A large portion of Europeans believe that prejudice and discrimination is widespread in Europe. The project Talking about Taboos wants to actively address everyday manifestations of prejudice and its resulting social exclusion in Europe. Partners from France, Italy, Poland, the UK and the Netherlands will each focus on one example of prejudice in their local setting, analyze its frames and contexts and then apply best practices to initiate an informed dialogue about it.

The Dutch case concerns the discussion around the color and behavior of the helpers (Black Petes/ Zwarte Pieten) of the Dutch Santaclaus (Sinterklaas). Last year this discussion accompanying the most important Dutch festivities of the year gave rise to extreme emotions that led in more than a few cases to death threats. This year the Dutch Talking About Taboo project partner – Foundation Ezzev – and a Dutch network of professionals will try to apply good practices to the Black Petes discussion. The aim is to get participants in the discussion to be more empathetic to the argumentation and emotions of people with an opposing point of view.

A first Dutch language questionnaire will be available here soon as well as a first essay on the subject.