Close your eyes and picture Frosty the Yellow Snowman.
So, a friend of mine posted a picture with the intent of ridiculing a “news” woman. Megyn Kelly of Fox “news” presented a reaction to an article(essay) by an African American woman who was upset that Santa was portrayed as a white man while she was growing up. This infuriates me.
Growing up as an Atheist Indian in a Hindu household that truly celebrated and embraced the true meaning of Christmas, I too was presented with Santa as a fat white man. And let me tell you, it didn’t matter to Santa what my skin color was or what his skin color was or that I was an atheist and that he was imaginary. The claim that there was a magical and good white man didn’t make me think that there were no real and good Indian men. It didn’t make me equate whiteness and goodness or whiteness and generosity. Santa didn’t even make me think Christians were generous people and atheists were horrible. Let there be no doubt, Santa was a living presence in my house because a bunch of Christian white supremacists invaded a land and exploited it for its resources and people for 350 years and infiltrated the education system with mythology to assist in the brainwashing.
It must be because I faced no discrimination growing up. None at all. It didn’t affect me at all that I was just about the lightest colored child in my class photos until 2nd grade and the darkest colored kid after that. This is an extremely slight exaggeration. At the time I graduated, there were 1-2 black children in my high school, 4-5 Asians and 3-4 other Indians. It was a small school of only about 800 students, so you go ahead and do the math. You try and figure out what I went through and imagine what it was like to grow up in that environment.
You ever hear the saying kids can be cruel? They are not. They are honest. They are uneducated. They truly do not understand. I was faced with questions I had not contemplated. I contemplated questions I was not faced with. To say it was tough would be a gross misunderstanding of reality. It was incredibly difficult, but I am extremely proud to say that I became part of how those kids saw the world.
There was a 7th grade science class that was particularly cruel. I will never ever forget that. I also had a moment at the end of High School where the face of that torture, the little blonde girl who had a lisp in that 7th grade class room told me I was the lucky one, because I didn’t “care about what people thought of me.” I grew detached and inward in large part because someone had taught her to be cruel in 7th grade and she was jealous of the result. She was intelligent and beautiful, involved in athletics and cheerleading. She was a very outgoing person and I had alot of respect for her. Her courage in pulling me aside and speaking her truth was inspiring and that brief exchange is something I carry with me as an example of how two people can truly change one another.
So, say what you will about how I cannot understand the impact of slavery on a people and then go read about the Indian occupation by England. Tell me I do not understand civil rights and equality and then go read who MLK looked to as an inspiration. Tell me I do not understand structural racism and how it shapes who you become and then look at my life.
All of that aside, I too, firmly insist that Santa be portrayed as a jolly old white man. He will be such in my house for the rest of my life. I posted an entry a few days back about how important and real Santa is to me. And when I bundle up all of that energy that I attribute to Santa, the package is white and since I am not a racist, I have no need to change his skin tone. I’ve heard the arguments for Black Santa. And I absolutely understand that none of the angels have skin, so they don’t have skin color.
The Grinch is green. Reindeer are brown. Rudolph’s nose is red. Frosty the snowman is white. So is Santa. When you teach your children that color matters, you teach your children that color matters. When you teach your children that color doesn’t exist, you have to answer questions like “Why was Harvey Dent black in the 1989 movie and white in the comic books and every other movie ever made?” When you teach your children that color just is, you actually answer the question, “How can we all look so different and live in a world together without fighting or hating?”
So to all of you that are pushing the hatred of Megyn Kelly, I beg you to please stop and look at the world around you. I beg you to embrace the reality of what it means when we say skin color matters enough that we have to change century old stories to account for the shortcomings of the current generations. Teach your children that there are people who will only judge you on how good or bad you are. Teach your children to judge everything on that scale. Cope with your inner demons on the inside and we can, as a people, stop passing them on to the next generation.
Skin color is. Close your eyes and picture Frosty the Yellow Snowman one more time.