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I'm American, considering taking a job in the Netherlands. My research into living into the Netherlands has predominantly been great, except for one very worrisome thing. Zwarte Piet. I was looking at schools for my young son and saw several pictures of them celebrating this and there were several teachers in black face. It's one thing to have read about it, but it was a bit staggering to see that it is truly a common part of the culture.

I am white, my wife is black and our two sons are a pleasantly tan color (but in comparison to your prototypical white person, they would readily be considered black).

In preparation for possibly moving there, how do I properly address something that I find, and my wife finds even more so, offensive but is just a fairly common part of the culture?

I'm not even fully sure how to explain why it's offensive/racist, I'm sure my wife could better explain it. To add to the possible difficulty, coworkers who haven't interacted with my family may have no idea my wife and children are black (not that it matters, but it seems like that might give more credence to my claims that it's offensive in their eyes).

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    @Noon, basically yeah. It's more about pre-planning in advance for what is likely to come up. – J. Doe Oct 31 '18 at 19:22
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    @ElizB, I can't provide any scenario because it's currently theoretical. I just know that Zwarte Piet is a common enough thing in the Netherlands that I feel I should have a plan in place for when, not if, it comes up, either professionally or personally. – J. Doe Oct 31 '18 at 19:24
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    J.Doe What would you like to plan for? We might be able to help with hypothetical situations, but just like questions about real situations, they need enough detail and a goal to work towards to. Right now, this is incredibly broad, as answers could focus on dealing with confused kids, offended wives, and/or protesting against something as an 'outsider'. Also... it's pretty important to have this explicit: but 'properly address' would likely mean 'distance myself from it' or 'not celebrate Sinterklaasfeest if there's Zwarte Pieten'? – Tinkeringbell Oct 31 '18 at 19:28
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    Side question: How do you/your wife feel about 'roetveegpieten' or 'regenboogpieten'? (Asking because some people feel Piet should go entirely, and others just want to get rid of the blackface) – Tinkeringbell Oct 31 '18 at 19:28
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    This subject is extremely controversial, but the opinion does differ some by region. Don't mention being against blackface in the hamlet I was born, lest you get an angry mob running after you with pitchforks. In the Randstad (the area inbetween and including Amsterdam and Rotterdam), a 'different' opinion is more accepted. Do you have any idea what region you'll be moving to? – Belle Nov 1 '18 at 12:59