Fox News is dreaming of a “white” Christmas

Conservative Republicans are hopping mad this month over reports that Santa Claus might not actually be a white man.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that Santa is not a man at all – everyone knows Santa is immortal – the entire affair got rolling when Aisha Harris wrote a piece for Slate arguing that perhaps we should no longer portray Santa as a white guy.

And she has a point. I could imagine Asian and black kids, among others, looking at a white Santa and figuring out quite quickly that St. Nick doesn’t quite look like them.

As Harris explains, they actually had a black Santa in her home, but she clued in quickly to the fact that everywhere else she went Santa was white, so her “black” Santa was likely the impostor.

That’s an odd thing for a kid to be forced to deal with.  And it’s something white kids clearly don’t.

Black Santa via Shutterstock

Black Santa via Shutterstock

It’s similar to the argument over whether Jewish kids (or atheist kids, for that matter) should be forced to sign Christmas carols in school.

I’m not a fan of killing Christmas pageants – as I don’t buy Christmas as an exclusively religious holiday, regardless of its origins (and even then, its origins are arguably pagan anyway). It is a major holiday in this country, and there’s nothing wrong with having kids celebrate it, along with Hanukkah and Ramadan and all the rest.

Let the kids get a multicultural experience, and mom and dad can tell them later which one is going to hell.  But the point is, keep things multicultural.

Back to Santa

As for jolly old St. Nick no longer being white, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly was having none of it:

“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’ And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”

Nice.  The easy thing to do would have been to tell kids that Santa is everything to everyone. But no, Fox had to make sure that every black, brown, and yellow kid in America felt just a tad more alienated than they might have felt before.  (Kelly only dug herself in deeper with her defense of her comments.)

Jon Stewart weighed in on Kelly’s remarks – classic:

Conservative Republican talk show host Neal Boortz weighed in as well:

“I’m sorry, Santa Claus is white, okay – deal with it,” Boortz said on his radio show, subbing for Herman Cain. “I’m gonna scream and complain because Martin Luther King is always portrayed as black.”

Santa doesn’t speak Spanish

Of course, the very notion of “Santa” is a hotly debated topic. The Dutch, for example, think that Santa lives in Spain, but is actually from Turkey.

And while the Dutch depict Santa as a white guy, Santa’s helpers are all black – an issue that’s caused a bit of a growing uproar in recent years, as the black helpers seem to always be white people in blackface.  Not to mention the fact that Santa’s blackfaced helpers in Holland, so the tale goes, threaten to beat bad children up and then kidnap them.

Dutch Christmas Six or Eight Black Men

Santa’s “six to eight” black helpers in Holland. Sandra van der Steen / Shutterstock.com

Humorist David Sedaris has a classic riff on the Dutch Santa that we post every Christmas. It’s comedy gold. If you’ve never listened to it, do – you’re in for a treat. Here’s Sedaris on the issue of Santa’s origins:

Unlike the jolly obese American Santa, [Holland’s] Saint Nicholas is painfully thin, and dresses not unlike the Pope. Topping his robes with a tall hat, resembling an embroidered tea cozy. The outfit, I was told, is a carry-over from his former career, when he served as the Bishop of Turkey.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But, could you repeat that?”

One doesn’t want to be too much of a cultural chauvinist, but this seemed completely wrong to me.

For starters, Santa didn’t “used to do” anything. He’s not retired, and more importantly, he has nothing to do with Turkey. It’s too dangerous there, and the people wouldn’t appreciate him.

When asked how he got from Turkey to the North Pole, Oscar told me with complete conviction that St. Nicholas currently resides in Spain – which again, is simply not true.

While he could probably live wherever he wanted, St. Nicholas chose the North Pole specifically because it is harsh and isolated. No one can spy on him, and he doesn’t have to worry about people coming to the door.  Anyone can come to the door in Spain. And in that outfit, he’d most certainly be recognized.

On top of that, aside from a few pleasantries, Santa doesn’t speak Spanish. “Hello, how are you, can I get you some candy?” – fine, he knows enough to get by.  But he’s not fluent, and certainly doesn’t eat tapas….

“Helpers?”, I said. “Does he have any elves?”

Maybe I’m just overly sensitive, but I couldn’t help but feel personally insulted when Oscar denounced the very idea as grotesque and unrealistic. “Elves,” he said, “they’re just so silly.”

The words silly and unrealistic were redefined when I learned that St. Nicholas travels with what is consistently described as “six to eight black men…”

You seriously have to listen to the entire thing.  It’s 20 minutes of brutal hysteria.

