White supremacy demands that only white people, even fictional ones, are benevolent, heroic, loving. Santa is somewhat of a hero, no? He travels around the world in a single night fulfilling the material wishes of children, riding in a sleigh with flying reindeer, squeezing down chimneys while coming out spotless. Only white people can do that, according to Megyn Kelly and white supremacy. Ditto Jesus, who like Santa, is white and died for our sins voluntarily, also according to Kelly who was responding to a black blogger’s suggestion that a universal symbol, a penguin, should replace Santa because he confuses children at Christmastime.
Back in Guyana, where I spent the first 9 Christmases of my life, we called Santa Claus Father Christmas. He never made it to our village so we kids would listen to his arrival via radio broadcast live from Georgetown, the capitol, on Christmas morning. I had no idea what Father Christmas, what they called him in England, Guyana’s former ruler, looked like. I only remember the screams of children wafting through the transitor as they waited for the distribution of toys and whatever else Father Christmas had in his bag or truck. We couldn’t see Father Christmas because we didn’t own a television. Only a few elites in the country, whose entire population numbered at half a million, owned tvs.
Maybe it was a tape the producers played over and over and over, year after year after year. Maybe the BBC or the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation fooled us all because all the shrieks and giddy laughter sounded the same. But whatever it was, fake or real, we listened. I listened with slices of black cake and ginger beer, traditional Christmas treats, burning my mouth and staining my hands, anxious to hear Father Christmas, whom I imagined as an empty space with, maybe, silver Christmas garlands spilling from a car as it drove into an arena filled with screaming children stomping concrete flooring and trampling tinsel. It was a magical time because of the food and the Christmas carols blasting from homes around us.
At about 10 years old, I learned Father Christmas was Santa Claus, what they called him in New York, the city I was born in and returned to by my mother. Christmas cards and TV confirmed this as my mom was, and still is, a Christmas card fanatic. I’d become a TV junkie but it took me six years to discover Santa was white. Because it wasn’t until high school that I learned I was black, and because I was only aware of gender, not race. Prior, Santa was just a person, no different from me, a male.
Learning Santa Claus was white didn’t bother me, just like not knowing where I was before I was born didn’t bother me. It was a non-issue. Unfortunately things that seem trivial become a big deal when you’re a teen navigating the world as a person of color in America. This is a place that will tell you about yourself as well as a place of opportunity.
Fox News and it’s minions will remind you of this whenever it disseminates white supremacy, a belief that white people are the center and the creator of our universe, which is every day, 24 hours a day. This is what it did when Kelly declared that Santa Claus is “just white” like Jesus weeks before my 40th Christmas on the planet.
Kelly waved her white supremacy flag that day, as did Bill OReilly who visited the ladies of The View this week to declare that Jesus and Santa are in fact white.
Jesus wasn’t white. He was painted white by Europeans. He was a short Jew with black hair and olive skin and is often portrayed as a poster boy for six pack abs and homophobia. Jesus’ nonwhite self is documented but white supremacists have made him their poster boy for how awesome white people are. Like Santa, who was based on St.Nicholas who was Greek. Greeks, like the Irish and Italians, weren’t considered white until 150 years ago, give or take a few decades.
After Kelly was ridiculed, by all of the sane, she back tracked and said she was joking, that it was us joyless folks who got it wrong.
That’s a lie and a cop out white supremacists use whenever they’ve been flagged. White supremacy will never admit error. White is always right (Smirk.)
Below are my favorite black Santas.