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December 25th, 2013
07:53 AM ET

The racial dilemma of a 'White Christmas'

After FOX's Megyn Kelly made some controversial remarks about 'Black Santa', the race of the man in the red suit has been debated all over social media. CNN's Kyung Lah visited a popular black Santa in a south Los Angeles mall to answer the question, does it matter if Santa is white or black?

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Filed under: Carol Costello
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Frederick Bronson

    Santa is white, the real man that started the Santa was from Denmark I believe.

    December 25, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  2. Veryladylike

    Santa can be purple if we'd like. I don't care about the real man because the real man didn't fly in a sled with reindeer. It's fiction. When I was an AA child (but old enough not to believe in Santa anymore) I wondered why Santa was always portrayed as a white man. Why not someone who looked more like the people I knew? Also the cute little cherubs and angels are usually depicted with white skin. Pretty dolls and models didn't look like me. Maybe it was for mass appeal, but growing up right after the civil rights movement we all knew that as far as marketing was concerned, white = good and black = bad. Some of this still holds true to this day (Cherrios commercial backlash) And it's important to me that someone else doesn't get to decide what my Santa is supposed to look like. He can be a frog in a red suit if that's what makes you happy. And if I were white, I would think of my Santa as white too Megyn Kelly.

    December 25, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  3. Varsitymom7

    Macy's in New York has had Santa's of every nationality for years. When we took my daughter as a young child to see him we were directed to a black Santa. Trust me when I say children do not see color...all she saw was Santa! To infer that only this mall has Santa's of other ethnic backgrounds shows that they really don't do a lot of prep work prior to a story and are only looking for the "feel good " aspect. Makes you wonder what they are leaving out on hard core stories.

    December 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  4. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    When children go to see Santa they don't care what color he is. They just expect a jolly man with a beard in his red suit to listen to their requests and dreams. Children don't look at the color of someone's skin like a negative opinionated reporter would.

    December 26, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  5. 7survivor12

    See that's just the thing about people they pick the wrong arguments to target. For example, the whole Santa ordeal! The pigmentation of his skin doesn't matter. In fact he's a mythical character to fit the season of Christmas just like others that coincide with their holidays. Like the Easter bunny or cupid. I'm not following the big deal. It's all in pursuit of tradition and entertainment. Even the tooth fairy. All mythical people we've never actually seen but depicted into our existence as how they should look. Somebody just sat down and added an image to the story being told. Come on people pick your battles a little better. Stop being so quick to judge an icon of television if they mess up. They are but human too and are entitled to their opinions. Think before pointing the finger or playing the blame game.

    December 26, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  6. cmcgill1

    Santa Claus is the color of your mother or father!

    December 27, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  7. Lee

    I'm sorry, I tend to support anything involving civil rights stuff and whatnot, but this is going a little far lol. Christmas has been the way it was for years now. Don't come in and change everything just because you read too much into the word "white". If there's a black mall Santa, great, whats the problem? What I do have a problem with is all this nonsense about how Santa shouldn't be just white. I'm sorry, but the skin color of ones race tends to come from ADAPTATION. If Santa's ancestors were depicted and they came from the equator fine, great, but he's "from" the north pole. If you wanna be all "he should be this race", then he should be Inuit technically. You can have your black Jesus, but give me a break on the Santa thing. Celebrate Kwanzaa then if you think the white in white Christmas is all about race.

    December 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  8. Albert Leo

    After how Christianity was used for centuries to justify slavery and Jim Crow segregation, it always amazes me how Black America has adopted it.

    December 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  9. moonlightlady339

    It's "White Christmas" because of SNOW turkeys! There is nothing racist about it. No one cares if Santa is Black, if Christ was a Jew, if Rudolph had a RED nose. No one except "journalists" who have nothing better to come up with than a silly idea that somehow "White Christmas" would be racist, and again, people...it's "snow", okay?

    December 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  10. Ted Ward

    So it's ok then to have a white James Brown, Nelson Mandela, or Bill Cosby.

    December 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  11. Chuck

    I can accept a Black Santa, but forget about a Black Jesus,
    that is just a lie, you don't get African out of Caucasian

    December 30, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  12. valerie

    Let's see, bethlehem is in the middle east and mary was a young girl from egypt, that makes jesus white how?

    December 30, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  13. southerncelt

    Once upon a time... 4th Century to be specific there was a Greek born Bishop of Myra (southern Turkey today) named Nicholas, good name for a Greek. One Christmas Eve in the 4th Century, Bishop Nicholas was hearing confessions when a man walked into his confessional and confessed he was going to sell his eldest daughter into prostitution to feed the rest of his family. Of course the Bishop could not condone this so the man left. Later that night Bishop Nicholas went to the man;s open window and tossed a bag of gold through the window so the need to sell his daughter was eliminated. For this and many other good and holy works, Bishop Nicholas became Saint Nicholas with Dec. 6 as his feast Day on the Church Calendar. It was customary to give children gifts on his feast day. When the popularity of this came to the Germanic speaking lands. Saint became Sint and Nicholas became Klaus. In Dutch he became Sinter Klass. Anglicization turned Sinter Klass into Santa Claus and commercialization took care of the rest. So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but his real name is Saint Nicholas.

