Zwarte Piet

Catalyst Audio | Audio-documentary | Released Feb. 3, 2019

A national conversation about blackface has been spurred on in recent days by controversy surrounding Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. How do attitudes about this contentious practice differ elsewhere in the world? How might this shed light on our own country’s reckoning?

This week, Samantha Sanson puts a spotlight on the Dutch folklore character of Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter, who every winter inspires crowds across the Netherlands to don blackface in a popular tradition that is increasingly drawing international condemnation. Her documentary-short explores contrasting perspectives about the intersections of racism, culture, and tradition.

Photo courtesy of

Sam Sanson

Sam Sanson

Sam Sanson class of 20' is a producer for the Catalyst's audio section. She is majoring in Film and Media Studies and has noticed that when you point a camera at someone they usually act. She says this isn't the case with a mic and that she is excited to produce authentic radio stories! She enjoys soccer, spikeball, snowboarding, hiking, biking, and almost anything outside.
Sam Sanson

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