Last night I learned that a holiday so thoroughly divorced from its origins that the origins are meaningless is yet another way white people keep minorities down through white cultural imperialism. And that we racist white people need to ‘check our white privilege’ and stop having a white Santa because the easily offended are getting the vapors.
This proposition came from reading the most recent Aisha Harris column at Slate. For those who haven’t heard of her, Aisha Harris is a Social Justice Warrior working at Slate or, as her by-line indicates a “Slate culture blogger for Brow Beat.” She’d written one of those multicultural, stop white domination of Christmas columns, though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek it did play to the usual culture war garbage:
That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).
Strangely, she doesn’t bring up the ‘yellow-as-default’ imagery of China and the far east. She also doesn’t bring up the ‘brown-as-default’ imagery of South America and the Middle East. And, of course, she doesn’t bring up the ‘black-as-default’ imagery of sub-Saharan Africa. Of course, why would she? She’s probably never been anywhere in her life and has no idea how things work anywhere but the US.
Here’s Asian Jesus from 1879:
Here is Southern/Central European Jesus from the 6th Century:
Here is black Jesus from 1899:
This is ‘Hispanic’ Jesus:
Who used to be ‘Italian Jesus’ but was purchased and shipped to a predominantly Mexican Church in San Antonio, Texas to replace their old ‘white Jesus’ a few years ago.
So, clearly, as we can see, ‘everybody does it’ and that mythological icons tend to conform to the racial characteristics of those that hold and/or illustrate them.
Yet, in her follow up column written to attack white people under the guise of ‘aren’t they a bunch of unthinking cultural imperialists, therefore racists’ she continues on with her premise and writes:
Earlier this week, I argued that our image of Santa Claus should no longer be a white man, but, instead, a penguin. I hoped the piece would come across as a little tongue-in-cheek, while at the same time expressing my real concern that America continues to promote the harmful idea of whiteness-as-default. Over the past couple of days, I’ve received a lot of responses. Some of them were positive—mostly because, as I said in the piece, people love penguins.
But many responses have (unsurprisingly) been negative. I’ve been labeled a “racist” more times than I can count, and more than one person has wondered whether or not I think snow should no longer be white. Some of it’s pretty amusing, actually.
While I thought the snow comment was funny, I thought racism comments missed the mark. She’s not being racist, she’s being a SJW demagogue who lives her life finding fault with any group not part of her ‘in group’ which includes the vast bulk of the people in the United States (and possibly Europe) and its (their) society (societies) dominated by ‘white’ people and their European cultural roots.
Normally I’d laugh and move on as she’s just another clown seeking to create a controversy and blog hits. But, somehow, Fox News addressed the very same issue (though it probably had nothing to do with her) Wednesday night and the whole thing has blown up. And while I think Fox News is abysmal and not worth watching or, in almost all cases, defending somehow the topic came up.
But the “controversy” reached its apex last night when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, along with three (white) guests discussed the topic on her show, The Kelly File. Just before diving in, Kelly made sure to emphatically declare, “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.” It doesn’t get much better from there:
Well, of course he’s white. Just like Shango (African god of storms) was black. This is natural, Gods and Cultural Icons tend to look like the people who created them.
So, like it or not, the dominant culture in the US is a mish-mash of predominantly of European origin, as is Santa Claus. Hence, you get ‘White European’ Holidays (featuring ‘white’ cultural icons such as Santa) like Christmas being celebrated in a country that is, and has been for hundreds of years, mostly ‘white.’
At this point her column continues on making irrelevant points while she plays her SJW game with the origins of Christmas and throwing in that Jesus wasn’t white (which is probably true). Nothing particularly surprising or excessively vitriolic, though I found these two things to pretty idiotic:
And yet Kelly and her guests not only say repeatedly that Santa is real and definitely white, they also equate him with Jesus, who, historians generally agree, was a Jewish man who grew up in Galilee. Was he white? Probably not. But the truest answer is that we really don’t know. Also, whiteness is a historical construct. And, again, Santa isn’t real.
I have no doubts Megan Kelly knows Santa isn’t real. But this a TV show being broadcast into homes with children that are still playing the ‘Santa is Real’ game. So she plays along. That Kelly’s consideration and respect for others becomes a mocking point only serves to heighten, at least to me, the deliberate fault finding and just how shallowly the author thinks these things through in her rush to score ‘victim points.’
And ‘whiteness’ is a historical construct? I wonder if she ever took a biology course. ‘Whiteness,’ which is almost impossible to pin down in any meaningful way, is a evolutionary adaptation allowing for the production of Vitamin D in low-light/short-day conditions. Not that the ‘historical construct’ she rails against prevents her from using ‘white’ when she wants to attack ‘white’ people and any of their relatively common ‘white’ cultural practices like Christmas.
In the end, it’s pretty sad, really. There comes a point in time where you need to focus on real problems and not whine about silly distractions like a holiday featuring a fat, white male icon while trying to make it a symbol of racial oppression. And yet, here we are. Not fighting real fights. Not improving the world.
But, rather, pointlessly attacking a traditional holiday icon that’s been illustrated in this particular form since, at least, the days of Henry the VIII.
Though he rode a goat back then…