Okay, okay, it’s still Advent for three more weeks. But it’s December, and you know what that means: it’s time for ridiculous controversies over things which would never bother a reasonable person in the least. The primary example of this is the so-called war on Christmas about which I’ve already blustered. But the belief in a War on Christmas forces us into so many dirty little trenches, lobbing gas grenades at so many other little trenches, it would be a shame to not examine some of the trenches on an individual basis. Cover me, I’m going over the top.
This year, we’re back to being offended over the race of Santa Claus.
Controversy over the race of Santa Claus first became a thing a few years ago, to my knowledge, when the lovely Megyn Kelly was angry that people doubted that Santa was white. “But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids,” she famously stammered to any children young and idealistic enough to believe in Santa yet jaded enough to watch Fox News. She honestly thought that Santa was a white person, and that it was worthy of public, televised outrage by grown-ups on a news show that anyone would think he shouldn’t be. She did walk back her statements later, to be fair, but that seems to be what got the ball rolling.This year, they’re at it again. The Mall of America hired its very first African-American Santa impersonator, an actor and a veteran named Larry Jefferson. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran a nice story about the hiring, and that should have been that. This happened Minnesota in late 2016, not Montgomery, Alabama in 1950. There is no way anyone should have exclaimed about Jefferson’s hiring except to squeal that he looks really, really adorable in that Santa costume, way better than the mall Santas I’ve seen in my neck of the woods. He looks regal. He should be posing for Coke ads and Christmas cards in that suit.
Of course, that’s not the sentiment that filled the Star-Tribune’s combox. Instead, there was so much racist trolling that they had to close comments. People were outraged and threatened to boycott the mall, because “Santa is white.”
I don’t feel like I should have to say this, you guys, but apparently I do. Hide any children reading this who are young and idealistic enough to believe in Santa, but jaded enough to be reading Patheos blogs. Stop scrolling until they’re out of the room.
All clear? Click “continue.”