PDA

View Full Version : Dutch Magazine's Shocking Racefail



missesdash
12-21-2011, 06:57 AM
Probably one of the more ridiculous racefails I've read recently. A magazine referred to Rihanna as a "niggabitch" (????) and claimed it was American slang. It then goes on to call her Jamaican (she's not) and it's just a fail of epic proportions. Here's an excerpt:



She has street cred, she has a ghetto ass and she has a golden throat. Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, is the ultimate niggabitch and displays that gladly, and for her that means: what's on can come off. If that means she'll be on stage half naked, then so be it. But Dutch winters aren't like Jamaican ones, so pick a clothing style in which your daughter can resist minus ten. No to the big sunglasses and the pornheels, and yes to the tiger print, pink shizzle and everything that glitters. Now let's hope she won't beat anybody up at daycare.


here's an article about the whole drama:
http://jezebel.com/5869436/incredibly-stupid-magazine-says-rihanna-is-ultimate-niggabitch-with-ghetto-ass

Medievalist
12-21-2011, 07:06 AM
If you look around at the original site, it's a little . . . odd. Not sure what's going on there, but lots of stuff on the malicious end of the spectrum. Ranging from referring to women in terms of their size and weight, breast size, orientation, to outright racism and anti-semitism. Sorta sick-making.

My native-speaking Dutch friend tells me that they're more like the mags you get in the checkout line at the supermarket than Glamour or meh . . . I dunno what a U.S. "Fashion" mag would be, honestly.

But she says they're equally offensive in Dutch, if not worse.

And that even two years ago, the Dutch would've been outraged.

veinglory
12-21-2011, 07:12 AM
Calling it "US slang" is just... dumb.

escritora
12-21-2011, 07:17 AM
I don't understand the context in which niggabitch is being used in this article. Did the author think niggabitch is a compliment? I don't know what the term means, but it sounds as though the definition is someone who is a follower.

missesdash
12-21-2011, 07:31 AM
That's the thing, it's not a real word, slang or otherwise. Apparently she thinks it means "ghetto fabulous" or something along those lines.

veinglory
12-21-2011, 07:32 AM
...Or so she says.

escritora
12-21-2011, 07:38 AM
That's the thing, it's not a real word, slang or otherwise. Apparently she thinks it means "ghetto fabulous" or something along those lines.

Oh, I see. This story is even uglier than I thought. Is "ghetto ass" acceptable? No one seems to be commenting on that phrase.

Ari Meermans
12-21-2011, 07:45 AM
I don't understand the context in which niggabitch is being used in this article. Did the author think niggabitch is a compliment? I don't know what the term means, but it sounds as though the definition is someone who is a follower.

I was wondering the same thing. I don't know what they're going after by using that term. But then, I'm also scratching my head over "pink shizzle". Pink shizzle? Do they not know what that word means or was that really the tone they're going for?

Frankly, everything in just that one paragraph from "ghetto ass" to "Now let's hope she won't beat anybody up at daycare." is deeply offensive. Well, everything except Rhianna having a "golden throat". Yeah, that article is a huge-assed fail.

Ari Meermans
12-21-2011, 07:47 AM
Oh, I see. This story is even uglier than I thought. Is "ghetto ass" acceptable? No one seems to be commenting on that phrase.

LOL You posted while I still composing.

missesdash
12-21-2011, 07:59 AM
Oh, I see. This story is even uglier than I thought. Is "ghetto ass" acceptable? No one seems to be commenting on that phrase.

I mean "ghetto ass" isn't acceptable, but at least you can find it used in American hip hop culture. Niggabitch is just....it's just so out there. It could never be anything but a fail. Boggles the mind. And seeing her try to defend it made me face palm even more.

Glad Rihanna responded on her twitter haha

escritora
12-21-2011, 08:09 AM
I think Rihanna has a great ass. I can't be alone in that thought.

missesdash
12-21-2011, 08:31 AM
Well yeah! Haha. "Ghetto booty" is a compliment usually. I think that's what they meant. "Ghetto ass" is just calling someone ghetto. Like "that ghetto ass chick" or "shut your ghetto ass up."

The latter tends to be classism when used by people outside of the community.

jmlee
12-21-2011, 08:37 AM
Ummmmm I'd like to say yes to the pornheels, though. Pornheels are my favorite.

escritora
12-21-2011, 08:39 AM
Well yeah! Haha. "Ghetto booty" is a compliment usually. I think that's what they meant. "Ghetto ass" is just calling someone ghetto. Like "that ghetto ass chick" or "shut your ghetto ass up."

The latter tends to be classism when used by people outside of the community.

Yes, yes. Where did my mind go? "Ghetto ass bitch" is popular where I live -- in a minority community.

Kitty27
12-21-2011, 09:04 AM
Good Lawd.

I give credit to Rihanna's Dutch fans. They let this phuckery have it. In what world did they think niggabitch was acceptable?

Then that half assed apology?

Chile,please.

Friendly Frog
12-22-2011, 12:28 AM
here's an article about the whole drama:
http://jezebel.com/5869436/incredibly-stupid-magazine-says-rihanna-is-ultimate-niggabitch-with-ghetto-ass

And yet some racefail of their own in the same article:


...especially racist time of year for the Netherlands it's the time when people put on blackface to imitate Zwarte Piet (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2011/12/zwarte_piet_holland_s_favorite_racist_christmas_tr adition_.html), Santa's "servant.
Racist?! :rant: Thanks for tarring a cultural icon. (And Sinterklaas is not Santa!)

missesdash
12-22-2011, 12:41 AM
Racist?! :rant: Thanks for tarring a cultural icon. (And Sinterklaas is not Santa!)

I'm on the fence about it. Ive seen people argue that it isn't blackface because he's covered in ash. But that doesn't explain the curly hair and big red lips. And from what I understand the original story describes him as being of African descent.

It's possible that it's both a cultural icon and a racist representation.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 12:47 AM
eta: cross post!



I'm completely gobsmacked. Man. I have no words for how bad that is.



The blackface in Zwarte Piet is an interesting issue, imho. I tend to take those old myths as myths -- where folks can come in strange shapes and colors -- so the fact that he's black doesn't surprise me or anything.

I still can't grasp whether folks enjoyed the coincidence, though. Was Swarte Piet ever associated with Black folks? I can't wrap my head around whether that's racist today or not.

Take our Tar Baby, for instance. I may be wrong, but I don't think the original was supposed to even be human, no? Nowadays a Tar Baby reference gets put with race, definitely, and it's important to note that.

evilrooster
12-22-2011, 01:06 AM
I'm American, but live in the Netherlands. I've discussed Zwarte Piet with a fair few Dutch people, and the near-universal consensus is that they don't see him as inherently racist. Pieten are, in tradition at least, a thing apart from modern racial types. They don't, for instance, wear modern clothing; they're always in sixteenth-century garb, with bright velvet pantaloons and jacket, a lace ruff collar, and a hat with a feather in it. (Also, Pieten are generally treated as male, even the ones portrayed by women.)

It's true, say my Dutch friends, that some people use Zwarte Piet as a way to express their racist views, adding exaggerated accents and modern "bling" to try to stereotype people of African descent. But, they also say, such people would be racist whether or not Zwarte Piet was part of the Sinterklaas tradition. And if the Dutch were to eliminate Zwarte Piet from their celebrations, the country's racial problems would not go away.

I'm not Dutch. And one thing I have learned, being an expat for my entire adult life, is that my distinctly American models of what things mean within a society don't always transfer to another culture. Signs and signifiers are not universal. So I am prone, absent more evidence from people with the experience and background to know, to trust my local informants' description of the reality of the situation.

