How Folklore And Traditions Evolve

Published: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 5:38pm
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When do traditions or old folk stories become offensive? In the Netherlands, it’s happening now as protesters accuse a traditional Christmas character known as “Black Peet” of being racist. He wears blackface with red lips and an Afro wig and is kind of like the Dutch version of Santa’s elves.

"According to historians, 'Black Peet' was this kind of demonic character who was in chains," the BBC’s Anna Holligan described of him.

To find out more about how folklore evolves over time, I spoke with Maribel Alvarez, a Professor of Folklore and Anthropology at the University of Arizona, and asked her how stories that’ve been around for generations become problematic.

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