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Aruba bans blackface makeup during annual Dutch celebration

June 23, 2020 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba will ban the blackface makeup worn every December during Sinterklaas, a celebration of St. Nicholas in which white people often dress up as a children’s character called “Black Pete.”

Culture Minister Xiomara Maduro said in a Facebook post on Monday that she doesn’t want to encourage a celebration that would offend people. She called on participants to use multicolor paint or none at all.

“Not every problem has been resolved, but this is a first step,” she wrote.

Jerry Afriyie, a prominent Dutch Black activist, has long been calling for the eradication of the children’s character.