(By the same token, the writer and editor of that article should not even try to defend their language, particularly after people with a deeper understanding of the culture they're writing about have told them it's out of line.)

missesdash
12-22-2011, 01:06 AM
Tar Baby wasn't a person, no. But the term was used to describe black people in a way that was (and is) derogatory. It's like 'coon. Obviously there's nothing racist about a raccoon, but the term is a racial slur.

I don't think it's quite the same, however. Zwarte Piet is alternately described as a moor and an ethopian. So he's definitely a person of color.

Medievalist
12-22-2011, 01:17 AM
The blackface in Zwarte Piet is an interesting issue, imho. I tend to take those old myths as myths -- where folks can come in strange shapes and colors -- so the fact that he's black doesn't surprise me or anything.

He was always black, but the very earlier depictions and written descriptions of an unnamed and possibly demonic servant forced to serve St. Nicholas were clearly of a mythological creature, with non-human attributes (like feline or equine ears, and long claws). There are some indications that the very earliest concepts borrowed a fair amount from early Germanic myths involving divine servants who listened and reported overheard conversations while lurking around a chimney or smoke hole (hence the dark color, perhaps ?).

The association of Zwarte Piet with Sinterclaas is interesting in terms of the medieval saint's legends regarding St. Nicholas—he was said to have been from Turkey, and had in the very early dramas/interludes a Turkish servant, who was often dark and wearing Turkish or Moorish garments. In some early carols and saints legends Zwarte Piet is said to have a child born into slavery and freed by Sinterclaas (St. Nicholas frees children born into slavery in a number of legends too). Zwarte Piet functioned as a cross between a herald and a servant to the saint (announcing his presence, carrying messages, etc.) Some of the legends have Sinterclaas and St. Nicholas both making their home in Spain, right across from North Africa.

Increasingly though Piet has been depicted with stereotypical attributes to the point that I do think there are at least some clumsy or possibly non-well intentioned allusions. I don't see how one can look at some of the modern Zwarte Piet portrayals and not see them as racist. Not so much the dark skin, as the exaggerated lips that are white or red, and an "afro" wig. These are awfully reminiscent of images in early racist cartoons.

missesdash
12-22-2011, 01:18 AM
@evilrooster

I think the key word there is "inherently racist." I'm also curious as to whether or not the people you spoke to were PoC. For me, the issue is that there are PoC in the Netherlands who are offended by his depiction.

I don't think his clothing makes a difference. If they were to dress up as 16th century Chinese people and tape their eyes back, it would still be offensive. So is it racist in intent? Probably not anymore. But does it cause PoC to feel ridiculed and excluded? That's the issue.

I think it's also worth noting that this isn't just an American issue. Other western people see the depiction as rather horrifying as well. Again, is a person a racist for dressing up? Definitely not. But that doesn't make the image itself any less antagonizing.

evilrooster
12-22-2011, 01:34 AM
@missesdash: The majority of the people I spoke to were ethnically Dutch. And it's possible that the things that my informants say to foreigners are not the same as the things they truly think.

But I'm deeply cautious of the notion that I, as a foreigner, understand the roots and implications of any Dutch tradition just by standing outside of it and looking at it. I don't get the polder model instinctively either; bits of the cultural underpinnings of that keep whacking me across the face. It strikes me as sheer arrogance to figure that I've got the real shape of Zwarte Piet, given my other experiences here.

I know some Dutch people of color have a problem with Zwarte Piet. I know others don't. I also know that I haven't the full picture, and it seems unwise of me to pretend that I do.

@medievalist: I've never seen a Zwarte Piet with white lips.

Friendly Frog
12-22-2011, 01:41 AM
I won't say that the origins of the tradition that Sinterklaas' servant/companion is black and wears moorish clothes is all that racism-free. But then some parts of the tradition are quite old and from different sources.

But to call the way Sinterklaas is celebrated today, racist, is IMO [not] knowing the event . No Sinterklaas is quite complete without at least one Zwarte Piet. Kids love them. In school we loved dressing up as him, which only the last year was allowed to do. (The ash comes in my experience only in view when a white person plays the part of Zwarte Piet. Burnt cork was the tried and true (inexpensive) method for years and years in my school.)

I have yet to meet anyone of colour who finds the tradition offensive and while that is just anecdotically and doesn't prove anything , none of the agencies that monitor and denounce racism (and they are quite vocal) here in Belgium has -to my knowledge- ruled Zwarte Piet as racist or offensive.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 01:46 AM
Tar Baby wasn't a person, no. But the term was used to describe black people in a way that was (and is) derogatory. It's like 'coon. Obviously there's nothing racist about a raccoon, but the term is a racial slur.

I don't think it's quite the same, however. Zwarte Piet is alternately described as a moor and an ethopian. So he's definitely a person of color.

This all is such an interesting discussion!



The original original Tar Baby story was Muscogee :) Everyone should read it sometime, imho. It's just a trickster story at heart. I know I've heard the Br'er Rabbit one, but I've forgotten its details.

Medievalist
12-22-2011, 01:50 AM
@medievalist: I've never seen a Zwarte Piet with white lips.

I suspect that's because you don't read the more err . . . right-wing sorts of pamphlets? Not sure what to call them . . . Dutch propaganda that wants to keep the Netherlands for the "real" Dutch. No Indonesians, Asians, Flemish, Jews, etc. etc.

The thing that I think is interesting is that the costumes changed -- and I'm not sure when--for Zwarte Piet sometime after 1928. I have a kids book about Sinterclaas and Zwarte Piet doesn't feature much, but in the illustrations he wears a feathered and jeweled turban, and looks rather like a Genie.

Now, he looks like a sixteenth century western European court page, though the feather is still usually there.

missesdash
12-22-2011, 01:50 AM
I think the issue is clouded by the fondness for the tradition. In almost every discussion in the topic, someone brings up how much kids "love" it.

But most of them avoid addressing why it's okay for a nation of white people to dress up as an exaggerated and mocking version of a person of color. When you strip everything away: is it okay for a white person to put on a curly black wig, red lipstick and brown face paint to celebrate a national holiday? And if this depiction upsets the people who are of the origin it mocks, should it be addressed?

evilrooster
12-22-2011, 02:15 AM
@missesdash: I don't see that I can add anything more of use to this discussion. I think that the issue is more complicated, and less absolute, than you cast it. I think that neither of us, as foreigners, really understand what's going on in a culture where we don't speak the language fluently and don't have the full context. You disagree.

I would note that most of the Dutch people of color who are active in anti-racism movements are less concerned with Zwarte Piet than with the year-round problems that Dutch people of non-European descent face. Given the choice between eliminating Piet and tackling the problems tied up in the term allochtoon (just to pick one issue), the matter of brown makeup and wigs fades into the background.

missesdash
12-22-2011, 02:23 AM
@evilrooster

I definitely agree that my perspective as an outsider is different than someone who lives there and speaks the language. I am not, however, speaking strictly as an outsider. I'm speaking as a black person whose ancestors are represented by the clownish depiction.

I don't mean to imply that my opinion overrules that of someone who is Dutch. But I do think that when the issue is of race, the emphasis should be on how the message is received by the marginalized group and not how the privileged group defends their behavior.

And obviously there are bigger issues. But it is possible to still discuss smaller problems while dealing with larger ones. This is just a topic discussion, anyhow. I think everyone, regardless of background, is free to discuss it.

