Amsterdam • Amsterdam's mayor and organizers of a large children's winter festival have unveiled plans to reform the image of "Black Pete" — the sidekick to the Dutch Santa Claus — to remove perceived racist elements.
Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said Thursday the "negroid character" of Pete's appearance will be eliminated over a period of years.
The long-term goal will be making Pete look like he has been merely tarnished from soot from going down chimneys to deliver presents — a common storyline.
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: Pete is usually portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup, bold red lipstick and frizzy "Afro" wigs.