Or to put it another way, if _only_ the nice list gets leaked and I'm _not_ on it, does that mean I'm really naughty, or does it just mean I'm one of the 60% of people on earth who aren't Christian?
We're working on it. I agree that Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) is indeed racist, although (mostly) not intentionally so.
I never gave the tradition a second thought either, until some years back I read the English Wikipedia on Zwarte Piet. I was a bit confused at first (happy childhood memories were suddenly badwrong) but then I read further into it and, yes it's racist (IMO).
One of the problems is that over here we're not really taught a lot about the whole minstrel/blackface traditions. The Dutch did do slavery, but unlike the US, we didn't bring them home (instead exploited them in Indonesia and South Africa), therefore the cultural impact of that is very different over here. The people with a history of that exploitation for a large part do not live here.
But when I did read about blackface/minstrel traditions, it's impossible to deny that yes, it's not just that his face is "black like soot" (an excuse we came up with in the second half of the 20th century--see we don't want Zwarte Piet to be a racist character), because also Zwarte Piet's costume is exactly like those blackface minstrels. Most Dutch people don't know that bit.
The difference today, however, is globalisation. For a bunch of decades already, people from all over the world came to live here. And some (perhaps a lot, even) of those people have that history (in their families, etc). Those people have lived here for a long time now, started families in NL, etc. And for them, to see that image of Zwarte Piet, it hurts. And they have just as much right to have an opinion about what should and should not be "Dutch culture". Just like others would have a real bad feeling if there was a festive holiday about people parading around swastikas and putting naughty children on trains (sorry for the Godwin, but I think it's a useful analogy in this case, and otherwise just ignore it).
The problem, however, is that I don't know what the right solution is either. It's a tradition that nearly everybody has extremely happy (and not racist) childhood memories about. It's hard (as a culture) to let that go.
You can't have Sinterklaas without Pieten, just like Santa needs his elven helpers. Sinterklaas is played as a really old man, slightly forgetful etc, he needs them, it's part of the play. But, say, if you paint Piet's face a different neutral colour (blue or yellow or whatever, kids don't care, we know this), he (or she, Piet has been multi-gender for quite a while--even though it's a male name, it's used as a title, like Smurfs) still wears that costume. But if you also change the costume, then Piet is no longer Piet, because those were their defining characteristics. At least that's how it seems right now.
So it's hard, no obvious solution. But the positive thing, what I'm seeing is, there is a growing awareness. There is also (loud) resistance, of course, but the cat is out of the bag now. We probably won't fix it next year. But maybe the year after that.
I really believe that, in a few years, we will figure out some variation on the Sinterklaas theme that is not hurtful to parts of the Dutch people. And the kids will love it regardless, so that's good.
edit/afterthought : Sinterklaas keeps his naughty/nice list in a physical book which he carries around everywhere he goes. Santa's mistake for going digital :-P
The few openly Christian people I know have all told their kids (4yo) that Santa isn't real. That's kinda ruined it for our kids.
Not judging, but I find it astoundingly hypocritical to dismiss one made up figure while religiously worshiping another!
With Santa, there's no room for grace. You're either naughty or nice, and then you are rewarded accordingly.
The Christian story, as told in the Bible, is quite different. First of all, you're not working for presents, you're working for God Himself. Secondly, we're all naughty: there is no way to be nice apart from Christ. And finally, you are not supposed to simply "believe" God exists; your faith is inseparable from your works. And by working faithfully you are rewarded immediately as well as eternally... "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Much as I'm not a believer in a higher power, I really dislike these kinds of easy swipes at something that others (including people very dear to me) consider the foundation of their entire lives. It feels cheap and condescending.
There is a deeper interesting conversation to be had around this topic though. Unfortunately I'm not in the position to engage in it at the moment and I suspect the tone might already be set in the wrong way (given that a sibling comment here has already called me an asshole).
It may have some influence from "Saint Nicholas" but that was, I'm pretty sure, after like, 1000 AD.
So, uh, yeah.