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 02:36 AM
I have to side with missesdash here. I saw something about this on tv when I was ten, living in Alabama. I'd recently watched Bamboozled. It was definitely a wtf moment for my mind.

In the end, I may be a foreigner looking in on another culture, but there's no denying that this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg/280px-Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg

looks like this:

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x433/thebloodfiend/intocht_zwarte_pieten.jpg

And I find it deeply offensive that anyone would try to deny that they do look similar. Is it intentionally racist? Maybe it used to be. Is it intentionally racist now? Probably not. But is it racist, regardless of intent? To some. Do I, as a black person, find it offensive? Yes.

And, tbh, I don't have time to look up the history behind zwarte piet. I probably should. By my ignorance on the topic doesn't detract from the similarities between the two images. Minstrel shows and blackface are a very delicate topic. And I find it odd that a Christmas icon just so happens to look like someone in blackface, down to the curly hair.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 02:41 AM
Wow. I've only seen old drawings of old Piet. He's gotten a makeover for sure.

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 02:50 AM
Wow. I've only seen old drawings of old Piet. He's gotten a makeover for sure.

Yeah, google is a marvelous friend. And I'm doing wiki-research on it (forgive me for my laziness), but the whole argument around keeping Piet's color black instead of going with a spectrum of colors is sounding a lot like certain other arguments I've heard people like Kathryn Stockett use in reference to "cultural" icons of our past. It's probably not intentional racism, but I cringed when I saw the images that popped up on goggle for zwarte piet. They're little better than the images that appear when you type "black face".

Gold earrings? Afro wigs? Yeah, I'll be passing on that.

Anyway, in reference to Rhianna -- isn't she from Barbados? I'm not a fan and I know that. A little wiki research could've solved that singular fuck up. It's amazing how lazy some paid journalists are.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 02:53 AM
If we were definitely and positively talking about a mythical creature, would it being the color black offend you? This is a new question, since Piet is clearly all twisted and muddled.

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 03:03 AM
If we were definitely and positively talking about a mythical creature, would it being the color black offend you? This is a new question, since Piet is clearly all twisted and muddled.

It's the appearance, not the history, that bothers me. It could be a unicorn hybrid that god graced with wisdom, but it still looks like something out of a minstrel show. In fact, deeming it not human makes it worse IMO.

It's not just the black. It's the hair and the lips combined with the earring. Alone, one might not be that bad. But the combination is like a one, two, three punch.

Parametric
12-22-2011, 03:06 AM
This reminds me of the alarming moment when I was staying with Dutch friends at Christmas only to be woken at 7am by a strange man in blackface offering me gingerbread.

shaldna
12-22-2011, 03:07 AM
.

Glad Rihanna responded on her twitter haha

Just a shame that she had to respond in the way she did. Girl should have had more class.

Edit for clarification: responding to abuse with more abuse helps nothing.

missesdash
12-22-2011, 03:07 AM
If we were definitely and positively talking about a mythical creature, would it being the color black offend you? This is a new question, since Piet is clearly all twisted and muddled.

I don't think any reasonable person cares if evil things are the color black. I don't feel like something represents me negatively just because it's a dark color. That's kinda silly :D

missesdash
12-22-2011, 03:12 AM
Just a shame that she had to respond in the way she did. Girl should have had more class.

Haha I don't know, have you seen her twitter? Her mouth is unapologetically bad. I kind of love it, to be honest. Someone comment to her once "why does your hair look so nappy on the cover of your album?"

She replied simply, "Cause I'm black, bitch!"
It's definitely vulgar, but it's so perfect it's its simplicity. Believe it or not, a lot of feminists really enjoy her potty mouth. It's nice she doesn't feel the need to "behave." But yeah, classy isn't the word :D

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 03:17 AM
I dunno, I thought her response was kind of funny. Classy, no. But it's Rhianna. I'd expect nothing less.

After this and the backlash against the "we found love" video, sad to say, butI might actually like her in the way that I like robpattz.

Sure, more abuse does nothing to help (well, I think it does, but that's neither here nor there) but you've got to admit, she got the message across.

Friendly Frog
12-22-2011, 03:20 AM
After spending way too much time trying to construct a post, I thought better of it. There is no way I can explain things properly across the cultural divide. Not without sounding like defending the behaviour of the privileged group anyway.

But if how another perceives a tradition is key, then an explanation of intent or view of the party to whom the tradition belongs, is pointless anyway.

I just hadn't realised that what we considered a harmless children's event can not ever be untied from the ugly western colonial past. So I leave it at that.

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 03:23 AM
But if how another perceives a tradition is key, then an explanation of intent or view of the party to whom the tradition belongs, is pointless anyway.

I just hadn't realised that what we considered a harmless children's event can not ever be untied from the ugly western colonial past. So I leave it at that.

It isn't pointless. In fact, I think it would add to the discussion. I just didn't want the connection to western culture to be denied.

missesdash
12-22-2011, 03:26 AM
After spending way too much time trying to construct a post, I thought better of it. There is no way I can explain things properly across the cultural divide. Not without sounding like defending the behaviour of the privileged group anyway.

But if how another perceives a tradition is key, then an explanation of intent or view of the party to whom the tradition belongs, is pointless anyway.

I just hadn't realised that what we considered a harmless children's event can not ever be untied from the ugly western colonial past. So I leave it at that.

I think the intent has been pretty well explained. I understand your POV. As it's the same that has been expressed by other Dutch people in the comments of various articles around the web. I get it.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 03:35 AM
It's the appearance, not the history, that bothers me. It could be a unicorn hybrid that god graced with wisdom, but it still looks like something out of a minstrel show. In fact, deeming it not human makes it worse IMO.

It's not just the black. It's the hair and the lips combined with the earring. Alone, one might not be that bad. But the combination is like a one, two, three punch.

Oh, I mean just the color with this question.


I don't think any reasonable person cares if evil things are the color black. I don't feel like something represents me negatively just because it's a dark color. That's kinda silly :D

But if white people dressed up painted as 'black' people for something, is that still offensive? Not Black people. Just black, lol. Obviously not for a modern dance or anything, either, where the artist part is clear.

thebloodfiend
12-22-2011, 03:39 AM
Oh, I mean just the color with this question.

But if white people dressed up painted as 'black' people for something, is that still offensive? Not Black people. Just black, lol. Obviously not for a modern dance or anything, either, where the artist part is clear.

No. It's not the color. It's the color combined with everything else. If it were red, orange, green, yellow, blue, I wouldn't care. But the black with the lipstick and the hat/bandanna and the earrings and the wig? It's like a mammy doll brought to life.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 03:40 AM
Uh huh!

missesdash
12-22-2011, 03:42 AM
If white people dress up as black people, it's offensive yes. If a white person paints themselves black and sticks on horns and claws, no I wouldn't care lol.

It's about it being representative of me. And I'm definitely not a mythical creature. Okay, well that last point is up for debate BUT

If someone is walking down the street painted black, I'm not going to assume it has anything to do with race. if they have red lips, an Afro wig and gold jewelry on, yeah that's black face.

dress up as exaggerated or negative depiction of another race = no
dress up as strange brown colored non-human creature = go crazy

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 04:11 AM
Cool. Thank you! My white-from-a-huge-line-of-white-folks side of the family had the tradition of scaring us that Belsnickle would give us switches if we were on Santa's naughty list.

Now, I never even heard what Belsnickle looked like, but apparently he darkens his face with coal sometimes. He also may bring you coal (and switches). Around here, anyway.

