Once upon a time I wrote a blog about Billy Crystal and his black face performance at the Oscars. At the time I thought people were overreacting. I spent several days fielding comments and doing damage control. It got a bit ugly. Okay, a LOT ugly. Shortly after that, Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman in what many of us believe was a racially motivated crime (I do). My feelings certainly changed after that. Feelings that race still plays such a huge part in everyday life. Sad.
Fast forward to these past few days and the current debate about Santa Claus' race. A teacher in New Mexico was reprimanded for scolding a black student for dressing as Santa Claus, because everyone knows, "Santa is white". The class had been instructed to dress as Santa, an elf or a reindeer. So why scold the student for following instructions? Who says Santa has to be white??
This season I've read several blogs about how long kids believe in Santa Claus. Any chance that since we, as "grown-ups" are aware that Santa Claus is indeed, a fictitious character the color of his skin should not matter? Can't we let our kids believe in a Santa Claus of whatever color they choose - as long as they believe?
Megyn Kelly of Fox News has come under fire recently for her on air claim that "hey kids, Santa is white". She even goes on to apologize to any kids that are watching that may be upset at this news. FOR REAL?
This commentary has gone on to become great fodder for late night talk show hosts as it's absurdity defied logic. Naturally she has gone on to defend her comments as "humor" and can't anyone take a joke? In my humble, that was about as innocent as Paula Deen using the N word. They open their mouths, then try to back track and play the victim.
So, my question is: why can't we all believe whatever we want to believe?
I asked an African American friend about her thoughts on this controversy. She said that growing up she never really thought of Santa Claus as having a color. However, her mother always said that the only person that brought presents into their home was black. And that is what she chose to believe. And as a country based on freedom, why can't people be FREE to believe that a fictitious character can be WHATEVER THE HELL COLOR they want?
Why should a black family in an all black community believe that Santa Claus is white? Says who? Sure, he has always, in our white communities been depicted as white but why is it our place to say that it how it has to be? According to history, Santa Claus "is a fantasy figure with legendary ,mythical, historical and folkloric origins. Sure, he was originally depicted as a fat, bearded white man in a red suit but if he is mythical and folkloric, why can't he be a thin black man with no facial hair? Or purple for that matter?
Kids think Barney is real and he is a huge purple dinosaur. They love smurfs that are blue and other characters of different colors. Sponge Bob is yellow. Should Megyn Kelly go on air and debunk these characters as fake? Particularly as Jon Stewart pointed out in this commentary, on her Fox News 10pm time slot? When we're sure lots of children are watching??
I can point out that when raising my girls my husband handled the Santa Claus thing. I'm Jewish, he is not. My kids believed. But, they also believed in Hanukah Harry. Another fictitious character. Kids love the fantasy; we love their innocence and ability to believe. How precious it is for our children to give us those looks, eyes full of wonder when they believe so hard that there is this person who is watching to see if they are good or bad, naughty or nice? Why does something so beautiful have to become something racial?
I'm beginning to think that the world has simply lost it's innocence. Everything has to be turned into an issue. Nothing can be left as sacred or special. We have to read something into EVERYTHING. We have lost our sense of wonder.
So, why don't we all try something for a change? Everyone mind their own business and let each person and family believe what they want. If they want Santa to be black so be it. White, so be it. Purple, so be it. Who cares? Let's just allow the spirit of the season, which is one of giving and thankfulness to reside over all else.
That's a wrap.
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