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  • Why is Santa always white?

    Why is Santa always white?

    By Curtis Sails Iii Dec. 4, 2013 7:06 p.m.
    EMAIL PRINT (10) COMMENTS

    Walking through the mall during the holiday season is one of my favorite pastimes. The vibrant colors, the decorations hanging from the ceiling, the jingles playing on the loudspeaker and the many people moving about talking on their cellphones or weighed down by the growing numbers of shopping bags in their hands. All of these things bring a smile to my face, warming my heart, year in and year out. However, this holiday season doesn't feel quite the same.

    By mid-November, the middle of the mall was littered with wooden decorations of Kris Kringle's hideout in the North Pole, parents holding their son's or daughter's hands and many small children waiting anxiously for their chance to sit on Santa's lap to ask him for gifts and gadgets. I watched as child after child jumped on and hopped down from Santa's lap. Some kids talked to Santa as though they were old friends getting reacquainted; some sat emotionless, awkwardly waiting for their mothers to turn on the flash for their camera phone snapshot; and a few cried, out of fear of being left with a stranger in a bright red costume.

    The moment seemed magical for kids and parents alike, a scenario that I knew was occurring in malls across the country. However, I soon was thrust back to reality by the next kid to sit on Santa's lap. An African-American boy no older than 7 walked up to Santa and sat down to take his photo. This boy was ecstatic about his opportunity to meet Old St. Nick and gave the biggest ear-to-ear smile I had seen all day.

    But then it hit me. Santa was white. Wait, what? Why is Santa white? Santa is always white? Why is Santa always white? My brain went into a frenzy, desperately searching my memory for any instance in which I had seen a black Santa Claus in a shopping center. But I kept coming up short.

    I wondered, in a country where we have an African-American president in Barack Obama and where the largest city just elected Bill de Blasio mayor with an African-American wife and racially mixed children, why have we yet to integrate our holidays or their characters?

    As I sat there contemplating, I wondered if Santa was African-American, would white families wait for hours to get a picture with him? Would they want their children sitting on the lap of a black Santa? And would that be a picture to add to the family scrapbook or in a frame on the fireplace? I asked myself why, in 2013, does it seem American traditions and customs are only for white Americans? Why are we being left out?

    Then I thought about Trayvon Martin, shot down in Sanford, Fla., after walking to the corner store for snacks. I thought about the two African-American young people racially profiled while shopping at Barneys in New York. I thought about Renisha McBride, shot to death while seeking help after a car accident in suburban Detroit. I thought about the millions of black boys and girls who are confined to the ghettos of America, segregated into poor schools, receiving a second-class education. I thought about the governments across the country reinventing ways to stifle the black vote in state/local elections. I thought about the biggest films of the year with African-Americans in lead roles as butlers and slaves.

    Then I said, "Oh, it makes sense why there aren't many black Santas." Because to white America, we're not seen as jolly and many of our men are murdered before they have a chance to grow old.
    Well, even I have seen black Santas out here (the pic with the story was taken at Cherry Creek Mall in Denver).

    Beyond that, I would guess that conventional depictions of "Santa" spring from the conventional reason that the character is a conflation of a Christian saint from Turkey, the Northern European folk version of that saint, Sinterklaus, and the Christkindl of German people. So, not a ton of sub-Saharan Africans or American blacks were involved in the development of the idea.

    This seems okay to me. It's also okay to have black Santas where there is interest in it. What's not okay is to rewrite somebody's cultural history. We've all agreed that this is not okay anymore, right?

    The rest of the article is a kind of sad lament that 'Home Alone' did not star a black kid. Seriously, Spike Lee could direct a black Christmas movie, black cartoonists could create a black alternative to 'Charlie Brown's Christmas', etc. That blacks have not created these things is probably because there's no interest among blacks at the moment. Maybe that will change.

    Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion...#ixzz2mZN2r62P
    Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    I started to post this earlier today and eventually just decided that it was too stupid to bother.

    Why aren't there Black Santas? Or, more specifically, why isn't Santa portrayed as Black? Because he comes from Europe, you morons! No one ever heard of St. Nicholas coming from freaking Senegal, you boobs! He has always been a legend of European descent, almost all of it from northern European descent.

    Good grief. No one goes around representing Pocohantas as a Japanese Pygmy. No one goes around trying to represent Crazy Horse as some Black guy. Why are people stupidly hung up on Santa?


    Dumb. Just dumb.
    Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
    No one will be denied:
    Big law suits and bathroom toots;
    We're all getting Dixie-fried.
    But somewhere Hank and Lefty
    Are rollin' in their graves
    While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

    Comment


    • #3
      A white Santa sneaks in and leaves presents for your kids.

      A black Santa sneaks in and steals your TV.

      “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
        A white Santa sneaks in and leaves presents for your kids.

        A black Santa sneaks in and steals your TV.