I don't agree at all with the racist depictions of Piet, but I just thought that there were a lot of mean, coal-related Santa's helpers everywhere. It shows how one's background makes such a difference!

Polenth
12-22-2011, 11:38 AM
The trouble with Zwarte Piet is that the tradition has had a lot of racist trappings added. An evil helper of Father Christmas (and equivalent figures) happens elsewhere in Europe. But elsewhere in Europe, that helper is a demon/devil, and is clearly black as in the night, not black as in a human from Africa. Zwarte Piet is a morphed version, with a modern design based on minstrel shows.

A similar thing comes up with Morris men in the UK. Some traditionally blacken their faces, based on the old stories of people using ash to disguise themselves (when Morris dancing wasn't allowed). In this form, black face makeup is simply black face makeup. But when someone adds a curly wig and red lips, they can't argue they're sticking to an unrelated and un-racist tradition - they're using the tradition to justify minstrel-style blackface (and as a result, it becomes harder to convince people it really did start independently to minstrel shows... traditional Morris makeup does not have coloured lips or wigs).

Zwarte Piet would be a non-issue if he'd actually stayed traditional. This isn't really about sticking to tradition... it's about trying to justify keeping the modern racist additions, on the shakey basis that it's "always been that way". Minstrel shows are relatively recent, so he really hasn't looked that way for long.

Kitty27
12-22-2011, 12:14 PM
I agree with Polenth.

If he had stayed traditional,I wouldn't have a problem. But adding afro wigs,red lips,gold earrings and the like? The character has clearly been chopped and screwed with derogatory imagery concerning Blacks. Maybe the Dutch don't see it that way because they aren't apart of the US' tortured history with regards to race. As a Black person,I see it and can't help but wince.

To me,this is exactly what Bloodfiend called it as.

Ken
12-22-2011, 02:59 PM
... not cool. Fortunately, Rihanna isn't the sort to let an incident like this get her down. She's tough, and also pretty :-)

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 08:54 PM
I agree with Polenth.

If he had stayed traditional,I wouldn't have a problem. But adding afro wigs,red lips,gold earrings and the like? The character has clearly been chopped and screwed with derogatory imagery concerning Blacks. Maybe the Dutch don't see it that way because they aren't apart of the US' tortured history with regards to race. As a Black person,I see it and can't help but wince.

To me,this is exactly what Bloodfiend called it as.

The Dutch have a different history regarding race that was tortured for certain groups for sure, though. Our tortured history came with white people and black people living together in great numbers (not from that, but with that), and I think the modern consequences leave us less racist than the Dutch in a lot of ways, too.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 03:29 AM
The Dutch have a different history regarding race that was tortured for certain groups for sure, though. Our tortured history came with white people and black people living together in great numbers (not from that, but with that), and I think the modern consequences leave us less racist than the Dutch in a lot of ways, too.

Wasn't it the Dutch that started international slave trade? I'm pretty sure their industrious (& illustrious) empire was built off the back of it (at least that's what I remember from my MAVO history class).


less racist than the Dutch in a lot of ways, too.

For a nation considered one of the most liberal in Europe, my experience of the Dutch attitude to race is that they can come off as very racist in comparison -- but that form of racism is based on the very liberalism they are acclaimed for. Speak your mind, and bluntly. I don't think it ever is intended as entirely hateful, but such language and reactions, attitudes etc will always be provocative, and the main issue is that they don't really consider it racist (a huge issue, no?), or simply don't see reason to censor themselves.

Dutch hip-hop culture is also a weak clone of the American one, it copies tone and language, but not origin. I call it plastic hip-hop. There are several Dutch hip-hop acts that use derived and assimilated (bastardised and ignorantly implemented) 'ghetto slang'. I was constantly face-palming in my 10 years over there.

I've read the original article (from the screen shot) and I see what they were going for, but i can't condone the ignorance of it, nor the 'joke' defense, which is clearly untrue. They wanted to be 'down' with the young 'uns and hip... but did it very badly, very badly indeed.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 03:50 AM
I mean "ghetto ass" isn't acceptable, but at least you can find it used in American hip hop culture. Niggabitch is just....it's just so out there. It could never be anything but a fail.

Dr Dre:

Bitch Nigaz (http://www.lyricsdepot.com/dr-dre/bitch-niggaz.html)

Bitch ass Niggaz (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/drdre/bitchassniggaz.html)

missesdash
12-23-2011, 03:58 AM
Dr Dre:

Bitch Nigaz (http://www.lyricsdepot.com/dr-dre/bitch-niggaz.html)

Bitch ass Niggaz (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/drdre/bitchassniggaz.html)


Lol neither of the phrases you posted are "niggabitch"

That's like saying we have the word applepine because we say "pineapple." Also, historically, putting the word "nigger" in front of something is used to disparage that item. So saying someone has "nigger lips" or "nigger hair" is a very serious insult. Calling them a "nigga bitch" is doubly insulting.

Niggabitch is not and has never been American slang. Trying to defend it as so is ridiculous.

ETA: and "bitch ass nigga" while used, is definitely an insult. It's basically calling someone a coward or a little girl.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 03:59 AM
I'm not defending anything -- did you read my previous post? There's nothing American slang in this article either. I also said this:


Dutch hip-hop culture is also a weak clone of the American one, it copies tone and language, but not origin. I call it plastic hip-hop. There are several Dutch hip-hop acts that use derived and assimilated (bastardised and ignorantly implemented) 'ghetto slang'. I was constantly face-palming in my 10 years over there.

I also don't agree with posters on the site in your OP who generalize that all Europeans and Japanese people are racists... that's kind of the same ignorance if you ask me.

missesdash
12-23-2011, 04:28 AM
Sorry, I read your post before you added the part about hip hop culture. I'm still not entirely sure why you linked me to a dr dre song. Specifically one that doesn't use the phrase in the post you're replying to.

And I read through a lot of the comments. I didn't see any that said all Europeans were racist. But I did see some interesting commentary from actual Europeans and people who have lived abroad. I like reading varied POV's.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:39 AM
Sorry, I read your post before you added the part about hip hop culture. I'm still not entirely sure why you linked me to a dr dre song. Specifically one that doesn't use the phrase in the post you're replying to.

I was trying to illustrate how this sometimes is realised:


Dutch hip-hop culture is also a weak clone of the American one, it copies tone and language, but not origin. I call it plastic hip-hop. There are several Dutch hip-hop acts that use derived and assimilated (bastardised and ignorantly implemented) 'ghetto slang'. I was constantly face-palming in my 10 years over there.

It's entirely possible and not unthinkable that 'nigger bitch' is such a bastardisation... I've seen and heard worse. It's also not entirely unthinkable that this wasn't the case.


But I did see some interesting commentary from actual Europeans and people who have lived abroad. I like reading varied POV's.

Like me?

missesdash
12-23-2011, 04:56 AM
I specified "actual" because some were Americans spouting nonsense. I wasn't trying to be flippant. I assumed, based on your handle, that you were European. But I wrote the post rather quickly. So sorry if it seems angry or rude.

escritora
12-23-2011, 04:58 AM
If the writer wrote 'nigga bitch' and thought it was American slang, I'd say that's possible. 'Niggabitch' is too, too, how do I describe it? Um, too precise(?) in its spelling (one word) to be a mistake. There's a lot of confidence in 'niggabitch' that isn't in 'nigga bitch.'

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:59 AM
I wasn't trying to be flippant. I assumed, based on your handle, that you were European. But I wrote the post rather quickly. So sorry if it seems angry or rude.

