Visual Identity Politics and Remix Society


White Master and Black Servant

The folkloric figure of Black Pete is a racist stereotype; a prolongation of a long history of blackface. As the folktale goes, mid November St. Nicolas and his group of helpers, called 'Pieten' arrived in The Netherlands. They will return to Spain after December 5th. During this period, I will post daily on the subject matter of the 'racist character of Black Pete'. Each post will show, deny, neglect, protest, present, discuss or challenge an aspect of this racist character. Black Pete must go!

“In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries popular representations of daily life under slavery, ownership and servitude are shown as so ‘natural’ that they require no comment. It was part of the natural order of things that white men should sit and slaves should stand: that white women rode and slave men ran after them shading them. […] These images are a form of ritualized degradation. On the other hand, some representations are idealised and sentimentalised rather than degraded, while remaining stereotypical, These are the ‘noble savage’ to the ‘debased servants’ of the previous type.” (Hall 1997, 245)