        Rude, but good to see you again. I was just thinking about you the other day when a VW diesel was kelunklunklunking next to me in traffic.
        The year's at the spring
        And day's at the morn;
        Morning's at seven;
        The hill-side's dew-pearled;
        The lark's on the wing;
        The snail's on the thorn:
        God's in his heaven—
        All's right with the world!

        Comment


        • #5
          After picking out six different elves (Elf on the Shelf) - 2 blue-eyed girls, 2 blue-eyed boys, 1 brown-eyed girl, 1 brown-eyed boy for our g-kids, I decided that elves are boys with blue eyes and ordered 3..one for each family instead of a different one for each child.

          Usually things don't have to be so complicated when it involves kids and fun.
          May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
          Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
          And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
          may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

          Comment


          • #6
            If it is any consolation, I think Krampus is sometimes portrayed as black.



            No ... it probably isn't.

            I should probably not mention Zwarte Piet.
            "There are four lights!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
              Well, even I have seen black Santas out here (the pic with the story was taken at Cherry Creek Mall in Denver).

              Beyond that, I would guess that conventional depictions of "Santa" spring from the conventional reason that the character is a conflation of a Christian saint from Turkey, the Northern European folk version of that saint, Sinterklaus, and the Christkindl of German people. So, not a ton of sub-Saharan Africans or American blacks were involved in the development of the idea.

              This seems okay to me. It's also okay to have black Santas where there is interest in it. What's not okay is to rewrite somebody's cultural history. We've all agreed that this is not okay anymore, right?

              The rest of the article is a kind of sad lament that 'Home Alone' did not star a black kid. Seriously, Spike Lee could direct a black Christmas movie, black cartoonists could create a black alternative to 'Charlie Brown's Christmas', etc. That blacks have not created these things is probably because there's no interest among blacks at the moment. Maybe that will change.

              Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion...#ixzz2mZN2r62P
              Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter
              Because of the community we live in, our Santa's are either white or Hispanic/Mexican. I just don't think the kids care that much.

              When I was in first grade Santa brought my sister and I a Black babydoll. My guess? That's what the dept store had that my mom ordered them from. My only complaint is that I wanted a Barbi like other girls were getting. Unfortunately for me, my Santa never brought me one.
              May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
              Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
              And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
              may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
                If it is any consolation, I think Krampus is sometimes portrayed as black.



                No ... it probably isn't.

                I should probably not mention Zwarte Piet.
                You know that Krampas and the rest are devils, not people, right?
                "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                Comment


                • #9
                  "“Every town has the same two malls: the one white people go to and the one white people used to go to.” ―Chris Rock

                  The black Santas are in the latter, of course.
                  Science that cannot be questioned is propaganda.

                  Cameras in classrooms now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                    "“Every town has the same two malls: the one white people go to and the one white people used to go to.” ―Chris Rock

                    The black Santas are in the latter, of course.
                    What's really ironic is that this will shortly be a moot point in the social dialog. Hispanics far outnumber blacks in my state and this is happening all over. The 13% of the population self-identifying as black is being steadily eroded by low birth rates and interracial marriage. Fewer biracial children are identifying as black. More biracial people are marrying into white or Hispanic families.

                    In a few more years, the average Santa will be just as jolly but slightly shorter and possibly brown-eyed. Meh.
                    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
                      Rude, but good to see you again. I was just thinking about you the other day when a VW diesel was kelunklunklunking next to me in traffic.
                      Awww. You're making me blush and whatnot.
                      “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                        You know that Krampas and the rest are devils, not people, right?
                        “Do you know about the Böögen?” she said, and he shook his head. “He’s part of our Christmas. Sami Claus comes to all the houses one by one, you see, and he has an assistant, the Böögen, who wears a cloak and a hood and carries a big bag. Sami Claus asks the parents how the children have been that year, and the parents show him the ledger, the record you know. And if the children have been good, Sami Claus gives them presents. But if the parents say the children have been bad, the Böögen sweeps them up in his bag and carries them away, and they’re never seen again.”

                        ~ From Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


                        There are several to choose from. Krampus, being one.
                        "There are four lights!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
                          “Do you know about the Böögen?” she said, and he shook his head. “He’s part of our Christmas. Sami Claus comes to all the houses one by one, you see, and he has an assistant, the Böögen, who wears a cloak and a hood and carries a big bag. Sami Claus asks the parents how the children have been that year, and the parents show him the ledger, the record you know. And if the children have been good, Sami Claus gives them presents. But if the parents say the children have been bad, the Böögen sweeps them up in his bag and carries them away, and they’re never seen again.”

                          ~ From Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


                          There are several to choose from. Krampus, being one.
                          Ignoring the great trilogy that nothing at all to do with this discussion, all these characters are supernatural devil figures - not historical figures, not real people transformed into folklore, not poorly re-imagined invaders. These figures pre-date Islam, Christianity, and the Huns, Goths, Vandals, etc.

                          They have nothing at all to do with human beings who have dark skin. They are black because they come out of the underworld; Hel herself is half black. Later, the black is the result of hell fire. Devils are commonly described as burnt black in Germanic and Nordic folklore.
                          "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                          Comment

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