Nothing wrong with racist white people parading around proudly in blackface, right? What possibly could go wrong with that, couldn’t possibly offend anyone, right?
When we in the United States think of the Netherlands, we typically think of very liberal people, quite polite and intellectually-inclined. We hear about their superior schools (which really isn’t that hard to achieve if we’re honest), excellent health care system, free college education, and how happy everyone is supposedly. Sounds quite nice, actually.
Until we hear about “Black Pete” (which apparently seems to be) Santa Clause’s charcoal black racist side-kick.
Obviously we’re not from the Netherlands and admittedly hardly know much at all about Black Pete, Netherlands culture or racism in that neck of the woods, but it seems nonetheless to be quite present.as this story from the BBC illustrates.
Here’s the link: Dutch Race Hate Row Engulfs Presenter Sylvana Simons
Based on the article it seems that Sylvana’s critique of the obviously racist character of Black Pete (just look at the photos of Black Pete parades in the Hague, as white people parade around in typical black face) has sent the Dutch into spinning racist hissing fits, spewing forth racist commercials, racist/misogynistic/sexist jingles, and everyone else apparently going bonkers over her fairly tame (from what I can see) assessment that the character should be re-thought or updated or removed.
In a recent article entitled “Black Unemployment is Still Shamefully High,” from The Atlantic magazine (link here), the author for the well written piece brings attention to something our President either doesn’t care about or is somehow unable to do anything about, which is the fact that black unemployment has not gotten better during his run; and if anything it’s actually gotten much worse.
English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For “the most powerful man in the world” he seems strangely unable to do much of anything when it comes to institutionalized racism in the form of high unemployment, inner city blight, an educational system incapable of doing much more than warehousing. Is it that Congress and the Senate won’t let him do anything, that he really means well and is a great guy but is paralyzed by all the red tape? Or is it that he’s a person who loves to hear himself speak, loves the spotlight and power, but doesn’t care about others more than in terms of what they can do for him and his career? We’ll probably never know the real Obama, but we can see what’s going on in our world if we’re brave enough to open our eyes and assess.
Unemployment has gotten worse under Obama, and he laughs and preens and struts and even lectures black Americans, while he refuses to take action to ameliorate situations and institutions bent on crippling them either through inaction, malice, or ignorance (and does it ultimately matter the intent when the outcome is the same?).
How many of candidate Obama’s promises has he kept? None I can find.
The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, safety nets are taken down, schools continue on their downward slope, and Obama’s kids will be very well off for the rest of their lives. And perhaps that’s all that really matters- to him.
I applaud the Atlantic for being one of the few great magazines still being published and daring to address the issue.