Aisha Harris, one of Slate’s experts in the field of everything being racist, describes feeling “insecurity and shame” over Santa’s race.
Two decades later, America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?
Not to mention female Santa, disabled Santa and transgendered Santa. But Aisha Harris has a perfectly reasonable solution.
I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin…
Making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood…
That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).
Santa is the new/old face of white privilege. But what is Aisha Harris planning to do about Jesus, since this is Christmas after all? Replace him with a penguin?
And once we’re on a penguin kick, why not replace the Founding Fathers with penguins to avoid the pernicious idea that the American default is white. To balance things out, we’ll also replace Martin Luther King with a penguin.
We can’t stop there.
There are still more white people than black people in this country. Even with birth rate demographics, it’s going to take a while until the vast majority of adults are non-white. Until that day comes, the government can mandate that everyone buy and wear penguin masks.
Everyone likes penguins. As long as they’re not albino penguins.