Gadzooks! I didn't mean for my reaction to appear as if I was angered... I could have used a smiley, so here it is ;)

kborsden
12-23-2011, 05:02 AM
If the writer wrote 'nigga bitch' and thought it was American slang, I'd say that's possible. 'Niggabitch' is too, too, how do I describe it? Um, too precise(?) in its spelling (one word) to be a mistake. There's a lot of confidence in 'niggabitch' that isn't in 'nigga bitch.'

Dutch grammar often fuses separate terms when forming new ones.

escritora
12-23-2011, 05:03 AM
Dutch grammar often fuses separate terms when forming new ones.

Good to know and that's the root of my point. The writer new it wasn't American slang.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 05:04 AM
The writer new it wasn't American slang.

Exactly my point -- the writer could have been using an ignorantly assimilated bastardisation.

escritora
12-23-2011, 05:06 AM
Exactly my point -- the writer was thus using an ignorantly assimilated bastardisation.

Oh, I see. I misunderstood the intent of your original post. My bad.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 05:08 AM
Not to worry... happens quite often.

nighttimer
12-23-2011, 10:55 AM
I don't understand the context in which niggabitch is being used in this article. Did the author think niggabitch is a compliment? I don't know what the term means, but it sounds as though the definition is someone who is a follower.

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say this was some lame ass mofo's attempt to be the cool White guy (or gal) and kick a little street slang like the homies do, yuknowwhuti'msayin?

Unfortunately, something got lost in translation. There's nothing so sad as a White person trying to be down and ending up clowning themselves instead.

Now I don't care anything about Rihanna's music, but the slur against her seems to be just part of an ongoing attack on the beauty of Black women. It's right up there with the Psychology Today article about how ugly Black women are and the recent attack by a corpulent Republican representative on Michelle Obama implying she had a "fat ass."

Black women are demeaned, degraded and constantly put down by White men, White women and Black men as well. From clueless turds like Albert Haynesworth to Tiger Woods to Terence Howard to Kobe Bryant, Black male celebrities and athletes don't seem to think they've arrived until they can have everything a White man has, including a White woman.

They need to listen to some "Soul On Ice" by Me'shell NdegeOcello:

We've been indoctrinated and convinced by the white racist standard of beauty
The overwhelming popularity of seeing, better off being, and looking white
My brothers attempt to defy the white man's law and his system of values
Defiles his white woman, but my my, Master's in the slave house again
Visions of her virginal white beauty
Dancin' in your head
Your soul's on ice
Your soul's on ice
Brother brother
Are you suffering from a social infection mis-direction
Excuse me does the white woman go better with the Brooks Brothers suit?
I have psychotic dreams
Your jism in a white chalk line
You let my sister go by
Used to be customary to bow one's eyes at the sight of a white face konks and fade

Creams sad passion deferred dreams I am a reflection of you
Black and blue pure as the tears of coal-colored children crying for acceptance
You can't run from yourself
She's just an illusion
Black love anthems play behind white-skinned affection
New Birth stereophonic spanish fly let her cry.
But you no longer burn for the motherland brown skin
You want blond-haired, blue-eyed soul
Snow white passion without the hot comb

aruna
12-23-2011, 12:40 PM
Wasn't it the Dutch that started international slave trade? I'm pretty sure their industrious empire was built off the back of it (at least that's what I remember from my MAVO history class).



.

The Dutch were the first colonisers of Guyana; they are reputed to have been the cruelest slave-owners. I, by the way, am descended from Dutch; the result, no doubt, of some long-ago rape by a Dutchman on one of his female slaves. Happened all the time.

In Germany, black Germans have been struggling for a long time to get the word "Neger" blackliset; no pun intended! It's the German translation for Negro. The word is regarded as perfectly ordinary and non-racist; most Germans will defend is saying it is just a neutral word for a black person, and not used as an insult. That may be the intention, but tell that to a black person!
The German word farbig, meaning coloured, is sometimes used and it really sounds ridiculous; it has a bit of a sense of multi-coloured, at least to me.

Flicka
12-23-2011, 01:38 PM
In Germany, black Germans have been struggling for a long time to get the word "Neger" blackliset; no pun intended! It's the German translation for Negro. The word is regarded as perfectly ordinary and non-racist; most Germans will defend is saying it is just a neutral word for a black person, and not used as an insult. That may be the intention, but tell that to a black person!
The German word farbig, meaning coloured, is sometimes used and it really sounds ridiculous; it has a bit of a sense of multi-coloured, at least to me.

'Neger' is the Swedish equivalent of 'Negro' and it's considered completely inappropriate and simply isn't used. Ever (unless you vote for the National Democrats). There was a lot of dispute regarding a certain kind of cake in the 80s and 90s. It's basically balls of chocolate oat cookie dough (without egg) rolled in coconut flakes. It used to be called 'negerboll' (I think you get what it means w/o translation) and suddenly people realised it wasn't exactly PC which launched a huge debate. The interesting thing is how everyone I ever met who defended this as 'harmless' or 'traditional' would also prove to be very anti-immigration. With a little prodding, they'd say the most outrageous things about PoC (or anyone non-Nordic, actually). That experience has just left me with a deep suspicion of the 'traditional' and 'harmless' defence. If it completely without meaning or hidden implications, what's the harm in using another word? Why cling to it if it doesn't mean anything that a PC term wouldn't?

And btw, we now call it 'chocolate ball' and it works absolutely fine.

aruna
12-23-2011, 02:35 PM
'Neger' is the Swedish equivalent of 'Negro' and it's considered completely inappropriate and simply isn't used. Ever (unless you vote for the National Democrats). There was a lot of dispute regarding a certain kind of cake in the 80s and 90s. It's basically balls of chocolate oat cookie dough (without egg) rolled in coconut flakes.

And btw, we now call it 'chocolate ball' and it works absolutely fine.

There was exactly the same phenomenon in Germany.
They were a cream-filled chocolate confectionary called "Negerkuesse" -- Negro kisses. There seems to have been a bot of an uproar over them, because they have now been renamed Choco Kisses (in German).

kborsden
12-23-2011, 02:52 PM
There was exactly the same phenomenon in Germany.
They were a cream-filled chocolate confectionary called "Negerkuesse" -- Negro kisses. There seems to have been a bot of an uproar over them, because they have now been renamed Choco Kisses (in German).

Negerzoenen in Dutch (again, Negro Kisses), and their cheap varient Nikkepikken (Negro Willies) and the freshly made Moorkoppen (Moor's heads) are marshmallow filled confectionary with a biscuit base similar to English tea cakes (Negerinnentetten, or Negress Tits/Nipples in Belgium); most companies have changed the name, but some fabricants still see little reason to censor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate-coated_marshmallow_treats

ETA: <sarcasm to balance a point> I'm offended by the fact that a member of this forum has named themselves Flicka which is similar to the dutch word flicker (translated, faggot).

kborsden
12-23-2011, 03:01 PM
But most of them avoid addressing why it's okay for a nation of white people to dress up as an exaggerated and mocking version of a person of color. When you strip everything away: is it okay for a white person to put on a curly black wig, red lipstick and brown face paint to celebrate a national holiday? And if this depiction upsets the people who are of the origin it mocks, should it be addressed?

Sinterklaas was sainted because of his missionary work prior to his charity work. He brought several Moors and Muslims back from Spain to the Netherlands as catholic converts. They weren't exactly slaves, and modern times sees them as workers/helpers equally deserving of respect. The Piets are a representation of them -- the name Piet is derived from Petrus (a common re-naming for converts). The first Piet was Sinterklaas' aid and advisor abroad who assisted in attending to Americo (Klaas' white stallion that pulled his carriage laiden with gifts for the poor).

