A Brown Man reflects on White Santa

Brown Santa

The Author as ‘Brown Santa’

Last week Megyn Kelly of Fox News stepped into a controversy of her own making buy declaring that both Santa (Claus) and Jesus (Christ) were white. Kelly was referring to a column

in Slate by Aisha Harris suggesting that Santa should be represented by a Penguin.

Kelly said:

For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white …

For the record, Kelly is white (and blond) and the author of this blog has occasionally referred to himself as:

One part yellow, two parts brown and on part black — which makes me at least as black as Barack

Our culture has become hypersensitive about race. One of the side-effects is that for white people (including white Hispanics) race has become the third rail of public discourse. Yet minorities are free to say whatever they want about race with almost no repercussions. So, while my cracker friend Steve can’t blog about this topic, for fear of being called racist — I can.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I grew up with out any really strong racial identity. My neighborhood was as integrated as any in Cedar Falls. Most of my neighbors were educated professionals like my parents, primarily engineers and college professors. I hate to admit it but I always thought of myself as being just like all my friends — white. It was interesting when in middle school my father took a sabbatical and we lived for three years on the island of Guam. My mother is from Guam and I am half Chammoro (2 parts brown). On Guam I was no longer a minority, I was now in the majority. Interestingly almost all of my friends were haoles (a sometimes derogative term for white people)  probably because of shared experiences.

As for Santa Claus, it is understandable that people want to adopt the mythology of their culture to fit their own ethnic identity. Santa Claus has a convoluted past. The Santa that we recognize in the United States seems to be an admixture of the Greek St Nicholas, and the German/Norse Wodin/Odin. Since Greece is a Mediterranean country St Nicholas would logically be Greek with Greek/Mediterranean features — probably dark skin and brown hair. So, Santa Claus looks like me — he’s probably my size as well!

However, as a brown-skinned person who has lived in a tropical climate I have trouble believing that any of my brown homies would voluntarily leave a Mediterranean climate and move to the North Pole. So even though I have more trouble identifying with the big guy I am absolutely sure that Santa must be white!

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