What color was Santa Claus?

Dear Editor,

The white-washing of Santa Claus for starters (spoiler alert) Santa Claus is an imaginary character, not real. The jolly guy in the goofy red suit is an American icon of popular culture. Although portrayed as magical, he’s mythical. The Santa story is a fabled fairy tale – not true. A lavish legendary yarn. The roly-poly male with the white beard is a fictional character. Flying reindeer, a toy manufacturing center at the North Pole, and hardworking elves – not real. Mrs. Claus is imaginary as well. Santa is modeled after St. Nick, a real man, but what was the color of the bishop’s skin and does it matter?

Eventually I asked my father what Santa really looked like. Was he brown, like us? Or was he really a white guy? My father replied that Santa was every color. Whatever house he visited, jolly old St. Nicholas magically turned into the likeness of the family that lived there. www.slate.com. Let’s revisit the landmark 1954 civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. Researchers questioned small children using a black doll and a white doll to measure perceptions about race. The tool measured attitudes about what color has to do with being (“pretty” or “good”) or (“ugly” or “bad”).

The “Doll Test” was cited by the Supreme Court in support of its conclusion that segregation harmed the psyches of black children. And anti-black racism is internalized by young black children. Former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly (all Caucasian) spoke out to proclaim and defend a traditional white-skinned Santa. Folks, Santas are not a real person.

My list of solutions:

1. Make Santa’s skin the colors of the rainbow.
2. Stop lying to kids about Santa being real and do away with him
3. Be inclusive and respectful of an African-American Santa, a Hispanic Santa, an Asian Santa, a Native American Santa, a multiracial Santa or a Santa Claus of any color, race, ethnicity, culture.

White families can still visit their white Santa at the mall; however they need to zip their lips when families of other skin colors choose to visit their Santa of color. And stop telling white children that Santa is only white-skinned. Santa can be any color of skin because Santa is not a real person. And Santa can represent can represent all human beings. Racism in our celebration of the Christmas holiday needs to end in the USA and in other countries.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist.