Visual Identity Politics and Remix Society


“Black is Beautiful” a.k.a. The cultural appropriation of anti-racism protest by angry white men.

This post was originally published on November 28, 2019, as part of a serie of visual articles called "Black Pete is Blackface". 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!

A Black man calls “Out with that ugly Black Pete” and a right-wing white extremist man shouts “Black is Beautiful”. This is not a sketch from a comedy show. This is the comic raw reality of 2019. — Sandew Hira, International Institute of Scientific Research

What is Cultural appropriation?
“In a clip taken from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on September 7, 2017, Dulce Sloan defines cultural appropriation as “when you take something that defines the culture that you’re not a part of and profit off of it.” [0’50’’]. In the essay ’In defence of Cultural Appropriation’ published in the New York Times, Kenan Malik quotes the definition of Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, who defines it as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” This can include the “unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.” (Malik, 2017)”… — click here for more

“Hij [Erwin Wagensveld, frontman Pegida] vindt dat de politie ‘zich laat misbruiken door de NTR’. En waarschuwt dat ze het dit jaar vreedzaam hebben geprobeerd. ‘Nederland kan volgend jaar wat anders verwachten.’ En als hij en de andere Pegida-pieten even later afgevoerd worden naar een arrestantenbus roept hij: ‘Black is beautiful’. Enkele passanten grinniken, anderen schudden afkeurend hun hoofd.”

“He [Erwin Wagensveld, leader Pegida] thinks that the police is ‘being used by the NTR (National Broadcaster of the St Nicolas Parade, which features soot-petes only). […] “The Netherlands can expect something else next year.” And, when he and other Pegida-Petes are being removed to a policebus, he shouts: “Black is Beautiful!”. Some passers-by chuckle, others shake their heads in disapproval.” (translation by author) (De Volkskrant)

“2019 is het jaar van het omslagpunt in de sociale beweging tegen Zwarte Piet. Als je er middenin zit, zie je het niet. Maar tien jaar later zal 2019 gemarkeerd worden als het jaar van de omslag. Waarom? 

Als Mitchell Esajas van KOZP op de demonstratie in Den Haag roept: “Weg met die lelijke Zwarte Piet” en Edwin Wagensveld, voorman van de extreem-rechtse Pegida, volledig zwart geschminkt, wordt gearresteerd bij een intocht en scandeert “Black is Beautiful”, dan weet je dat er iets fundamenteels is veranderd. Het beeld is hilarisch. Een zwarte man roept “Weg met die lelijke Zwarte Piet” en een extreem-rechtse witte man roept “Black is beautiful”. Het is niet een verzinsel uit een comedy show. Het is de komische rauwe werkelijkheid van 2019.”

(Sandew Hira, International Institute of Scientific Research in “Kick Out Zwarte Piet, Claim Your Victory, published on November 11, 2019 on

“Power to the people!” (Willy Keurig on August 27, 2014 on Youtube)

Geert Wilder’s respons to the Black Live Matters protests in The Netherlands, on June 1st (Amsterdam), June 2nd (The Hague) and June 3rd (Rotterdam), after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA by a white police officer. Found on Twitter, June 5, 2020.