s a few weeks before the holiday of “Sinterklaas,” a holiday similar to the “Santa and presents” part of American Christmas. For decades, there has been a discussion in the Netherlands about “Zwarte Piet” — “black Pete” — a character who is to elves what “Sinterklaas” is to Santa, because he/she is portrayed in blackface. The past few years, the discussion has become much more heated.)

Acquaintance: “You know, I wouldn’t complain about the traditions of a country I moved to. The people who are saying that Pete has to change just don’t understand Dutch culture. They shouldn’t complain, or they should go somewhere else if they don’t like it.”

Me: “Many of the people complaining are actually Dutch. Not just the white ones, either; a lot of the people of colour who are complaining had their parents or grandparents grow up here already! How could they not be familiar with Dutch culture?”

Acquaintance: “But they just don’t understand the holiday the way you and I do!’

Me: “You know that my parents are from Germany, right? I don’t even have citizenship.”

Acquaintance: “You are less foreign than they are, though.”

Me: *speechless*

(Sadly, before I could ask what in the world made me “less foreign,” we had to leave.)

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