I don’t usually weigh on when news pundits make gaffes. By the time I’m caught up on the latest attack of foot-in-mouth by some talking head, it’s because I saw it on SNL on Hulu a week after the fact. This time, however, the story to which I’m referring is a gift that keeps on giving: Megyn Kelly of Fox News and her insistence that Santa (and Jesus, but I’m not touching that) is white.
*le sigh* and full body eye roll so intense, I now have six pack abs (there’s a Christmas miracle !).
The social media outlets all but imploded as tweets, memes, and Vines exploded, thoroughly trashing Kelly. Kelly trying to
backpedal defend herself, tried running the “race-baiting” flag up the pole, heartily waving it while touting that the whole thing was “just a joke”.
Sorry, Kelly, but there’s always truth in humor. And guess what? Your truth came through loud and clear.
Look, if you think that Santa — who for the record is a mythical concoction — is white, good for you. In my family, we believe that Santa is Black. I have gone to great lengths to maintain this belief for my children, searching for a Santa who looks like us for quite some time.
Six years ago, I was desperate to find a Black Santa for the children. While M and C never flat out asked me if Santa was Black, I never said he wasn’t. We’re Black, ergo, Santa would be, too. As it turned out, finding a Black Santa was as elusive as a same day reservation at the French Laundry.
It shouldn’t have been that way, especially considering the rate at which society is becoming more and more multi-ethnic, but there it is.
At that time, in the holiday department in Dillard’s at the MacArthur Mall, there was a tree that was decorated with all Black Santa’s, Black Ballerina’s, and other Black-centric ornaments. Right after Thanksgiving, my mother stumbled upon that tree and excitedly told the clerk on the floor how wonderful the tree was. She then went on to ask where and when the Black Santa would be coming to town. The clerk, who was also Black, said something like, “Blah, blah, blah, there isn’t one”. Not one to be dissuaded, my mom, who I think was Nancy Drew in a former life, set out to find one. She said she was doing it for her granddaughters, but I know deep down, she wanted to see Black Santa, too.
Fast forward to the 1st of December. Evidently, there WAS a Black Santa, and he was going to be at the Newsome House in Newport News on December 8rd — FOR ONE DAY ONLY. Sadly, we didn’t make it to that event that year. I really wanted to make this Santa thing happen for the children, and even went so far as to suggest to the Hubs to rent a Santa suit, dress up for our girls, snap a few pics and then return the suit!! Or keep it for next year, whatever. Shoot, if word got out that we had a Black Santa, consider Christmas paid for! Yeah, that didn’t happen.
The following year, I was determined to make a visit with a Black Santa happen for the children. As soon as October rolled around, I put the Newsome House on speed dial, constantly pestering them for information about the Soulful Christmas Celebration. When the information was released, I was told that there would be a Black Santa present and the Soulful Christmas Celebration would only be for Saturday during the month of December. Well, I made sure that we were there like stripes on a candy cane. And yes children, there was a Santa Claus that looked like us! There were some other things that went down at the Soulful Christmas that undercut the Santa, but that’s a post you can revisit here.
I was disappointed as to how that experience turned out for the girls. I wanted to find a legit Santa to which they could relate. I stopped referring to Santa as “Black Santa”, because it implied that there was more than one who was of another hue. I impressed upon the girls that Santa is/was whatever the family imagines him to to be. Plain and simple. For us, Santa looks like a member of our family. Nowadays, when the girls see another Santa out and about, it doesn’t phase them. They gladly take proffered candy canes and chucks under the chin. They smile coquettishly at any jolly, giant in a red suit, young or old, thin or fat, white, brown or in between. Highly sought after presents are on the line, amirite?
This year, I decided that I was going to not only find a Santa, but host a Santa breakfast for one of C’s playgroups. Yeah, it’s not like I have anything else to do. Once again, I started searching in October, calling up the African American cultural society and searching the Internet for leads to Soulful Christmas celebrations in my area. As luck would have it, there is a gentleman who portrays Santa and he was more than willing to come to the Santa Breakfast. He and I had a lovely conversation at the end of which he closed by saying, “Uh, you do know that I’m African American, right? Some folks don’t like that.”
*ahem* side eye at Megyn Kelly.
I’m not going to sit here and give you a lecture about the origins of Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Père Noël, Papa Christmas, Krampus, Pai Natal or Kris Kringle. Different parts of the world celebrate this time of year differently, but the fact remains that the celebrations are unique to those individuals. None of us have the right and should never have the umititigated gall to tell another what they practice and believe is wrong. Of course, people do it and I could point to the Pandora’s box of political behavior throughout the course of history, but it’s Christmas. I’m trying to keep things light.
My older girls are at an age when their belief in fairy tales and childhood folklore is is tenuous at best. I will do whatever I can to keep the magic alive. When they ask me if I believe in Santa, I don’t hesitate to say yes. When they ask me why there are so many different looking Santas, I tell them that Santa is the embodiment of good will, caring, love, and the best parts of every family.
A few week-ends before Christmas, Santa came to town and sat in my living room looking very much like the best parts of my family.