Category Archives: Violence

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

 

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

 

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still hand out candy.
They can still wear the same costumes.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and kruidnoten,
and taai-taai,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and marzipan,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Music Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you (also a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (again, a relatively new phenomenon).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
People can still exchange gifts.
Everyone can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.

And this is how you react?

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(Welcome in the Netherlands, where all cultures are permitted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

 

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

The November 4 Demonstration

20171104_132226Well, there was supposed to be a November 4 demonstration calling to impeach Trump and Pence at Republic Square Park today from 1 – 5 pm, but I was there from 12:45 to about 2:30 and there was pretty much nobody. One guy with a sign, everyone else could have just been there because it was a park. Continue reading

Fascism in America 11: Conclusion

dutch police homeless

Image: funnz.nl

Most of you Americans on the left were gobsmacked when Trump won the election. You did not see it coming at all; you thought that common sense would prevail in the end, but it didn’t. You completely underestimated the allure of Trump. Continue reading

Fascism in America 9: From Toxic Masculinity to Annihilation?

trump masculinity

Image: nydailynews.com

Hitler made sure the German youth was indoctrinated at school and in the Hitler Youth. His idea of a perfect Germany with perfect Germans was a country populated by blond-haired, blue-eyed people–the men strong and handsome, doing manly-man things like intimidating and killing the Untermenschen, starting with the Jews, and the women buxom and beautiful, keeping house and having as many perfect German babies as possible. For the purpose of this article I’ll focus on the men. Continue reading

Fascism in America 8: Violence and Intimidation

militia charlottesville

Image: slate.com

Fascists don’t consider violence to be per definition bad, as long as they are the ones meting it out, through violent and intimidating government actions and policies, armed militias and/or war. In Germany the Nazi Party quickly became militarized and bullied and intimidated its way into power.

But first, let’s look at America’s history of violence and intimidation. Continue reading

Fascism in America 6: Authoritarianism

15-donald-trump-salute.w529.h352

Image: nymag.com

Authoritarianism: favoring blind submission to authorities, favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people. So no labor unions, no strikes, power lies with corporations, police, government.

In the last post in this series I gave a short history of the police in the Netherlands, and of the basic police training when I was the librarian at one of the police training schools from 1984 to 1992. That should help to put what I have to say about the police in America and American authoritarianism in general in context. Continue reading