Before I get started, let me come clean. I no longer believe that a guy in a sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer delivers presents to boys and girls around the world. I also don’t believe in virgin births or resurrection from the dead. But I do believe that there is a place for mythology in our culture to create symbolism of certain guiding principles. So all of you literalists out there should probably stop reading now.
Watching Fox News, and then a host of other commentators, argue that Santa Claus and Jesus were white provided a lot of fodder for late night television. But let’s get one thing very clear. If you’re arguing about the race of a symbolic figure, then you’re a racist. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.
Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor who started the latest uproar, later said that she was only kidding. I hope that’s true, but she made the joke on the network that panders to the party of white people. That leaves her credibility and judgment in doubt.
But even if Kelly was joking, the people who took up the fight were not. They delved into the origins of the myth to say that Santa was, in fact, white and Jesus was, too. The whole argument implies that if they aren’t white people they are somehow lacking.
Both Jesus and Santa are, or should be, about ideals, not people. Santa is the personification of the spirit of giving, though retailers are trying to turn him into the spirit of buying. Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew who preached love and tolerance. Who cares about their skin color? It’s what they do and say that matters, not what they look like.
If you believe that skin color somehow enhances or detracts from who they are, then you are a racist. Come to terms with it.