Hell naaaaw! Please don’t tell me that you have one of those huge blow up Santas in your front yard, I teased while laughing hysterically. I was talking to one of my old college friends who had just relayed that he was outside rehanging some Christmas lights that had fallen down outside of his house and was adding air to “the Santa.”
“I have young kids,” he said defending himself. Your kids are older, Randi. It’s different.”
“Boy, this ain’t got nothin to do with age. Them blow-up Christmas decorations are just plain tacky. I’m sorry. Even though we are close, you know I’d secretly report your ass to the Home Owners Association if I lived in your neighborhood,” I replied, still cracking up and thoroughly enjoying teasing my friend.
“That’s cold,” he laughed good-naturedly. “
Picturing my friend in the yard trying to blow up this big Santa only made me laugh harder as we continued to go back-and-forth, but then something in the image of his yard made me pause. I had never seen one of those blow-up Santas that was Black.
“Is the blow-up, Santa, Black,” I questioned.
“Whaaaaaat?! Your Santa is tacky aaaaaannnd not Black?! You lost your style and your wokeness since college, my brother? What happened?” I said still laughing but with a graver tone. “Santa, Jesus, the Angels, everything in my house is Black. I then, though what my friend puts at his house is none of my business, went on to outline for him why the Blow-up Santa’s race matters.
- His Children Are Black (as is he).
Representation matters. Unquestionably, the media’s portrayal of White people as good and minorities as bad has been proven to have a direct effect on how children see themselves. The school system (private and public schools) primarily teach a curriculum focused on White history, authors, artists, and that puts White behavior in a positive light. The news is completely slanted to highlight Black crime and minimize, hide or excuse crimes committed by White people. How does a Black child see the goodness and possibility in themselves and in other Black people if every hero they see: superheroes in movies, Princes and princesses in fairytales, and Santa is White? To many elementary age children, Santa is their biggest hero. Won’t the impression that White people are superior be fortified if the most magical hero is represented as White?
- The Diversity Argument is Mute
I’m not saying that there can’t be a White Santa (or angels or nativity scenes) any more than I would suggest that there shouldn’t be a Black James Bond, or an Asian romantic lead, or a female CEO. Diversity is a beautiful; however, using a Black Santa (and other Black figures) is actually promoting diversity, not taking away from it. The key element of diversity is that all cultures are represented and celebrated (particularly by oneself). Why shouldn’t Black people celebrate their Blackness? Why shouldn’t, when it’s in our control, be Black? How many White people do you know who have Black Santas, Black Nativity scenes, and angels at their homes?
My friend and I talked about the Black Santa situation for a bit longer and then went on to other subjects. In the scope of things: his Black Santa is no big deal. But in my crib: Silent Night is sung by the Temptations, Michael Jackson is the one who saw his mommy kissing Santa Claus; Honey-Baked Ham will be served; and our Santa will always be Black.
Peace & Love to You this holiday season.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more