Some people want to take Santa out of Christmas to focus more on Christ, and I would generally agree.
My understanding from listening to some guy on the radio, almost certainly on NPR, is that's a fairly modern conception. It's like they couldn't put the Christ back into Christmas, so they shoehorned St. Nick into Christ instead.
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.". John 3:17
Christ didn't come to reward the people already doing good, and punish those doing evil.
Rather, "[...]for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [...]"
People are not justified by being "good enough" by themselves, but rather, are "[...]justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [...]".
Your description of "You're punished for evil and rewarded for nice and he's watching you all the time?" is, I think, a very misleading and simplistic idea of Christ.
Why would you not include that in the "being good enough" part?
I wasn't just saying that "being good enough" isn't enough. I was saying that no one (except Christ) is good enough. That one cannot, of oneself, earn or achieve justification, but that one is given justification, that one cannot deserve, as a gift.
Whilst googling for that nonsense I did find a buzzfeed article  claiming that 43% of Americans believe in Santa and that 32% agree that "it's a verifiable fact that Santa Claus was white".
Wowzer... well, seems like it's time for me to get my coat, fill the pockets with bricks and try and imitate Jesus on a large body of water...
I was honestly amused by the idea of nice/naughty being X or Y and if !X==Y or not... this all kinda spiralled out of hand o_0
I'd think it's not just the NSA that wants to see this dataset. Can you imagine the gold-mine that would be for demographers? I mean, this isn't a sample of data, this is the entire population! Amazon and Target ain't got nothing on Santa Claus.
Actually, now that I think of it, that kind of makes him a bit creepy.
Maybe if the government gave out christmas gifts based on if people were nice or naughty we’d be more okay to accept their spying?
That's in the EU, so he's fine.
So unless Santa stores health information in his Naught/Nice list, he's HIPAA compliant.
I demand plausible satire!
....Or so i've been told.
Or everything, I guess it depends on how the implementation handles failure conditions.
He's sorting it twice
SELECT * from contacts WHERE
behavior = 'nice'
SQL Clause is coming to town
(Saw it on Facebook, I don't know the source.)
Santa is complicit in NSA's spying. Probably not seen in any of the Snowden leaks, but anyone who has been paying attention the past couple decades has seen this coming from a mile away.
You're telling me you thought a single man could effectively build a meaningful dossier on what amounts to nearly everyone on the planet, working ALONE?
The government wants us to think that Santa didn't see this coming. I don't buy it. The more I think about it, this whole narrative of Santa doesn't make much sense at all. Something is seriously amiss here, but I can't put my finger on it.
Well, at least there must be some parent consent that is.
A white, male christian superhuman with the power to violate national sovereignty and property rights at will. Laws and locks are meaningless to him. He rewards the loyal with material goods, and punishes the wicked, all based on a secret list of names only he has access to. We've been raised to consider this not only normal, but just. He's on Coca-Cola cans, after all, so he can't be bad. Everyone loves Coca-Cola, right?
Santa is the undisputed, unelected and untouchable master of a global industrial machine run on slave labor, subject to no environmental or labor laws, in which the slaves are brainwashed through candy and mindless jingoism into accepting their brutal lot as necessary for the greater good. It really is the ultimate American "limited government" power fantasy, down to the junk food and constant repetition of loyalty oaths to a theocratic God-king.
Clearly, one can tell from reading this thread that American style pop-cultural propaganda is alive and well on Hacker News. Congratulations on supporting the military industrial complex and furthering America's goal of global cultural genocide by paying any attention at all to this "parody", which only serves to mock and ridicule the very real and present threat that the NSA poses to human rights and civilization. I'm sure your handlers will reward you with milk and cookies. Or a nice refreshing Coke.
Edit: downvoted by NSA shills... typical.
Were Soviet satirists, or their readers, guilty of propping up the Stalinist regime?
One could argue that there is possible danger in satire if it makes the target seem less threatening, or allows the audience to become more comfortable with the presence of the system being ridiculed. But that effect, if it exists, is probably minor.