Slate: 'Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore...Should Be a Penguin'

Remember all those promises that racism would end if Barack Obama became president?

Perfectly demonstrating the absurdity was Slate culture blogger Aisha Harris Tuesday actually making the case that it's racist for Santa Claus to be an old white man, and that he should be replaced by a penguin:

When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum. He was omnipresent, visiting my pre-school and the local mall, visible in all of my favorite Christmas specials.

Then there was the Santa in my family’s household, in the form of ornaments, cards, and holiday figurines. A near-carbon copy of the first one—big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine.

I guess one could understand Harris's confusion as a child to see Santas with different colored skin.

However, I would suggest that her parents made a mistake in doing this, for the personage of Santa Claus harkens back to 4th century Saint Nicholas of Myra who was indeed white, had a beard, and gave generous gifts to the poor.

During the Middle Ages, when the actual gift giving by Christians changed from December 6 and the night before to December 24 and 25, his name was changed to Santa Claus due to the Reformation and resulting opposition to venerating saints so close to the anniversary of Christ's birth.

With that in mind, here's an illustration of St. Nicholas circa 13th century:

Notice the color of the skin, the rosy red checks, and the white beard.

But I guess the history of Santa Claus should be revised because some don't like a white one.

Re-enter Harris:

America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?

Yes, it is. And so I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin.

That’s right: a penguin.

Why, you ask? For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood.

So, because Harris's parents foolishly confused her about the color of Santa Claus's skin rather than explaining to their children his history, his likeness in the future should be altered to one she doesn't find offensive.

Maybe all white religious and historical figures should be similarly changed in likeness so that folks such as Harris are more comfortable.

Don't scoff at this, for it does seem a possible path as those in the ongoing War on White Men continue to attack Caucasians with the unfortunate affliction of possessing a Y-chromosome.

Readers are advised that a link to the Slate piece was purposely omitted. The author and editors involved may have intentionally published an inflammatory article to bring disgusted readers to their website. Other than exposing the absurdity on display, we have no interest in increasing their traffic and suggest you don't either.

(HT Weasel Zippers)

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Noel Sheppard's picture

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