Dear all,

first of all, hiya. I'm a random dutchman who came in contact (and started loving) Strange Music some time ago. Last year a lot of discussion started about Sinterklaas. You may have heard about it. Basically people were feeling disciminated by the fact that all Pieten, his apprentices, are painted black.

First off, let's start off with what I believe to be the truth:
Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is a saint who travelled a lot in Spain and Turkey (ran by the moors at that time). He would find children on the streets to take them in and to turn them into apprentices (in todays terms practical schooling, I guess) rather than selling them off as slaves as would be usual in that time. The native people of Turkey aren't black but I highly doubt he would've cared about any colour.

The cultural explanation:
Sinterklaas is a Saint much like Santa. He arrives per boat from Spain with his Pieten. Pre 2006 offically called Zwarte Piet (black piet) - now just Piet. Piet is just a name by the way or in this case a title. The reason they are black from tradition (as explained to children) is because they would deliver the presents through the chimnee and get covered in carbon black/smut/ashes.

So the world went nearly crazy of this, up to some UN officials. The funniest part of all of this, some of our ex-colonies are still celebrating it, in the same way. And I'm talking here about Surinam and the Dutch Antilles including the black pieten!

Anyway this is only half of what I wanted to share. There's something in America that's about as bad or even worse in my opinion.

How on earth can BET exist in America - Black entertainment television. I've first heard it when I was in Canada and I was astonished. Surely the channel isn't just for black people as it suggests? Ha. I do know a long time ago they would've focussed on 'black communities' or however you want to call it as that was their target group, but now it's totally out of date. And in my point of view a LOT worse than a tradition that still can be explained if you find the right words / history. This case however doesn't have any arguments to me that could justify such a thing, the fact that it is allowed to exist if a form of segregation to me.

I hope we can have a clean discussion about this. I'm sharing this because I'd love to see an American (or otherwise) opinion about it.

Kind regards,

PS. I do believe issues such as this will slowly die out naturally. With this I'm talking about sexism, racism and discrimination in general. I've quite a simple belief regarding this, namely - people are idiots, all of us. Any form of discrimination is a destruction of human talent as well as human potential.