Dutch Petition to Keep Blackface Christmas Helpers

In the Netherlands, they're fighting to keep the tradition of "Black Pete" alive.

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A woman has her face painted to become Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) in the Netherlands. (Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images)

A Dutch Christmas tradition that includes whites donning blackface got a huge boost of support on Facebook, with 1 million likes in a single day.

In keeping with the children's story of Santa Claus -- or Sinterklaas in Dutch -- several "Black Pete" helpers with black faces, curly hair and bright red lips arrive by steamboat with the jolly old man.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemned the practice, claiming that its roots are steeped in stereotypes. "The working group does not understand why it is that people in the Netherlands can't see that this is a throwback to slavery and and that in the 21st century, this practice should stop," said Verene Shepherd, who is also a professor, the Daily Mail reports.

Read more at the Daily Mail.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM