On Tuesday, Slate columnist Aisha Harris published an article discussing the race of Santa Claus. From Harris’s perspective, there is an issue these days with Santa being portrayed as white, namely the fact that the United States is a multicultural society in which the caucasian race is declining proportionally. For a solution, Harris proposed that we potentially switch the image of Santa Claus from an image of a jolly, fat, white man to a penguin – something removed from the race issue and appealing to kids of all ages.
Apparently, however, a penguin is not appealing to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Last night on Kelly’s show, “The Kelly File,” she took time out of her program to discuss the issue of de-racing Santa Claus as proposed by Harris. Kelly started the segment by saying, “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”
This line by Kelly brings a plethora of questions and issues, but two points are most important: 1) What kids would be watching Fox News?; and 2) Why is it that Santa is white?
Of course, one could make the argument that Santa is based on Saint Nicholas, a Catholic saint who was known for his generous gift-giving and penchant for miracles. Unfortunately for Kelly and others, though, even this interpretation does not lend for a white Santa. Perhaps due to the fact that we have a tendency to allude Saints with Europe and western history, saints are generally portrayed as white. Many people do not know, however, that Saint Nicholas was actually born a Greek in a province in modern-day Turkey, making his appearance become one of a Mediterranean / Middle Eastern complexion and giving us an image of a “brown” Santa Claus.
Kelly was not content at letting the “whiteness” issue of Christmas go at just Santa Claus, though. In her comments during the segment, Kelly went on to state, “Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: how do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”
If Kelly understands that Jesus was a historical figure, then perhaps she should also understand that Jesus resided in the Middle East, specifically in the area of Judea along the Red Sea. Due to the environmental conditions and climate present in this area, Jesus would have most likely displayed a darker complexion, making him a “brown” man just like good ol’ St. Nick.
Many political and media analysts have recognized why Fox News hired Kelly to fill a primetime spot – She is the conservative answer as to how they plan to attract younger supporters. And thus far, Kelly has been immensely successful, being second to only Bill O’Reilly in viewers.
While Kelly may appeal to younger audiences due to the fact that she is not a curmudgeonly, old man, she is still losing on the race issue. Republicans have admitted for years that one of their main concerns in winning elections is pulling the minority vote, something which has escaped their hands for decades. By allowing the number one conservative news station in the world to continue to espouse racist opinions, conservatives are assuring themselves of continuing to lose election after election in a US that is continually becoming more and more ethnically and racially diverse.[Image via Facebook]