• Thu, Dec 19 - 1:00 pm ET

My Mixed Race Kids Will Have A Black Santa – If They Want

IMG_0171__1387473521_142.196.156.251This will be my toddler’s first Christmas away from Brooklyn, New York. Not that he would remember, but in his first photos with Santa, Santa is black. I really liked that the first Santa my son saw “in person” resembled him a lot more than the traditional one. Not sure any malls in Orlando, Florida will be offering that option, though.

I’ve been thinking about this recently thanks to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and her commentary on the Aisha Harris piece in Slate, Santa Claus Should Not Be A White Man Anymore. She moved from condescension to almost anger, to actually addressing kids at home,

Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa. And by the way for all of you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. Santa is what he is.

Harris makes no mention of racism in her piece, she just laments the notion that Santa should be inclusive to all cultures that celebrate the Santa fantasy around the holidays. I agree; why not? He’s made up. He can be whatever we want him to be. He doesn’t exist in reality. As a mother of mixed race children, it makes no sense to me to just default to “white Santa.” If Santa is a figment of all of our imaginations – I want my child to celebrate one that looks like them. Or not. Basically – I want to let them know that he is many different things to many different people.

In a country that is moving away from a white majority – I don’t even see why redefining the Santa fantasy is a big deal. Growing up, my black friends had pictures of black Santa in their homes. I wasn’t confused by this at all – even as a grade-schooler my mind could wrap around the idea that people identified with others that looked like them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with raising children to question these kinds of things.

So if my children actually ask me one day, Why is Santa black in our house and white at my friend’s house? I can respond by saying – he’s whatever people want him to be. No one’s ever seen him in person – so we’re all guessing. I think that is a little more sane than insisting that a fictional character is any race at all.

(photo: Maria Guido)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • ted3553

    Santa is made up. The original guy that Santa stories are based on was either white or mediterranean but we’re hundreds of years from that actual figure. The real person is obviously dead so Santa can be whatever colour you want. I’ve seen pink and white versions of the Easter bunny. Why are we not making an issue of this?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      :( wait… what?

    • CMJ

      SANTA IS DEAD?!?!?!?!

    • kay

      SANTA IS DEAD?!?!?!?!

    • Lackadaisical

      Don’t worry people, Santa isn’t dead. The tooth fairy told me and she wouldn’t lie to me.

    • meteor_echo

      Turkish, actually. The place where the actual St. Nicholas lived belongs to the territory of Turkey now, so the dude wasn’t even white to begin with.

  • kate

    Did anyone actually watch the Megyn Kelly segment beyond the overblown soundbite? Because the group had good things to say about the Aisha Harris piece and agreed with many of her points.

    • EX

      But that would involve watching Fox News for an extended period of time. After the marathon of “blah, blah, blah Obamacare” I had to sit through while visiting with my in-laws you’d have to strap me to the chair and force my eyes open a la A Clockwork Orange to watch any more Fox News. I’m sure you’re right, though. I. Just. Can’t.

    • kate

      Well, it was actually just a group of people discussing an article that was published- points that they agreed with, and points they didn’t. I didn’t agree with everything that every one said, but I can consider viewpoints that are different than my own without resorting to name calling.

    • EX

      Wait, who is name calling?

    • kate

      A whole lot of people on the internets! :-)

    • EX

      No disagreement there, but I wasn’t name calling. And, for the record I can also “consider viewpoints that are different than my own without resorting to name calling” I just prefer to listen to those viewpoints from a source other than Fox News. I’m pregnant. I have to be mindful of my blood pressure.

    • kate

      Your quotation marks just did bad things for my blood pressure, no fair.

    • EX

      I feel like we’ve gotten off to a bad start. I have no beef with you, just with Fox News. I used quotation marks because I was quoting you. No snark intended (at least not towards you).

    • kate

      No beef here, either. I get that piling on Fox News is a favorite pastime of many, I just wanted to know if people watched the whole segment before making assumptions. During the segment, I only saw people making different points, some were well thought out, others weren’t- I certainly missed the blatant racism referenced in the comment below, but calling people racist is easy. Simply thinking that Santa (or any other made-up mythical cultural figure) is white doesn’t make anyone a racist any more than believing Santa is black does.