Of course, this origin story is my personal favorite:

st-nick-greek

Oopa!


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • AnthonyLook

    What color do Republican’s think Satan is?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bravo!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    lolz

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Daddy Bear

    Y not?
    :-P

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The x genes on his mothers side?

  • KingCranky

    Those shorts were always my favorite parts of the show.

    Two which really stand out, “Posture Pals”, and a Chevrolet training film from the 1940’s, “Hired”, in which, at one point, the struggling car salesman attempts to sell his wares door to door. That’s also the short which has his boss’s father swat at imaginary flies and place a handkerchief on his head, accompanied by a dreamy look.

  • fry1laurie

    Fox Noise: Not just dreaming of a White Christmas, but also of a White America.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    I just realized when all this “Stand your ground” nonsense will end. Right after a “second amendment hero” stands his ground against a scarey, dark-skinned cop who shows up at his house to serve a warrant…
    :-(

  • Badgerite

    Is it just me or does Megyn Kelly look and act suspiciously like the character of Jack Donaghy’s wife, Avery, on 30 Rock?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What a person actually is and what they think they are can be two entirely different, mutually exclusive things.

    She works for Faux News. I think we know the answer.

  • tsuki

    I thought Kelly billed herself as a serious journalist. How is debating the skin colour of a mythical personage “serious”?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I went through a period of extreme obsession with MST3K about a decade ago and, as a consequence of the earlier “Keep Circulating the Tapes” meme, have a very nearly complete video collection — since digitized. Including the KTMA episodes, although understandably the video quality of those isn’t very good.

    Every now and then, I think, “I need Gamera! Time to go through ‘em again.”

    Gamera is really neat,
    He is filled with turtle meat.
    We all love you, GAMERA!!!

    The last binge was a couple years ago, so I think I’m nearly due again.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I’m rather too familiar with the show perhaps. It’s become one of my standard sources of “background noise” entertainment. They sneak some remarkably acerbic social commentary into a silly show about a guy and two robots talking over a movie. They’re especially wicked with the old educational shorts, which are often fascinating little time capsules into ’50s conventions of work and family life.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True enough.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The same way some people will believe the entire universe is only about 6000 years old.

    “Santa Claus is white. He just IS.” <– a statement of belief in childish fairy tales over reason and rationality.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I really need to revisit my MST3K video library…

  • Monoceros Forth

    Sorry, got to go for the MST3K quote again. I imagine the Fox News Christmas parties go something like this.

    JOEL ROBINSON: All right, it’s my turn. I’m wanna do my reading on Christmas Past.

    TOM SERVO and CROW T. ROBOT [together]: Long past?

    JOEL: Well, uh, yeah…America’s past, you know. OK. I’m talking about the ’70s Christmas office parties, back when a fully stocked bar was considered standard office furniture and office parties were like something out of a Playboy cartoon. Why, the desks would be overflowing with every kind of hard liquor. Why, there were gallons of scotch, bourbon, vodka, gin, not to mention Galliano, amaretto, Midori, rye, German crock-pot gin, you name it, and sexism was blatant. Boy oh boy, you’d find salesmen groping secretaries in the mail room, keys would be exchanged, and although this was Christmas…Jesus was nowhere to be seen.

    SERVO: Geez, Joel, you thought I was bad!

  • benb

    Fox News—all they do is bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, and come up with some snippet to broadcast to get their audience pissed off, too.
    .
    Their office party has got to be dreadful.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Has anyone come up with an even remotely coherent way of explaining how a man born on the edges of the Mediterranean somehow came to be seven feet tall, blue-eyed and flaxen-haired?

  • Monoceros Forth

    I’m gonna admit here…the idea of Festivus, while funny, is also tinged with that undertone of crawly nastiness that is the hallmark of a lot of “Seinfeld” humor. When you see Frank Costanza acting out with rather too zealous enthusiasm such Festivus traditions as “The Feats of Strength” you realize that you’re watching a bad father who’d invented a novel way of making his son’s life miserable. It’s a little weird to see Festivus embraced as a fan holiday, the same way it’s a little disquieting to see Homer Simpson embraced as a kind of folk hero when he’s really he’s deeply unpleasant.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Nah, it was justified. Kris Kringle had run over Grandma.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If a swarthy, hairy, Jesus wearing a jibab appeared before Missy Megyn she would probably pee her thong and run like hell.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    :-) And the elves were wearing hoodies—-who knew?

  • Whitewitch

    Ahhh BeccaM you got it!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Ever been to a Santarchy pub crawl? Or to a Santacon event?