Despite the question of acurate and/or historical truth in this, it is a far more realistic interpretation of the Christmas tradition than the elves and flying reindeer Coca-Cola subsequently invented based on it.

missesdash
12-23-2011, 03:32 PM
Sinterklaas was sainted because of his missioary work prior to his charity work. He brought several Moors and Muslims back from Spain to the Netherlands as catholic converts. They weren't exactly slaves, and modern times sees them as workers/helpers equally deserving of respect. The Piets are a representation of them -- the name Piet is derived from Petrus (a common re-naming for converts). The first Piet was Sinterklaas' aid and advisor abroad who assisted in attending to Americo (Klaas' white stallion that pulled his carriage laiden with gifts for the poor).

Despite the question of acurate and/or historical truth in this, it is a far more realistic interpretation of the Christmas tradition than the elves and flying reindeer Coca-Cola subsequently invented based on it.

I was aware of this. Although I don't think it matters as far as the discussion about whether or not it's racist is concerned. I have trouble following your line of thought sometimes. Why did you quote the section of my post without answering the questions in it. Or, do you think the historic significance answers my question?

Flicka
12-23-2011, 03:46 PM
Negerzoenen in Dutch (again, Negro Kisses), and their cheap varient Nikkepikken (Negro Willies) and the freshly made Moorkoppen (Moor's heads) are marshmallow filled confectionary with a biscuit base similar to English tea cakes (Negerinnentetten, or Negress Tits/Nipples in Belgium); most companies have changed the name, but some fabricants still see little reason to censor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate-coated_marshmallow_treats

ETA: <sarcasm to balance a point> I'm offended by the fact that a member of this forum has named themselves Flicka which is similar to the dutch word flicker (translated, faggot).

Oh, I hope you never visit Sweden then, because it means 'girl' in Swedish and is an extremely common word.

I'm not sure exactly what your point is, but if it is meant to show that it's somehow silly for minority groups to demand that the majority exchanges what they feel to be offensive expressions for perfectly good neutral ones, then I don't agree. Or did you mean something else?

aruna
12-23-2011, 03:50 PM
Negerzoenen in Dutch (again, Negro Kisses), and their cheap varient Nikkepikken (Negro Willies) and the freshly made Moorkoppen (Moor's heads) are marshmallow filled confectionary with a biscuit base similar to English tea cakes (Negerinnentetten, or Negress Tits/Nipples in Belgium); most companies have changed the name, but some fabricants still see little reason to censor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate-coated_marshmallow_treats

ETA: <sarcasm to balance a point> I'm offended by the fact that a member of this forum has named themselves Flicka which is similar to the dutch word flicker (translated, faggot).

Yes, that's exactly what Negerkuesse (or Mohrenkoefe = Moor's Heads) are. You will still find German threads in the net with Germans complaining that they aren't "allowed" to call them Negerkuesse etc, and insisting that they still will use that word and they won't submit to all the PC nonsense etc.

As for Flicka -- I assumed he/she was named after the horse Flicka in one of my favourite books, My Friend Flicka!

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:01 PM
I'm not sure exactly what your point is, but if it is meant to show that it's somehow silly for minority groups to demand that the majority exchanges what they feel to be offensive expressions for perfectly good neutral ones, then I don't agree. Or did you mean something else?

I was trying to illustrate how sometimes offence results from not knowing or having the context readily available. I don't think it's silly and I can fully understand -- and in the case of the confectionery, it's obvious what is meant with the word, but whether the intention is offensive is another matter.

On another note, words have power -- words are powerful weapons, this is true. It's also true that such power is given to them, not by those who use them in this way, but those who are harmed by them. Some words, like 'nigger', have centuries of untold and infamous cruelty attached to them which makes it all the more difficult to deny such power. Be that as it may, the power is everyone's/anyone's to take back. Censorship only serves to add to that power...

Flicka
12-23-2011, 04:07 PM
As for Flicka -- I assumed he/she was named after the horse Flicka in one of my favourite books, My Friend Flicka!

... Who was named Flicka because the stable hand Gus was Swedish. :) I loved that book as a kid, but it wasn't until I'd grown up that I realised that she was called 'Flicka' in English too!

But seriously, if anyone would be offended by my user name, I'd ask the administrators if they could possibly change it. It matters little to me so if it matters much to someone else, then I don't see what the problem is.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:12 PM
do you think the historic significance answers my question?

In part, yes. I did say that Piet is a respected and important part of the tradition. You say it's a mockery.

I'll add to my post and say that your perception of the seasonal holiday is flawed as far as it is incomplete. I once took my brother to see Klaas in Rotterdam; they had real black actors playing Piet. He didn't believe it was Sinterklaas because they weren't the real Piets.

I knew a lad whose parents had immigrated to the Netherlands from Suriname. His father enjoyed playing Piet every year, and even then put on the black theatre paint and lipstick -- the reason, because (young) children in Holland don't associate Piet with people of colour/ethnicity. In fact most children, as my brother (then 6) and his friends were happy to tell me, believe that Piet is black because he comes down the chimney. It's only as they enter into junior school or toward the end of infants that they note the 'similarity'.


I was aware of this. Although I don't think it matters as far as the discussion about whether or not it's racist is concerned. I have trouble following your line of thought sometimes.

Because you aren't considering whether it's racist or not -- you're considering if it should be seen as racist. These are 2 different ways to approach a situation. Racism in my view is a conscious act of discrimination, mockery or hate toward an individual or group of ethnic distinction (not necessarily minority). That said, there is still room to cause offence through sheer ignorance... but who's really to blame? Can you call a baby wilfully unhygienic because they poop in their nappy?

I've encountered all manner of ugliness and ignorance in my life, and one thing that I've learnt is that I can no more hate a person for their idiocy than I can hate myself for seeing it.

Yes, people should act upon racism and any other form of discrimination or prejudice -- but when does doing so also become a form of discrimination in itself?

Flicka
12-23-2011, 04:17 PM
I was trying to illustrate how sometimes offence results from not knowing or having the context readily available. I don't think it's silly and I can fully understand -- and in the case of the confectionery, it's obvious what is meant with the word, but whether the intention is offensive is another matter..

But in my example the context was fully clear for, for example, my sister's friend who was born in Ethiopia and the first boy I kissed whose father was from Nigeria. It was perfectly clear to them, and they were offended. So I'd use another word.

Everybody happy! :)

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:26 PM
But in my example the context was fully clear for, for example, my sister's friend who was born in Ethiopia and the first boy I kissed whose father was from Nigeria. It was perfectly clear to them, and they were offended.

The context of the cake and its name. I agree that it may startle because it startled me when I first encountered it; I wasn't sure what to think! But whether that implies an intention to offend is another matter, as I said. Clinging to such terms is also pointless, as you say, especially when they don't add anything a more PC term wouldn't. The choco-kiss or chocolate ball is, in my view, even a better name as it puts us all on the same page. My point is not the name per se, but whether it ever intended offence.

aruna
12-23-2011, 04:44 PM
... Who was named Flicka because the stable hand Gus was Swedish. :) I loved that book as a kid, but it wasn't until I'd grown up that I realised that she was called 'Flicka' in English too!
.