    December 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  14. ParkNuts

    @southerncelt You believe that story? Try reading more refined literature. You don't use a horse and buggy manual to fix your chevy and the bible is not the correct manual to reference for just about any situation, including new age Christmas which is so loosely affiliated to christianity it's ridiculous.

    December 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  15. Tutuvabene

    CNN, come on. Before you presented this story, the pairing of the phrase "White Christmas" and a race issue never even crossed my mind. Your organization is creating news, not reporting it. Bing Crosby must be spinning in his grave.

    December 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  16. DashVader

    Santa Claus is based on several European myths and a couple real European people, so he in fact would be white.

    December 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  17. candros

    Seriously? All this 21st century racism is created by the Media and Politicians. My very white (blonde, blue eyes, honor student, Catholic) 9th grade daughter plays Varsity Basketball in high school. The coaches and 90% of the other players are black. My child, the coaches, and ALL of the other players are color blind as to who is white and who is black. Are the black girls more comfortable with each other? Yes. Are the white girls more comfortable with each other? Yes. But they all treat each other the same. If not for the color of skin, I would not notice ANY division. THE MEDIA MAKES THIS STUFF UP.

    January 1, 2014 at 9:03 am |
  18. Ruthann Adamsky

    Jesus was a Jew; by definition, not white.

    January 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
  19. brain

    not even worth commenting on – racism being perpetuated by the media SUCKS as much as the Klan ever did – maybe worse..

    January 3, 2014 at 8:04 am |
  20. Twistedpenny

    So let's make a movie about The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and have Tom Hanks play the lead role. What would happen then?

    January 4, 2014 at 6:31 am |
  21. AndyDaniel

    The really funny part of all this (as occasionally mentioned by other posters?) Santa Claus was not even part of Christmas originally (and STILL isn't in some part of the world). When my parents grew up in Hungary, St. Nick came on December 6th (his feast day) to give small gifts, (like candy) if you were good. Baby Jesus came on Dec 24th with xmas gifts. Totally different holidays.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Santa as we know him originated from Northern Germanic folklore, therefore, he is most decidedly white. The original Saint he was loosely based off of was Greek (decide whether you want to consider that white or not), although nothing else of the folklore really resembles him (other than gift giving). Jesus came from the Israel area, therefore was most likely an olive skinned Mediterranean. Any questions? Or, do we want to start a debate on whether Buddha should be portrayed as a white or black woman, for equality's sake?

    January 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
  23. glenda

    Santa can be any color anybody wants.

    January 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
  24. Erik

    Ruthann, you are ignorant. Jewish is a religion, not a race...get educated. There are black jews, arab jews, caucasion jews....you can convert from Jewish to other religions and from other religions to Jewish....you cannot do that with race.....

    January 9, 2014 at 9:17 am |
  25. Harry Kuheim

    Obama, Dems , and CNN won't be happy until the Bing Crosby Hit White Christmas is banned...

    January 11, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
  26. Noelle B.

    Santa is a white man from the North pole who is fat, jolly, and whose belly shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly! There is no black Santa – sorry kids. You'll just have to deal with the fact that Santa is white. All of a sudden, this white Santa is not good enough. Then give all your presents back that he's given you your whole life.

    January 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
  27. Tim

    Santa is White. If the truth hurts, then let there be pain... accept the truth and get over it.

    January 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  28. Felix Sinclair

    Freedom of my religion, yessir! Freedom of your religion, not so much.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:43 am |
  29. igaftr

    Who cares, black, white what difference does it make.
    All this really shows is that Megyn Fox is a white supremacist and also a christian supremacist.
    Her opinion is worthless.

    January 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  30. igaftr

    sorry, correction...Megyn Kelly, not fox.

    January 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
  31. Perk

    What is Race Based Discipline coming soon to a Public School near you ?

    January 16, 2014 at 9:26 am |
  32. Spudmom

    To all of you stating children don't see skin color – that is correct. Judging people by their race/ethnicity/religion is learned from the parents, family members and extended family.

    January 16, 2014 at 10:08 am |
  33. derek

    CNN picked up a small story about Kelly joking about Santa and attempted to hurt her rating because CNN is so far behind and losing viewers. Very PATHETIC.

    January 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  34. Wayne

    Santa is an idea or symbol and is colorless! Tasteless examples 1) White Santa choking=purple 2) White Santa on fire=charcoal 3) White Santa with jaundis=yellow See all are Santa its the gifting that is the capitalists message which should worry us!

    January 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  35. Joy

    Santa is not even real! Why would we incite even more racial feuding/hatred by debating the color of a character that doesn't even exist?

    January 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm |

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