Framing of Black Pete and the Black Pete discussion in De Volkskrant in 2014 and 2020.

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The (Black) Pete discussion is a debate about the possible racist content of the figure Pete, which is part of the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition. This is a tradition that is annually celebrated in December and is aimed at children. Over the past decade, the matter has been topic of a public, social debate that has recurred every year. This thesis examines how the figure Pete and the Pete discussion were framed in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in 2014 and in 2020. The research questions were ‘How is Black Pete and the Black Pete discussion framed in De Volkskrant in 2014 and 2020?’ and ‘How is the framing in these two time frames related to the discussion of the Pete tradition in Dutch society?’. An inductive framing analysis was conducted. Results of the analysis showed seven patterns, of which four occurred in both time frames, namely ‘It is a tradition for children, not adults’, ‘Pete’s looks should change to include everyone’, ‘Some people feel hurt’ and ‘It is time to end the discussion’. Two patterns occurred only in the 2014 dataset. These were the ‘The discussion provokes discrimination’-pattern and the ‘Pete is not racist’-pattern. The last pattern that was found, called ‘It is time to say goodbye to Pete’, only occurred in the 2020 dataset. Moreover, two core frames were drawn from these patterns, which were ‘Pete is racist’, which occurred in both time frames, and ‘Pete is not racist’, which only occurred in 2014. These patterns and frames were similar to frames that resulted from previous studies and fitted the broader sociocultural context.
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