...and means "little girl" in Swedish. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Gorgeous book!

kborsden
12-23-2011, 04:55 PM
Off-topic>>>


...and means "little girl"

Hmmm... if both languages share a root or common reference for this word, perhaps that's why it is applied as a derogatory term for homosexual males?

missesdash
12-23-2011, 06:18 PM
Because you aren't considering whether it's racist or not -- you're considering if it should be seen as racist. These are 2 different ways to approach a situation. Racism in my view is a conscious act of discrimination, mockery or hate toward an individual or group of ethnic distinction (not necessarily minority). That said, there is still room to cause offence through sheer ignorance... but who's really to blame? Can you call a baby wilfully unhygienic because they poop in their nappy?

I've encountered all manner of ugliness and ignorance in my life, and one thing that I've learnt is that I can no more hate a person for their idiocy than I can hate myself for seeing it.

Yes, people should act upon racism and any other form of discrimination or prejudice -- but when does doing so also become a form of discrimination in itself?

Actually, I acknowledged that it wasn't racist in intent. But the problem is that intent doesn't matter here. If you run someone down with your car on accident they die in the same way as if you run them down on purpose. "Accidental" racism isn't about causing offense. It's about reinforcing 1. harmful stereotypes (I've read plenty of Dutch PoC recount being called Piet by small children. Again, not to mock, but still deeply humiliating) 2. White supremacy. And no, I don't mean nazis and the KKK. I mean the idea that "you, PofC may be the one represented here, but how my image makes you feel ISN'T IMPORTANT."

Racism is harmful whether or not it is intentional. And I agree that children may not always know the context. But the Dutch people I spoke to acknowledge that they saw the problematic nature once they were old enough to see Piet as what he is: a person of color.

And it's astonishing that you don't underdstand why I called Piet a mockery. He is a dark black color that we don't come in, with red lips that we don't have. He is the exaggerated image of a PofC. The toys that have his big red floppy mouth and white eyes, that isn't the celebration of a PofC. We don't *look like that*

I agree that ignorance is the cause a lot of time. But when Dutch people are made aware that their image of Piet is deeply offensive and mocking to black people, the response isn't one of understanding. It's generally to defend the racist depiction because it's "tradition."

Honestly, I wouldn't mind the fact that he was black if he was portrayed as a realstically looking black person in animations and drawings. AND if he was only played by black actors. You want to show how much you "respect" this iconic PofC by having a white person don an unattractive (to the point of not looking human) representation of him?

The racism may not be intentional. But when one is made aware that the image is racist and still refuses to correct the problem, it becomes intentional and even malicious as it requires a complete disregard for the opinion of PofC.

ETA: here's a very good article on why intent doesn't matter when the result reinforces the oppression of marginalized people. It's very sarcastic in tone and there's some language, but it gets the point across: http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/intent-its-fucking-magic/

kborsden
12-23-2011, 08:51 PM
It's not that I don't understand. Obviously, I'm not stupid. Looking at something from a different angle does not automatically equate to a lack of comprehension. Perhaps balance is not necessary.

I concede, you're absolutely right. If something has no clear hateful intent, does not resemble a person of colour (in your words for having elements that are not true representations) and is not associated with a person of colour by those for whom it is intended, it must be racism, unintentional or otherwise.

Here's something that never fails to prove that very point. I'm not sure if you're old enough to remember this... In the 80s a German toymaker (may very well have been Zapf) franchised a new line of dolls aimed at the black market Enterprising and progressive, no? Hmm. They called her 'Coco'. I know. Rather than have the doll renamed, public outrage had her discontinued as a mockery and shameful display of discrimination.

thebloodfiend
12-23-2011, 09:15 PM
It's not that I don't understand. Obviously, I'm not stupid. Looking at something from a different angle does not automatically equate to a lack of comprehension. Perhaps balance is not necessary.

I concede, you're absolutely right. If something has no clear hateful intent, does not resemble a person of colour (in your words for having elements that are not true representations) and is not associated with a person of colour by those for whom it is intended, it must be racism, unintentional or otherwise.

Not quite sure what your point is, but I think you need to re-read my posts from page 2.



I have to side with missesdash here. I saw something about this on tv when I was ten, living in Alabama. I'd recently watched Bamboozled. It was definitely a wtf moment for my mind.

In the end, I may be a foreigner looking in on another culture, but there's no denying that this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg/280px-Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg

looks like this:

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x433/thebloodfiend/intocht_zwarte_pieten.jpg

And I find it deeply offensive that anyone would try to deny that they do look similar. Is it intentionally racist? Maybe it used to be. Is it intentionally racist now? Probably not. But is it racist, regardless of intent? To some. Do I, as a black person, find it offensive? Yes.

And, tbh, I don't have time to look up the history behind zwarte piet. I probably should. By my ignorance on the topic doesn't detract from the similarities between the two images. Minstrel shows and blackface are a very delicate topic. And I find it odd that a Christmas icon just so happens to look like someone in blackface, down to the curly hair.


No. It's not the color. It's the color combined with everything else. If it were red, orange, green, yellow, blue, I wouldn't care. But the black with the lipstick and the hat/bandanna and the earrings and the wig? It's like a mammy doll brought to life.

White Americans have a history of dehumanizing black Americans. That's what missesdash means. I've experienced this first hand in elementary school.

The newer representation of Piet is a blatantly obvious representation of various racist portrayals of black people. There is no other viewpoint on what he looks like. Now, you can discuss the intent behind Piet all you'd like. I don't really care. But you don't seem to understand what his appearance portrays and why it is insulting.

At the most basic level, it sends out the message that blacks aren't human.



Here's something that never fails to prove that very point. I'm not sure if you're old enough to remember this... In the 80s a German toymaker (may very well have been Zapf) franchised a new line of dolls aimed at the black market Enterprising and progressive, no? Hmm. They called her 'Coco'. I know. Rather than have the doll renamed, public outrage had her discontinued as a mockery and shameful display of discrimination.

I'm not quite sure what relevance this holds to Zwarte Piet. I'm unable to find images of this doll, or even references to it in relation to Zapf creations.

Piet's current image is a shameful mockery that continues old displays of discrimination.

missesdash
12-23-2011, 09:42 PM
It's not that I don't understand. Obviously, I'm not stupid. Looking at something from a different angle does not automatically equate to a lack of comprehension. Perhaps balance is not necessary.

I concede, you're absolutely right. If something has no clear hateful intent, does not resemble a person of colour (in your words for having elements that are not true representations) and is not associated with a person of colour by those for whom it is intended, it must be racism, unintentional or otherwise.

Here's something that never fails to prove that very point. I'm not sure if you're old enough to remember this... In the 80s a German toymaker (may very well have been Zapf) franchised a new line of dolls aimed at the black market Enterprising and progressive, no? Hmm. They called her 'Coco'. I know. Rather than have the doll renamed, public outrage had her discontinued as a mockery and shameful display of discrimination.

I get the feeling you missed every point I made. Or you're being intellectually dishonest because you feel a tad defensive. Your "it doesnt look like you so it isnt you" argument pretty much invalidates anyone who has ever been offended by black face or minstrel shows. You yourself brought up the fact that Piet is supposed to be a person of color. Do we no longer agree on that point?

Read my post again. Intent *doesn't* matter. The depiction is racist. It is an offensively exaggerated depiction of a black person. It's nothing new or specific to The Dutch. We've all seen it before. Piet is essentially a festive golliwog.

ETA: And the doll story isn't really relevant to my point because I never said Piet should be banned. In fact I suggested a less racist portrayal.