    • Kelly

      I watched the whole thing. The blatant racism overshadowed their “good” points. Racism tends to do that.

    • kate

      Sarcasm can overshadow good points as well.

    • Moses

      Disagree. Sarcasm just makes everything better.

    • kate

      You win.

    • whatlight

      The issue isn’t really about the group, it is about Megyn Kelly’s comments though.

  • Kay_Sue

    My mom always said that Santa is magic. He looks like you want him to, or something like that. It made perfect sense to us.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I love that.

    • Armchair Observer

      I just watched one of those Hallmark Channel or UP Christmas movies that went with that (awesome!) theme: ‘Cancel Christmas’. Check it out.

    • Kay_Sue

      I will have to do that. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Kelly

    I’m still flabbergasted that people are offended by the idea of a black Santa. Who the hell cares what color he is?

    • JLH1986

      I worked at a bookstore last year around Christmas. We got in several different versions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. One had a black Santa with dreads. This book offended white people because “Santa is white.” It offended black people because “Why do black people have to have dreads?”. I just told them I just sold books, didn’t write them and to address that with the publisher/author.

  • keelhaulrose

    So, we believe that there’s a man who lives at the North Pole with (most likely) thousands of elf workers and a giant warehouse despite the fact that everyone and Google Earth can’t find them, and he has capability that the NSA can only dream of, and one night a year this man takes his sled out with eight flying reindeer and one with a glowing red nose that shines enough light to apparently safely fly this thing through heavy fog, and uses the info he gathered earlier to visit the homes of every single child who believes in him on the planet (he has to leave coal for the bad ones), and during his breaking-and-entering spree has the appetite and stomach capacity to eat cookies and drink milk at every stop, but it’s beyond comprehension that he has the magical ability to look different to different people?
    Yeah, that makes sense.

    • JLH1986

      This. All. Damn. Day.

    • Armchair Observer

      This really should make the top comments–it’s awesome.

    • Holly Hayes

      Having the ability to visit seven billion homes in twelve hours using flying reindeer is one thing – but being BLACK? Well, that’s on a whole different level of ridiculous!

    • keelhaulrose

      I think the Daily Show said it best when they said if Santa were black there’d be some people “standin’ their ground”.

  • Lackadaisical

    While Greek at the time of his birth where the original saint Nicholas is from is now part of turkey so just as Jesus would not have looked anywhere near as white as most religious paintings paint him, Santa would not really be as pale, blue eyed and frankly Scandinavian as we imagine him. If people like me can imagine him white so that he feels like a familiar gentleman who could be like a grandfather, why on earth can’t children who aren’t white imagine him to be like them so that he can fit their notion of a kindly grandfather. White people like me changed Santa’s color first, but we shouldn’t get a monopoly on that.

    • Byron

      That part of Greece is now part of Turkey because of Turkish invasion, not because of some kind of ethnic-based relocation like you’re insinuating right here.

      Greeks looked like Greeks then too, they just don’t live there in this day and age because of war. To say that Greeks of that area looked like how the invaders of it look in the present is like saying Native Americans look like Spanish and Brittish men because that’s who lives there now. I hope you can see how offensive that is.

      As for what a Greek looks like, white skin, brown/black eyes (usually). Some have darker compelxion than others but most of us are what the random passerby would instantly qualify as “white” without much hesitation. We’re not Scandinavian but we’re not really Arab either. Think Italian, only with less hair-gell.

    • hannaugh

      There is an (amazing) restaurant in my town that is run by a Greek immigrant family. They have a son who is blonde haired and blue eyed.

    • Byron

      There’s a few, very few blond people but generally speaking, brown/black hair is what you’ll get. I remember in my highschool there was only 1 naturally blond person and only a couple of natural red-heads. All the rest were various shades of brown and black. :P

      It is also possible that someone in his gene pool was from further north than Greece.

    • hannaugh

      Side note: They are a very good looking family. I always liked going there in my teenage years because he and his brothers are all pretty hot. :)

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      To claim that Greeks looked like Turks is actually very accurate – totally not the same thing as claiming a Native American look liked a Brit. Greece and Turkey share a border, cuisine, culture, and their people have very similar physical characteristics.

    • Byron

      I think you might be a few history lessons short here.

