Apparently, too many people out there still don't read Augoeides, which is a real shame. Back in 2013, I covered this very same topic when Megyn Kelly of Fox News tried to explain that both Jesus and Santa were white men. Which, as I'll get to in a minute here, is just plain wrong.
So the latest stupidity surrounding this issue comes from a bunch of racist morons making a fuss about the Mall of America, right here in the Twin Cities, hiring a black man to play Santa Claus. Which, according to racists assholes on the Internet, is Just Not Right.
Three years after Fox’s Megyn Kelly definitively explained to America that both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus were white men, Mall of America dismissed her advice and hired Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas to spend four days at the mall listening to the wish lists of children of all colors.
According to the editorial editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, comments on black Santa became so offensive the paper shut down their online comments on the article about it.
“Looks like we had to turn comments off on story about Mall of America’s first black Santa. Merry Christmas everyone!” Scott Gillespie wrote.
That didn’t stop people whose world was rocked by a non-white Santa from finding other venues to rage against the Claus, including Twitter and other comment sections.
As has become all too common when conservatives are offended, a boycott has been called for, with Peter Morgan on CBS Minnesota writing, “Stupid. Incredibly stupid. Santa is WHITE. BOYCOTT Mall of America. Maybe they should change their name to MALL of RAGHEAD LAND.”
I'd like to be able to say that I had no idea such deep prejudice existed, but since I read the Internet I don't have that luxury. The whole "controversy" is still pretty idiotic, though, and here's why.
There are basically two arguments that can be made regarding the origin of Santa Claus. The first is that he was based on Saint Nicholas of Myrna, a fourth-century Greek bishop of Middle Eastern descent. That is, he was not a white European. He wasn't a black African either, but according to the history a white Santa is just as wrong as a black one. So no, there shouldn't be anything wrong with a black Santa, as the tradition of white Santas has already erased Saint Nicholas' original ethnic identity.
The second argument concerns our more recent American incarnation of Santa Claus, which was created by Macy's department store in the 1920s to get people to buy more toys. Given this origin, I find it pretty amazing that anything spiritual at all grew up around this commercialized tradition, which is entirely separate from anything historical. The thing is, Macy's department store is one of the anchor tenants at the Mall of America, so if we're going this route, it seems to me that since Macy's created the modern Santa, they should be able to hire anybody they want.
So one takeaway from this story is simple - read more Augoeides! As we all can see, when people don't, history just has a tendency to repeat itself. The other, more important takeaway, though, is that there is a sizeable group of white folks out there who fear losing their special snowflake status over token gestures. It's not like the Mall refused to hire any white Santas. They just hired one black one, which shouldn't upset anybody.