Santa and The Great Race Debate

Fox News is known to stir up controversy and its own Megyn Kelly recently stepped in it when she declared that Santa is white. Period. I won’t delve into her comments about Jesus, the other white man. Kelly’s comments came in response to a Slate reporter’s suggestion that Santa be replaced by a Penguin in order to alleviate the discrimination felt by minority children. Like it or not, the first visual depiction of Santa came during Coca-Cola advertisements in the 1920s. Just like the artists who drew the Flintstones and Charlie Brown, the skin color of the first Santa isn’t up for debate. And, P.S., even though he’s in human form, Santa is just as fake as those cartoon characters.

Young children are easily fooled into believing that every Santa they see is the same despite variations in beard colors, stomach girths, and bellowing chuckles. Slight differences that are glaring in person to children who examine every real life detail of a figure who lives in their minds year round. Then comes age and critical thinking. The wiser children get, the more elaborate the tale parents concoct to keep up the tradition. What about those awkward times when Santa is seen in street wear in the middle of summer?

During the Christmas season, parents are forced to explain why Santa reappears at the mall across town and at toy store down the street, all on the same day. No matter how magical Santa is in a child’s imagination, he can’t be in two places at once. I eventually told my children that the real Santa stays at the North Pole, preparing for the big night. He sends representative Santas to listen to children’s wishes. And, no, none of them ever compares to the real Santa, an image that’s stuck since he was first introduced by Coca-Cola advertisers.

Families can introduce different colored Santas to their children, but the fact remains, Santa was originally white. History can’t be rewritten. While it’s racially soothing to make Santa different shades of brown to represent present day America and the blending of cultures, the Santa most adults all knew and loved was white. A white that wasn’t discriminatory. Why should we impose racial equality on a cherubic white man who loved all children just the same, regardless of race?  



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