Amsterdam to give 'Black Pete' Santa sidekick a makeovertags: Amsterdam, Black Pete
Amsterdam's mayor and the organizers of a large children's winter festival have unveiled plans to overhaul the image of "Black Pete" - the sidekick to the Dutch Santa Claus - after protests that the character exhibited racist elements.
Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said on Thursday that Pete's appearance will be changed over several years from his current blackface to make him look like he has been merely covered with soot from going down chimneys to deliver presents.
Black Pete has become the subject of protests in the Netherlands. Opponents say he is a caricature of an African slave carried over from colonial times - he is usually portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup, bold red lipstick and frizzy Afro wigs.
But a large majority of the Netherlands' mostly white population says that Pete is a positive figure and denies any racial insult.
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