The Zwarte Pieten have roughly the same relationship to the Dutch Saint Nicolas that the elves have to America's Santa Claus. Over the years, Zwarte Piet developed from a rather unintelligent assistant into a full assistant of the absent-minded Sint.

With the influx of immigrants to the Netherlands starting in the late 1950s, Zwarte Piet is felt by some to be racist. Today, Zwarte Pieten have become more modern servants and parents often tell their children that the Pieten have black faces because they climb down dirty, soot-filled chimneys. Although, this modern variation on the tradition is often critiqued by expatriates and locals as being a "cover story" because it does not explain the curly, black hair and large, red lips.

22 October 2013, Verene Shepherd, chair of United Nations' 'Working Group on people of African descent' states in an interview with the dutch television news program :
"The working group cannot understand why it is that the people in The Netherlands cannot see that it is a throwback to slavery as a black person I feel, that I, if I were living in The Netherlands, I would object to it." The working group has started investigations in 2012 and has sent questions to the dutch UN representative in January 2013.

The great majority of the dutch won’t agree and aggression against “white piet” will follow as has been in the past : see how whites are removed as Santa arrives

1% of the chidren wants zwarte piet to disappear

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