Our View: Focus on spirit of Santa, not color

December 21, 2013 

Yes, Megyn, there is a Santa Claus, but he’s not a white guy.

Neither is he exclusively black, brown, tan or any other color.

He’s all of the above — depending on who’s doing the wishing.

Megyn Kelly begs to differ. The Fox News anchor, in response to writer Aisha Harris, recently asserted on air that Santa is indisputably white.

Harris, who’s black, wrote about wondering as a child why Santa was always shown as a white man to the exclusion of other ethnicities. She suggested changing him to, wrong polar cap aside, a penguin.

Taking umbrage, Kelly started an only-in-America kerfuffle. Carols and Christmas cheer may have drowned out the squawking before long, but then a New Mexico high school teacher had to open his big, biased mouth.

During a school holiday costume event, the teacher reportedly told a black freshman in a Santa outfit that he couldn’t be Santa because, obviously, the big guy’s white.

According to his father, the embarrassed boy now loathes the holiday.

And so, because of a narrow-minded jerk — or, to give the benefit of doubt, one with a terrible sense of humor — a child’s Christmas has been ruined.

That’s cause for real anger.

To be sure, we’re not sold on the idea of St. Nick suddenly waddling around living rooms as a chubby, rosy-cheeked penguin.

But we think there’s room for flexibility when it comes to his appearance. After all, he started out as a Greek priest in southern Turkey about 1,700 years ago, and since then, has gone through various permutations over the centuries to reach his current jolly self.

Why can’t someone who circles the globe in one night, squeezing into all sorts of homes, also be multicultural, changing his ethnicity for different children? He’s all things to all people, not bound to reality and European custom any more than his reindeer are to gravity.

Ask any child who believes: He’s more than just a fat man stretching a red suit.

He’s hope and joy and innocence, the stuff of sugar plum dreams.

In no way should he become fodder for our mortal culture wars. He’s above all that — and not just because he likes traveling at a decent cruising altitude.

Drag him down to our level, and you run the risk of coal-filled stockings.

Children like the New Mexico boy deserve better than our petty squabbles. They need more people focused on the spirit Santa embodies instead of his body itself.

Last time we checked, happiness has no color.

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