Kitty27
12-23-2011, 10:16 PM
I can add no more. Missesdash and Bloodfiend have stated the problem very well.

kborsden
12-23-2011, 10:36 PM
At least we've got that cleared up then.

kborsden
12-24-2011, 11:32 AM
Just out of curiosity, what makes this any less racist?

http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/WhiteChicks.jpg

Maybe it's the added sexist overtones of men as women? Or, is it the stereotypical depiction of a white vacuous cheerleader as played by black guys in make-up, face paint and prosthetics?

MacAllister
12-24-2011, 11:37 AM
Well, Kie, in part it's not racist because white cheerleaders didn't spend centuries being exploited and sold by Black people as property.

The lives of blond cheerleaders have never been at the mercy of the whim of some Black guy who decided to accuse her of seducing or raping him, whether the accusation was coerced or manipulated or deliberate.

There's simply not the weight of exploitative history to lend weight to the condescension and scorn and mockery. In fact, it's a strange sort of upside-down examination and reversal, when you consider how many black men were lynched (http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/brute/) in America for either real or supposed sexual relationships with white women.

When there are thousands of images like that, going back better than two hundred years, maybe we can draw an equivalence. But in this case? It's a red herring, a false equivalency, and a derail.

It's the same reason that portraying Bush as a monkey is fundamentally a different argument than portraying Obama as a monkey, in political cartoons.

And you're verging on trolling in here, whether intentional or not.
I suggest you ease up a bit.

kborsden
12-24-2011, 11:48 AM
No trolling intended -- I'll leave at that. I just wanted to approach this in the way a child might, because as I see it, no child is born a racist and the children inherit the world after us. If we can't see the world as they do and must add connotations to everything, aren't we only passing those on and not educating any of the simplicity in acceptance at all?

MacAllister
12-24-2011, 12:03 PM
Well, at least in part the problem is we can't approach this like with anything like perfect childlike innocence, because it's so deeply ingrained in our language and culture.

For godsakes, we're inadvertently teaching children that whiteness is prettier (http://jezebel.com/5192176/in-gma-test-many-black-girls-still-say-white-dolls-are-prettier) -- and that's happening really early. And while I don't think anyone (or at least, I don't think MOST of us) intend that to be a life-lesson for our kids...there it is.

And I may well be speaking out of turn, as well, since I'm your basic middle-aged white chick who doesn't even have any kids...but I don't think anyone here is interested in saying "Piet is racist and creepy and should be banned" so much as "Exhibitions of white people in blackface have a long and problematic history that's condescending and troubling to a really significant number of those people being portrayed -- so instead of teaching our kids to continue that tradition, can't we find a better way? Can't we find a way of honoring this tradition that's not mocking and insulting to a great many people?"

The lesson to take away isn't "Well, I say it's not meant to be insulting to you, so you need to sit down and be quiet because I know better than you" so much as it's "Okay, I don't necessarily get it, but I don't necessarily have to get it. You're insulted. You've told me so. You're just as much a human being as I am, and if I really don't intend to cause offense, perhaps I need to reconsider my approach."

kborsden
12-24-2011, 12:41 PM
That's true, and I can't say I disagree at all -- my point is only that for that to happen, there does need to be (on both ends of the spectrum) enough room for as many shades of grey as is reasonably possible. I agree that if they wanted it to remain an authentic, if not respectable tradition, then black actors as Piets would be the best route -- but if Dutch children already don't associate Piet with race, then where does that shift happen and how without drawing attention to a possible racist ideal? I've said many times that racial diversity shouldn't be taboo but something we celebrate, as uniqueness and individuality, not necessarily under the microscope of what makes us different, but what we can say is what makes us all (regardless of colour) individuals.

In any case... I've a poem posted here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6848432#post6848432) on the question of power granted to words that children don't know, understand nor see a viable purpose for until they're taught, for anyone who is interested.

ETA: nothing I've commented or posted was done with the intention to trivialize or invalidate -- but to broaden the scope in the ways I've mentioned. As for 'White Chicks', agreed, there is no consistent pattern of black people portraying white people prominent in history, and a few occurrences do not outweigh several centuries of cruelty. However, women in general have been and still are in many places and manners victims of oppression. Yet no one sees or finds drag (not always a 'gay-thing' as some might suggest) which is equally a display of gross caricature, an openly offensive act worthy of as much discussion or debate as blackface... however unrelated or off-topic, this perplexes me no end.

missesdash
12-24-2011, 03:08 PM
@Macallister that was a great answer to the stale "but what about the White Chicks movie?" I think I'll save it for the next time someone brings it up.

And I can't say for others, but your summary of my argument was definitely correct.

aruna
12-24-2011, 03:27 PM
Yes, that was great, Mac thanks for speaking for all of us. Well parried.

missesdash
12-24-2011, 03:40 PM
I also don't think we should say "Dutch children don't associate Piet with race." pointing to people of color and calling them "Piet" means that they do make the association. Also,"Dutch" doesn't mean white. I read of a black Dutch child being made to feel very uncomfortable when Piet visited his school and the children commented on how much they look like.

Kids *don't* understand why it's hurtful to do. But that's what adults are for. To explain context.

kborsden
12-24-2011, 04:25 PM
I also don't think we should say "Dutch children don't associate Piet with race." pointing to people of color and calling them "Piet" means that they do make the association. Also,"Dutch" doesn't mean white. I read of a black Dutch child being made to feel very uncomfortable when Piet visited his school and the children commented on how much they look like.

In building on my previous post where I mentioned that a small, somewhat unapparent, practice is emerging where Piet is being played by actual black members of their local community (I mentioned Rotterdam, but I'm also aware of this occurring in other large cities too such as Dordrecht. Note that both these cities have a large centralised black population for want of a better term) and pairing that with my general view that race should approached as an issue of personal individuality, not exclusion or definition, and especially in small children, then there's no reason why that more respectable tradition can't grow. In fact, if it is pointed out to a child at such a point, it may become something to be proud of (= that a person of colour is a national icon and prominent part of the annual festival in the run up to Christmas). Would you mind a comparison being drawn to someone who essentially amounts to a celebrity? There are many negatives to be highlighted in any society, the trick and the most simple way to relieve those is to make them positives. It's a perfect example (in the case of said cities) where people of colour make a racial reference their own and disarm any malice or offence which may or may not be attached to it (see my previous post here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6845659&postcount=75) 2nd paragraph).

So what I'm saying is, if Piet's current image is a dehumanisation, make him human and dispel the connotation, but the let the kids lead the way with us (adults) as their guide. Such change is best grown from the inside out and not from the outside kicking its way in.

I also think we can both agree that this:


Since the last decade of the 20th century there have been several attempts to introduce a new kind of Zwarte Piet to the Dutch population, where the Zwarte Pieten replaced their traditional black make-up with all sorts of colours.[9] In 2006 the NPS (en: Dutch Programme Foundation) as an experiment replaced the black Pieten by rainbow-coloured Pieten,

is also a workable idea, even if it was dropped a year later, possibly because it further removes Piet from human reference.

I have spoken with a friend on facebook with regards to why this was dropped. As a member of the Tilburg council, she informed me that this was only ever an option not an official policy. It was introduced into several boroughs after a public survey -- those chose for it had a greater proportionate multicultural populace than those that didn't. The option was dropped for the following year because the Tilburg council stated doing so would send out confused messages that conflicted with their Rainbow March.

Piet has accompanied Sinterklaas since 1850 (thanks to a teacher named Jan Schenkman), prior to this there were only occasional helpers of unknown, or rather, undefined origin. If you'd like to show your international solidarity with the Dutch who are opposed to the continued use/depiction of Piet as is, visit this page (http://www.facebook.com/zwartepietisblackface).