“Santa just is white”

16 Dec

At about 3 mins in this clip of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-december-12-2013/war-on-christmas—s–t-s-getting-weird-edition), Fox News references the Slate magazine article “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore”  (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2013/12/santa_claus_an_old_white_man_not_anymore_meet_santa_the_penguin_a_new_christmas.html) by Aisha Harris.

It’s powerful and bizarro to me that in the middle of this editorial, the news anchor feels compelled to reassure children that “Santa just is white.” It begs the question: what is she defending? Because it’s clearly not just  a fictional character who slides down chimneys. It’s her childhood, her culture, her worldview and her determination that her sense of right is right. So right that it ought to trump everyone else’s. Which is why she feels comfortable trotting out what Stewart dubs “the slogan for oppression: Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it has to change.”

Because, after all, why should the majority have to change, when those in the minority can keep accommodating? (Contrast Fox News’ position “Santa just is white” with the explanation Harris’ father offered “that Santa was every color. Whatever house he visited, jolly old St. Nicholas magically turned into the likeness of the family that lived there.” The former is what you say when you want a tradition to remain exclusive; the latter is an attempt to make it more inclusive.)

As for Harris’ tongue-in-cheek suggestion that we turn Santa Claus into a penguin, a part of me had to giggle. Penguins, as you know, are white and black. (I see what you did there, Aisha…)

** Thanks to my colleague (was it you, LM?) for sending.

One Response to ““Santa just is white””

  1. iCheckOther December 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    It was me. 🙂

    Thanks for blogging!

    I also found fascinating Jessica Williams’ shout-out to Jon Stewart: Since Jesus is also proclaimed as White in this clip – don’t worry kids! – and Jon is Jewish; therefore congratulations to him on his Whiteness status…

    She just touches on a whole other can of worms, which is of course one I interact with a lot, working for a Jewish organization, and teaching social justice through Jewish frameworks.


    2013/12/16 rethinking diversity

    > blinkconsulting posted: “At about 3 mins in this clip of the Daily > Show with Jon Stewart ( > http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-december-12-2013/war-on-christmas—s–t-s-getting-weird-edition), > Fox News references the Slate magazine article “Santa Claus Should Not Be a > White Man”

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