Monday, December 16, 2013

Why The Black Santa Matters

A short post on a topic I hadn't planned to touch, but whose meaning seemingly just leaped out at me and grabbed my legs*.

I stopped by my daughter's public high school just now to talk to the History and English teachers. I was looking for some extra credit she could do over the Christmas break. Both teachers discussed race. In History, I was encouraged to have her see movies and write about slavery. In English, it was slavery and Hispanic discrimination. There was nothing aggressive about it, it was all very matter-of-fact as if that's the sort of thing that should take up at least 85% of all class time.

Of course people who marinated in the public education system for 16+ years think Santa doesn't have to be white. Just how weird would you have to be to even suggest otherwise?

St. Nicholas of Myra. A black man, to be sure. Just like George Washington.
 * - I hate it when that happens.


tim eisele said...

So, taking a perfectly respectable 3rd century Greek bishop and turning him into a jolly immortal fat man who lives at the North Pole with his wife and an indeterminate number of elves, and flies around the world pulled by magic flying reindeer at Mach 6000 delivering presents every year, is just reasonable poetic license, but suggesting that maybe also he could have dark skin is obviously all wrong? Thanks for clearing that up.

K T Cat said...

I dunno, Tim. There's been an evolution going from St. Nikolas to St. Nicholas to Santa Claus. It seems that what's being said is that black and Hispanic kids can't consume anything where they don't share the skin color of the main characters. In fact, that was the gist of what my daughter's English teacher was telling me about her choice of materials.

tim eisele said...

KT: I would argue that that was the whole point of turning a thin Greek into a fat Dutchman/German[*] in the first place - they were trying to make him into something that the Northern European kids would find more comforting and familiar and acceptable. I really can't see the point in complaining when somebody now wants to do the *exact same thing* for another group of kids.

[*] With Sami elements for the Scandinavian kids (the reindeer, you know)