Flip Flop Flying

Okay, Belgium…

with 15 comments

… you got some explainin’ to do. These are in a grocery store window just down the road. Loath as I am to use Internet lingo, but WTF!? Are there McCain supporters in Aalst..?

Written by Craig

November 1st, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

15 Responses to 'Okay, Belgium…'

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  1. Joris

    1 Nov 08 at 3:02 pm

  2. Wow. Just wow…

    Craig

    1 Nov 08 at 3:06 pm

  3. Santa Claus has elves, they are all white.
    And of course Saint Nicolas and Black Peter have better sweets.

    Suzanna

    1 Nov 08 at 6:00 pm

  4. I was pretty shocked the first time I saw Zwarte Piet in Belgium. Some of my Flemish colleagues maintain that he’s a white guy who is covered in soot from going down chimneys all the time. That said, I’ve only ever seen him portrayed as an African. Now I just pretend that it’s normal.

    Conor Cahill

    1 Nov 08 at 7:33 pm

  5. weird, I was discussing Zwarte Piet with a Dutch friend this week.
    Not really much you can say is there?

    Mark

    1 Nov 08 at 10:00 pm

  6. I wonder really what the reaction would be here in the US of things like that. Would it be accepted because its to do with X-mas or would there be riots in the streets?

    Craig maybe you could bring some and I’ll give it a go at selling them at the outdoor market.

    lisa

    2 Nov 08 at 1:16 am

  7. Oh, don’t even get me started. I’m glad someone else has had the same reaction I have. I’m an American living in Holland and I get a little more angry about this each year. Many Dutch (not all, of course – I know Dutch people who find Piet just as disturbing as I do) people say it’s just tradition, etc etc, but that doesn’t explain why Piet has to look like that. It would at least be a step forward if he looked like a real black guy, rather than an obscene blackface caricature. I know that in some of the less Dutch (more immigrant populated) areas, they don’t do Zwarte Piet – they have Blue Piets and Pink Piets and Purple Piets. I suppose that right there shows how some of the non-Dutch (or non-white) population feels about him. I used to live in a typically Dutch suburb and Zwarte Piet, looking just like in your pictures, was everywhere at Christmas. Now I live in a predominantly black neighborhood and I’m very curious to see what Piet’s presence is like here.

    Julie

    2 Nov 08 at 9:31 am

  8. Conor, someone told me yesterday, actually, about the “covered in soot” theory, which sounds like horseshit to me.

    Lisa, I think you’d end up on the news if you tried to sell those, like that Curious George t-shirt guy.

    Julie, I think the strange thing is it’s not like as an American or British person, we’re bringing hugely different cultural expectations to places like Belgium and the Netherlands. Both of our countries have a history of this sort of stuff, yet we’ve, thankfully, got rid of it. A city like Brussels is one of the most culturally mixed places I’ve been to, and yet Zwarte Piet still exists here. It makes no sense. But then, this type of stuff riles me no end. Don’t get me started on the names of Cleveland and Atlanta’s baseball teams, and Washington’s football team…

    Craig

    2 Nov 08 at 3:24 pm

  9. Even though I am an big Obama supporter, I don’t believe McCain to be a racist. Although the Republican Party does seem to be the political haven for the last bastion of bigotry politics, McCain has shown to be embarrassed by that. Given that, the rest of his policies are crap…
    My wife is originally from Finland and I have found that the Finns seem to be in the same boat as the Dutch as far as racial sensitivities go. I found a black licorice candy there that, translated, is called “Ni**er Kisses” and the packaging looks much like the images in this post…

    Dana Constance

    2 Nov 08 at 8:54 pm

  10. I don’t think he is, either, but by the look of some of the folks at his rallies…

    Craig

    2 Nov 08 at 8:57 pm

  11. It’s embarrassing as a nation for those people to be broadcasted to the world. I would hope those types are rare but I live in the Bay Area, which is a vacuum of progressive thought…

    Dana Constance

    2 Nov 08 at 9:01 pm

  12. Well, I think there’s a certain amount of snobbery in Europe when it comes to the United States. It kinda backs up prejudices that Americans are stupid if we can see the odd racist and religious redneck now and again.

    Craig

    2 Nov 08 at 9:08 pm

  13. We are Jerry Springer, of course. Of course, you’re all football hooligans…

    dana constance

    2 Nov 08 at 9:32 pm

  14. And Belgians are all child-murderers…

    Craig

    2 Nov 08 at 10:18 pm

  15. And now that we have that settled, we can all focus on the real enemy, giraffes!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srbbl_tyzic

    dana constance

    2 Nov 08 at 10:58 pm

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