UN-researcher Verene Shepherd: “Black Peter is racist and a return to slavery”

POSTED: 10/23/13 8:08 PM

THE HAGUE – The Netherlands has to stop with the Sinterklaas-celebration because Black Peter is “racist and a return to slavery.” That is the opinion of Verene Shepherd, the Jamaican chairwoman of a United Nations Committee that has been charged with an investigation into the perceived racist aspects of Black Peter. Shepherd’s statement suggests that the outcome of this investigation is a done deal.

“The study group does not understand why Dutch people fail to see that this is a return to slavery and that in the twenty-first century this celebration has to stop,” Shepherd said yesterday in the TV-broadcast EenVandaag.

During the last weekend, it became clear that the United Nations is busy with an investigation into the question whether Black peter is racist. Four UN-reporters about cultural minorities and racism have asked the Netherlands for a clarification about the Sinterklaas-celebration after they received complaints about Black Peter’s stereotype character.

Shepherd seems to have little doubt about the outcome of the investigation – even before it has started. “As a black woman I feel that if I lived in the Netherlands I would object to it. As a member of the study group I am obliged to do more research, but as a black woman I would certainly object to it.”

EenVandaag immediately questioned Shepherd’s independence as a researcher. “People will get the opportunity to probe that we are wrong. We are going to investigate whether the information we have is correct. If this is not the case, we will change our point of view. But the complaints we have been receiving point to racism and a return to slavery. That is what we are going to research.”

Shepherd became quite emotional during the interview. She said to the interviewer: “You are right. My personal opinion is that this should not be happening in the twenty-first century. It is insulting; we are not taking to the streets either and say: this is what all white people look like. We are not doing that. We are not doing that.”

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that Black Peter simply happens to be black. The debate is a matter for the community, not for the government, Rutte added. According to Shepherd, the prime minister has the authority to abolish the celebration and to exercise his power over the group that preserves this tradition. “And why do you need two Santa Clauses anyway?” Shepherd said with a reference to the white Father Christmas.

The Sinterklaas-celebration in Western Europe dates back to the thirteenth century according to the website Sinterklaasfan.nl. The ‘good holy man’ as he is referred to is traditionally the patron of students, marriageable young women, sailors and travelers. In the Middle Ages poor kids used to receive food and shoes during the celebration. Later, Sint Nicolaas turned into a popular celebration.

From the fifteenth century, there were Sinterklaas markets that remained a tradition until the nineteenth century. From early 1900, the first Sinterklaas entries became a tradition. After the Second World War, adults also took a liking to the celebration. In homes across the country, families prepared gifts for each other, accompanied by poems; hilarious surprise gifts were also part of this tradition. From 1952, when television entered the mainstream in the Netherlands, the entry of Sinterklaas (around mid-November) became an annual event.



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Comments (10)


  1. Patrick The Hague says:

    This self proclaimed UN employee was and isn’t even entitled to use UN letterheads has now officially been confirmed by UNESCO, who the hell is this woman?
    Is she stoned of bad Jamaican marihuana?
    Sinterklaas is a child party in the Netherlands, Belgium, North Germany, Danmark even up in Norway.
    Before spitting on a country’s culture and telling they are racists, first find out what the tradition is about.
    Sinterklaas even has been the founder of the X Mas man, another thing many people don’t even know.

  2. Piet says:

    It’s all about the money,
    It’s all about the dumm, dumm da da da dumm!

    She wants euro compensatation, because her great-great-great grandfather was possably a slave.

    But with a last name like Shephard her great-great-great grandfather might just as well have been a slave trader!

    We’ll never know, but that doesn’t matter. She just wants our money.

  3. Daryl, Curacao says:

    We call such a woman a golddiger!

  4. Charlotte Snyder says:

    I think the whole thing shows ignorance, prejudice and total unfairness. Whilst these organizations glorify diversity, they flatly refuse it when it concerns their European hosts. Either diversity is a two-way road or it is discriminatory.
    And who is she to harass the government of a sovereign country into abolishing a traditional celebration loved by the absolute majority of the nation’s population, especially children?
    If the Dutch authorities give way, the upsurge and success of genuinely racist and extremist right wing parties will become definitely unstoppable and overwhelm Europe much faster than expected. And in this respect, even those citizens who abhor fascism will agree with the right wing – understandably!

  5. curacao says:

    sinter klaas and zwarte piet is a intencional psychological and mentall child molestation and abuse with diplomatic
    tactics.E fiesta sinter klaas tin su defectonan mental riba un mucha. inferior complex ku depression i ,wakmentu leu .
    nos a wordu programa dor di hulandesnan pa generashon ku
    e mentalidat colonial ku nos ta menos.

  6. curacao says:

    nos ta birando generasionan sigologicamente malu pa motibu di ignoransha.e defectonan por dura te na adulto
    inferior complex ku depression ta un malesa ku bo por hanja
    bo mes ta bringa ku ne pa anjos. ami ta un victim.

  7. curacao says:

    I believe that the gold diggers are the people that organize
    the party sinter klaas and zwarte piet year after year .
    They are the people that get money and interest from the
    merchant . stores gives the organizer money and she keeps the interest. They are the child molesters and the gold diggers they care about the money and not the child.
    this party is a nasty business. I believe that the black Caribbean islands should live Holland culture for Holland and organize a healthy party for the black children in the black so called dutch Caribbean.

  8. gea says:

    foundations – not for profit organizaions – with volonteers organizing the festivities in many cities, celebrated in many west european countries but also in australia, new zealand, canada and so on (migrants of Dutch origin). The black Pete stands for black sin so the saint will be the symbol for being good. However this religion rule is abolished during the last century: we do not believe to educate young people via black and white (the sin or the white pure soul without sin). So the Piets might be changed because people not involved in the party will be triggered by a bit stereotype vision of a human being originated from Africa, however this person is a very good assistant of the Saint and good for children nowadays, but from the outside view it looks like a stereotype maybe but not meant as discrimination or going back to slavery. Look how on the Caribian islands the Piet has been changed (sailing under the rainbow, giving several colours to Piet is a good idea). This Verene Shepherd made very few research books within 20 years so she is not so skilled in doing research, giving her all the information from the Netherlands so she must change her vision, it has nothing to do with discrimination or slavery, United Nations has to dismiss her and a complaint is sent to UN because of her abusion of the Dutch people, calling Dutch people racists who teach their children being slave drivers.

  9. Realblackman says:

    This woman is totally right.She has my full support in this fight. s not enough for compansation.Its at least 700. blacks stands much closer to mother nature and the whites needs us to have a life.
    We have all the worlds resources and the whites wants to take that all away and put their own names under it all like they are the one that own everything on this earth.
    The Dutch are also knows for child molestion and raping children ,child rapist.
    Their ‘King’ rides in their ‘Golden carrage’with a picture on the right side painted that the whites are above the blacks and they are very proud of that.They dont have gold here so it must have been stolen from Africa my motherland..The Dutch are the real pathetic ones on this earth..
    I would love to get in touch with Miss Verene Sheppard.
    Who knows how to get in real contact with here on the internet..Please write to me back..!!!

  10. Frank Deckers says:

    Who wrote this article? I need to know this for school so it’s important..

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