      Greece has had about 300 years of Turkish occupation between the 15th and 18th century. Eventually overtaking the occupation and reclaiming some but not all of that land. Some Greeks do look more like Turks because of all the intermingling (rape) that happened in those 300 years but to now say that it’s the same is actually highly offensive to anyone who grew with this heritage. While a boarder is shared, this current one is not the same as the one of the 14th century. Back then, Turkish were middle eastern and Greeks were a whole big mix of Byzantine nations that you’d describe as European in todays standards. The area that currently is called Istanbul (Constantinopole), at the time of St. Nick, wouldn’t look at all like what it does now. The Greek teritorry spread more into west Asia and had it not been for the push west that the Ottoman empire did, these locations would have still been Greek.

      Long story short, people around that area don’t look like their middle-eastern invaders like they do now. That shared boarder was a whole lot more to the east in those times and so the currently located people are actually middle-easterners who moved west, still retaining their middle-eastern characteristics.

  • darras

    First off – who the hell cares what colour Santa is, bit sad that people have nothing better to be worried about!
    Secondly – I LOVE your planned answer to your childrens’ possible future question.
    And thirdly and totally unrelated, if that’s your kid in the photo above then hot damn you have a beautiful child.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Aww – thanks!

  • Emma Lewis

    I just bit.ly/google– it, its kind of cute, :)

  • CrazyLogic

    One of my cousins collects Black Santas!

    That sounds strange out of context… Her Godfather is African American and as a joke he started giving her Santa memorabilia that had him be Black. It’s been going on for almost thirty years and she’s considering getting a small fake tree to put all the Black Santas around.

  • Byron

    Wait, if the child is mixed why is the default santa that the child will look like the most the black one? I don’t get the one drop rule, I really don’t.

    Your child should be able to associate with both halfs that make up his mixup, not just the black one. For that, I think a white Santa would be equally as good.

    • MammaSweetpea

      I agree completely. I am a POC, and I grew up with the white Santa, and it did me no harm. I believe that some things in life should represent other races and colours, but I don’t see why it’s anti-black to have a white Santa.
      I lived in an apartment, and even though we “know” Santa comes down the chimney I still got my presents. I never asked any questions about how, I just assumed that as Santa he found his way in. As long as Santa comes, I don’t see why kids should need his colour changed.

  • Holly Hayes

    This only doesn’t make sense to ADULTS. I guarantee you that a child who believes in a man that can visit seven billion homes in twelve hours using flying reindeer will also believe that he can make himself look different to different people. Adults are teaching children this bullshit.

  • Pingback: Mom Says Her Biracial Child Will Have a Black Santa | MommyNoireMommyNoire

  • Unhappy Gilmore

    Well, I see you found another way (who could forget your “I’m terrified of raising my black son in this world” ) to use your biracial kids to remain “relevant”

  • Whoever you want

    It’s not the fact that he’s black, it’s the obvious racism associated with wanting to change him from being white. OP explicitly hints at her own racism when stating, “In a country that is moving away from the white majority”. Saint Nick is a traditional cultural icon for a lot of Americans, and has been for a long time. Yes, we may have changed him to the pale skinned blue-eyed version; but many Americans associate him with the golden years of America and wish to hold on to that. Why does traditional american culture, culture from the years when America received unquestioned respect and admiration around the world, have to change to please those that don’t wish to represent it? The fact is that many traditional Americans, a lot of wish who we’re open to immigration and the idea of letting those persecuted in other countries be a part of our great country feel slighted by those who were helped, populated by other cultures who had no wish to assimilate, but rather perpetuate their own cultures and to change Americas, while leeching off of that which was accumulated by previous generations, and contributing very little, while trying to justify it! The arrogance! How does the saying go? “If you let the fox sleep in your hen-house, he’s going to eat all your chickens.” If you wish to represent another culture, go to a country where the status quo accepts that culture. Don’t try to change American culture to suit you, where does that entitlement come from? Would you go to North Korea and try to change their culture because it offends you, how about asking for the people to change Kim Jong Sun’s picture to that of a white man? Unfortunately, as we’re seeing, America is just a shell of infrastructure without the values and traditions that powered it. Everything has gotten and is getting progressively worse (No pun intended), and it’s because the bitter destroyers are successfully dissembling our culture, while offering nothing positive to replace it with.