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Is Santa white?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
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Merry Old Santa Claus by Thomas Nast, 1863.

Recently Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly sparked controversy when she insisted on air that both Santa Claus and Jesus are white. Some stores like to use black Santas so that children of colour can see someone they can relate to more. The State Library of Queensland recently had a singalong and photo session with Murri Claus, an Aboriginal Santa.

What do you think? Does Santa have to be white? Does it matter?

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If you want to look at origins of Santa Claus, than he is likely Dutch and thus Caucasian. But if Santa is mythical, does it matter what colour his skin is?
I like the idea of being more inclusive, but then why not just popularise the mythical figures of other cultures as equally important, rather than changing this one? Isn't that implying that this cultural tradition is more important?

Santa Claus also if not female. We don't make Santa female to be more inclusive, and I find including Mrs Claus is not 'feminist' or equal representation, but hey look, even Santa has a subservient wife who plays second fiddle to his awesome.

As for Jesus, given his appearance was never given before his death, he was likely unremarkable looking for the time and place he was in, and thus probably Middle Eastern, and tanned darkly from spending a great deal of time out doors. I think he should be depicted, then, as he was to the degree to which that is possible. It might help our culture get over being afraid of Middle Eastern folk.
I agree. Jesus also tends to look a wee bit on the scrawny side in most depictions of him, when you would think as a carpenter he'd be a bit more muscular.
Yes, but he was also a Jewish Ascetic, as far as the studies go, which means he would have fasted often, and likely been very thin.
by tamar
Ah, that's a good point!
That is a great question. I had never really thought about it. The Santas that I have seen have always been white.
Even if some countries celebrate a 'white Christmas' due to their climate. It does not really matter what colour. It may change tradition if santa moves away from his red and white.
That red & white was to make it link in with Coke's corporate colours. Subliminal branding. Santa used to wear green capes etc prior to the '30's....
One thing I know he is suppose to come from the North Pole.
Answer:What colour are people from up North? way way up North.
Well we know mainly white.

As for Jesus...he would have been while on Earth a caramel colour.
Actually, way way up North you get the Inuit and the Aleut (they used to be called Eskimoes), who are not white. But the Santa is a creation of Caucasions so it makes sense for him to be Caucasian too. But I don't quite understand people getting upset if a store wants to employ a black Santa.
Santa is a character from Western culture and a Christian holiday. Historically, this was a white world, so it is only natural that Santa Claus be classified as white. Also the myth of Santa coming from the North Pole indicates that he should be white. I think it is silly to make everything race related. The colour of his skin does not matter.

As for Jesus, he should technically be more of an olive oil or darker colour than white, based on where he was born.
Yep, Jesus certainly wouldn't be the light skinned fellow you see in many depictions of him. In my daughter's Golden Book Children's Bible he is blonde. It's weird.

Re. people up North, well, the Inuits aren't white, but yes, in the place where the myth came from people were.
As noone has ever seen the real Santa (or Father Christmas as I prefer to call him), who knows? As for Jesus......
The Santa we are familiar with was designed by Rockwell for Coca Cola. He used to wear green before that - and be variations of skin colour. So I have no issue with variations, but I am of the Coke Generation, so if you say Santa, that jolly fat fellow in Red & White is who I see...
That's not actually true about Coca Cola creating the modern image of Santa.


The artist who designed that campaign for Coke based his image on earlier illustrations with the same red and white suit. Coke just borrowed and popularised the image.

I have heard a theory that the red and white actually represent the hallucinogenic mushrooms used by Siberian shamans, and that the flying reindeer was to do with the reindeer consuming the mushrooms and tripping. I don't know if it's true but it's interesting.

Rockwell may not have been the first to use red, but he was the one that made the Green cloaked Santa disappear. Green was the most common colour used in illustrations before that.
Well, even as a child I couldn't quite believe in Santa Claus's existence, especially not in South India, where Santa would have experienced heat+humidity perennially. Since Santa(s) I've known or read about are males and originate in North Pole, I've assumed that he is white, for other unknown reasons.
But the real purpose of Santa I've assumed is to set the kids their own annual performance appraisals - yearly judgement day every Xmas - where their behavior through that year is assessed to determine if they're gifted the desired presents or not. And they get to meet the bubbly, loving angel and receive gifts personally from him.
Guess that as an added bonus - he brings along Mrs. Santa (to satisfy gender equality movements) and his smart set of goblins to create a jolly atmosphere for everyone.
In my head, Santa is white. Megyn Kelly is a bit of a silly sam saying that though. I think she forgot that Jesus was from the Middle East. LOL. Could you imagine Americans welcoming an Arab Christ?
by Vee
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