Santa’s existential dilemma: To be white, black or a penguin?

Anchor Megyn Kelly of FOX News Channel.
Anchor Megyn Kelly of FOX News Channel.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

In Santa Claus news this week:

Kudos to Megyn Kelly who has done the impossible and upped the ante in the already ridiculous “war on Christmas.” The Fox News personality has added an even sillier race component to an already silly debate.

After insisting to Jay Leno, as Kelly did the other night, that she’s a “straight news anchor … not one of the opinion hosts,” she informed her viewers Wednesday with perfect certainty that both Santa Claus and Jesus are white, and those who disagree can get over themselves.

“He’s a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact,” Kelly said of Jesus. “As is Santa. I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”


The discussion was occasioned by an essay by Slate blogger Aisha Harris, who wrote that she felt confused as a child when Santa was represented in her home as a black man, and as a white man everywhere else.

“That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white -- and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a ‘joke’ or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes,” she wrote, “helps perpetuate the whole ‘white-as-default’ notion endemic to American culture.”

To help children avoid the “insecurity and shame” that she felt as a black child in a world of white Santas, Harris lightheartedly suggested that Santa be thought of not as an old white guy, but as a penguin -- a cute, cuddly, black-and-white creature.

It’s really not worth getting into it about the race of Santa Claus, who I am pretty sure can be whatever color you want him to be -- because that’s just how damn magical he is.

As Americans enjoyed their annual Yuletide tradition of politicizing Christmas, a much greater outrage took place across the Atlantic Ocean.

Last week, an English cleric who is to retire at the end of the year -- and not a moment too soon -- apologized after telling schoolchildren in a market town 100 miles west of London that Santa Claus is not real.

According to the Daily Telegraph, children ages 5 to 11 came home from their Chippenham school “shell shocked” after the Rev. Simon Tatton-Brown had a problem with his notes during his annual Christmas address and was forced to ad lib:

“He told children that Father Christmas was based on a grisly legend about Saint Nicholas, who bought three murdered children back to life. The Church of England vicar described how the youngsters were killed by an evil butcher and placed in a barrel to be pickled and sold as ham…. It is reported he also claimed Christmas stockings exist only due to a myth about Saint Nicholas dropping a gift down a poor family’s chimney which happened to land in a sock hung by the fire to dry,” the Daily Telegraph reported.

First off, English school children certainly shell shock more easily than they used to.

And second, that guy should definitely get a lump of coal in his stocking.

Or maybe a ham sandwich….


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Twitter: @robinabcarian