Santa is a White Person

It reminds me of all the heathens who sit around and argue about whether the Norse gods are white. Or the fits about Heimdall being played by Idris Elba. I mean, just ignoring the fact that St. Nicholas was Turkish, Santa is a legend. He can be whatever he needs to be to fit the story. I mean, Robin Hood is a fox, sometimes. You see a man in any story with one eye and a propensity for hanging himself, forget what skin color he has, you need to check and see if that’s the Old Man.

The Professor and I have talked about this some. I used to think that we could convince everyone to be more interested in justice and equality because it’s not like the privileged folks would be losing anything. They’d just be making room at the table for the rest of us.

But that’s not true. The truth is that, in order for equality to truly happen, a lot of people are going to lose shit. The idea that not only can you believe that Santa is only white, but that you have a right to a culture that agrees with you? That has to go. Just for starters.

9 thoughts on “Santa is a White Person

  1. I don’t care what color people want to think Santa is. But Nicholas of Myra was Greek; there were no Turks in his part of the world until several centuries after his death. Calling him a Turk is a lot like calling Pocahontas a USian. That woman on Fox is stupid, but I don’t think that using misinformation to counter her misinformation is very useful.

  2. There’s something so very pathetic about the insistence that Santa MUST be white (or that God must be, for that matter). What kind of mewling, whining, petty mind do you have to have to believe that the color of a legendary figure’s skin is of any relevance to their story? To believe that you lose anything at if they are not white? How fragile is your ego and how narrow is your mind? It’s beneath contempt.

  3. Right, he was Greek. But reminding people that he came from what is currently Turkey, on the southern coast, I think, brings up the racial stuff more clearly. We have a long history of making Greeks rather white but we don’t tend to let the Turks be so (because we have a tendency to link race and religion, right? And if nick was a Christian and a Greek then it’s really easy to pretend he was white by every possible standard). Talking about today’s geography instead of then geopolitics it like a shorthand.
    Although, maybe the shorthand doesn’t work to clear things up for people who think that race is real in a sort of pre-determined way.

  4. Ha, no, good point. I was trying to make the point the Professor was making, but should have been less sloppy about it. In my defense, it’s confusing. Sometimes Myra is depicted as a fox. (Not actually true.)

  5. Said Lyndon Baines Johnson: “If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.”

    This only works if large numbers of individuals buy into it, which is where Fox News comes in. Repeatedly tell folks what they are perhaps already inclined to hear, and you reinforce the narrative. If ‘whiteness’ is at the center of your self-worth, then suddenly defending it– even in otherwise ludicrous and irrelevant places– becomes vital. That means you can’t let the ni–ers have Santa Claus.

  6. Ugh, that’s why the Book of Esther keeps striking me as ugly, nasty, and vicious.

    You have all these dudes in various states of stratification and conflict, but they’re all fundamentally united on keeping all women as a slave class. So you can be on the losing end of dudely power struggles, but still feel okay about yourself because you still get to master/slave it over women.

  7. Look, I get what Fox News is trying to do. I object to it. But that doesn’t make it correct, or enlightening, or even helpful to say that a Byzantine Greek was a Turk. It’s wrong in really fundamental ways, including by suggesting that no one in the US needs to know anyone else’s history.

    What’s a lot more interesting than some mouthpiece for racism disguised as fair and balanced conservatism saying that a pretty well deliberately invented legend “is white” is the way that the USians who turned the Dutch Sinterklaas into Santa also have completely erased his black sidekick Zwarte Piet. Until the past couple of centuries, there was a strong association between black people, gift giving, and the Christmas season in Christian iconography: Balthasar, one of the Magi, is almost always depicted in European art as looking sub-Saharan African up through the Renaissance. Only the “modern” “understanding” of Africans as slaves has done away with that connection. I think it’s a lot more thought-provoking to point that out than to say, wrongly, that St. Nicholas was Turkish.

  8. “The USians who turned the Dutch Sinterklaas into Santa also have completely erased his black sidekick Zwarte Piet.” Oh come on, like that’s a bad thing? The whole Zwarte Piet thing is racist. He’s dressed as a servant, he is supposed to be goofy, and he’s always portrayed by white folks in extremely clownlike blackface. Saying Zwarte Piet is a good thing because he is associated with gift giving is like saying the old, mammy version of Aunt Jemima is good because she’s associated with sweet syrup, and who doesn’t love that? Neither portrayal is anything but insulting to actual living breathing black people. And using kids to justify it is worse, because of course, black children exist too. How do *they* feel about a noble, princely white Santa with a gamboling fool of a black person as his servant? Zwarte Piet is not anything close to Sinterklass’s equal. And that’s due to racism, in this case, a particularly ancient racist tradition.

    I have at home at least one Nativity scene with a black Magi (and the others are actually rather brown, now that I think about it) and that’s not unusual. I don’t think anyone has erased that portrayal, perhaps because, unlike Zwarte Piet, he is a noble, wise figure.

  9. This goes along with how I’ve often been left scratching my head by the insistence of “Christians” with an anti semitic bent that Jesus is white… What part of the Bible are they reading where they miss that he was from the middle east and Jewish? I also really want to pass a memo to Christian-leaning skinheads that they can’t be both – pick a side. You can’t worship the person you claim to hate; the combo does not compute.

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