As a child, race and ethnicity were issues far removed from my mind. It wasn’t until my teen years that I realized that having a white mother and a black father meant that I was right at the center of two different spheres racially, and because of their different cultural backgrounds, also ethnically. The older I got, the more I realized that the importance of race was more prominent than what I’d initially thought.
Now the days have become darker and shorter, Sinterklaas and his friends, the so-called Zwarte Pieten or ‘Black Petes’, have travelled to the Netherlands. Besides gifts and sweets, they bring something else that has become traditional over time: a passionate and vehement debate on the alleged racism of the very phenomenon of Black Pete. The book White Innocence. Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, written by emeritus professor of Gender and Ethnicity Gloria Wekker, is a valuable companion in the many inevitable discussions on Dutch racism to come.