    This year at Santapocalypse 2013 there was even street fighting. (Not that that’s a good thing. They were very naughty Santas indeed.)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Lightning flashed, a shot was fired… and the frightened homeowner wasn’t charged because of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

    “I’m sorry officer, but it was dark and the old man had soot on his face from the chimney. And a large, bulging bag — I thought he was a burglar. How was I supposed to know he was bringing presents for my kids.”

    “So you were afraid?”

    “Yessir. I was just protecting my property.”

    “Good enough. Bring in the coroner.”

  • Whitewitch

    Can I say just one thing, as a Pagan and non-Christian…Santa is a feeling in people’s hearts that causes them to share and to give. Santa could be a boy or a girl, a cat or a dog, white, purple, black, yellow or red. The point is not the physical appearance of Santa – I think I am Santa and I think it is my job to make someone’s Christmas just a wee bit brighter….so rather than letting FOX news ruin a perfectly good “parable” of sharing and loving – how about we send Santas of every type and description to Fox and see if their hearts can grow.

  • Whitewitch

    When a little old guy jumped into his sleigh….

  • Whitewitch

    Sing christmas carols…although they could sign them as well I suppose.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I love Festivus.

    I never did get into Seinfeld all that much, but I felt the Festivus holiday was perfect. Love the ‘Airing of the Grievances’.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    …named ‘Droppo.’ lolz.

  • fletcher

    Ho ho ho! You can’t fool me. Megyn Kelly has no Sanity Clause.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It was a coal and stormy night……….

  • Fentwin

    Just make a Santa body sporting a carved pumpkin head, rabbit’s ears and a turkey’s tail and put it in a manger, or nail it to a cross (depending on time of year).

    Crickey but these “culture wars” seem to be devolving at ludicrous speed. I can’t wait until FOX covers the issue concerning the real coat color of the Easter bunny. And oh my, the chocolate wars that are to come. White chocolate versus dark chocolate. I bet I know which one Ms. Kelly prefers.

  • cole3244

    i see fox is foisting the stepford wives on us at xmas time.
    as an atheist of over 50 years who doesn’t celebrate xmas fox is a four letter word to me, yes joke is one but there are others that i won’t mention at holiday time, its for the children you know.

  • fletcher

    If you want to see Megyn Kelly’s head explode, show her the final scenes of the movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” where Mars gets a green-faced Santa.

  • kevinbgoode

    I suppose Megyn Kelly also believes that she is really a natural blonde, too.

  • Monoceros Forth

    You think that the insult to the sacred tradition of a white Santa Claus got Kelly’s dander up? You should see her fuming with rage at the notion that a public Nativity scene might have to share space with–and even be hidden behind–a “Festivus” pole made out of beer cans.

  • Tor

    And for goodness sake, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT!!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The detail that most struck me about Megyn Kelly’s remarks — which she later said she meant to be humorous — was the seething indignation in her voice. The childish outrage familiar to anyone who’s been with a stubborn and recalcitrant six-year-old.

    “I’m sorry honey, but Hannah Montana isn’t a real person with a secret identity.” “She is! She is!” “No honey, she’s all grown up now and debases herself with wrecking balls and pedo-friendly imagery.” “Noooooooo!”

    It was as if Kelly’s core bedrock beliefs were being challenged, such that she didn’t even want to think how someone else might feel about her blanket assertions. It’s like there’s not a shred of empathy in that woman for anyone who isn’t American and white and Western European-style Christian.

  • Badgerite

    Note to Megyn KellyL: Santa Claus is a mythological creation. St. Nicholas was a person. St. Nicholas was whatever he was. Who knows? Who cares?
    Santa Claus, being fictional and totally mythological and even magical, can be whatever anyone wants, including striped, if you want.
    Does she believe that ‘elves’ are white, also? Elves! The fact that ‘Santa’ has ‘elf helpers’ should tell her something. Even if she is on Fixed News.

  • Monoceros Forth

    ‘Struth. Sometimes I wish our Jesus freaks would take a leaf from the Puritans they purport to admire and simply banish all celebration of Christmas altogether. There’s something appallingly infantile about this fetishizing of a holiday that for a long time wasn’t even considered to be terribly important, not compared to the observance of Easter at any rate.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently MLK is imaginary too, according to the quote above. Wingnuts were never good at making sense…best just to smile and nod.

  • judybrowni

    Sigh, Santa is imaginary, so we can imagine him however we like.

    Sorry to burst the bubble of any children sophisticated enough to read Americablog.

© 2014 AMERICAblog News. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS