Get over it: Jesus and Santa are White

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   12/16/13
Some people want to give Fox News’s Megyn Kelly a lump of coal for Christmas after she remarked on Wednesday that Jesus and Santa Claus were white and that those who had a problem with it should just get over it. Well, I’m making a list and checking it twice, and I can tell you that, in this case, Kelly’s critics are naughty and Kelly is nice.

That is to say, you critics, you will have to get over it because Jesus and Santa are white. It’s really not a hard matter to sort out, either.

We should first be clear on what the various racial classifications actually are. Anthropologists generally define only three, and sometimes four, races. They are Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid (Asian) — and Australoid would be the fourth. And especially relevant here are Caucasoid’s subgroups: Aryans, Hamites and Semites.

So as far as Jesus goes, the answer should already be clear. Assuming He was Semitic — which isn’t disputed too much — He was white. And, yes, Arabs and Persians are technically white as well.

As for Santa, it’s also a slam dunk, as all the possible sources of his tradition involve white figures, whether real or fictional. The most common one, Saint Nicholas, was a fourth-century Christian bishop of what was then Myra, in Lycia, Anatolia, but is now part of Turkey. Of course, one could point out that Turks are mainly Caucasoid with a bit of Mongoloid influence, but even that’s deceptive. Anatolia was Christian and Greek in the fourth century and part of the Roman Empire, and Saint Nicholas was a Greek. As for other possible Santa influences, such as Germanic paganism, Odin and Father Christmas, they are all European and, again, involve white characters.

Personally, I’m sick and tired of people trying to revise our culture. You have to be hung up worse than a Christmas stocking to want to question Jesus’ and Santa’s race in the first place and a mighty dim bulb to not be able to figure out what it most certainly was. And, really, what we’re seeing here are people who want it both ways. While these critics dislike Western culture on an emotional level, they’re nonetheless emotionally attached to certain elements of it (I apply this only to Santa; I wouldn’t limit Jesus by defining Him as part of only a certain culture). So they want to co-opt those elements and remake them in a politically correct image.

Look, you leftists, if you don’t like our culture, there’s a whole diverse world out there offering a smorgasbord of possibilities. Heck, some of it even hates our culture almost as much as you do.  So follow your hearts, and if they take you where they apparently already are — away from the US — don’t let the door hit ya’ on the way out.
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3 Responses to Get over it: Jesus and Santa are White

  1. faba calculo says:

    I’m down with you on Santa originally being white, but so what? Does that mean he can only be portrayed as white? If some non-white guy (or, hell, gal) wants to dress up as Santa, go for it.

    On the topic of Jesus, however, you are on far shakier ground. I was very surprised to see your claim that all three of the biblical subdivisions of humanity (Semitic, Hamitic, and Japhetic) refer to Caucasians. In my understanding, only the Japhetic people were identified with Caucasians (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japhetites) in modern ethnology, while Hamitic people are identified with blacks. That was, in fact, one of the justifications for slavery: Noah’s son Ham allegedly saw and made fun of a drunk and naked Noah, causing Noah to lay a curse on him and his descendants to the effect that they would be the servants of Japheth and Shem (the other two sons and the founders of the Japhetic and Semitic lines, respectively). Hence, it was OK to keep black slaves, since it was just the curse of Ham playing itself out, and therefore God said it was OK. (No, this isn’t a dig at Christianity as they were also major powerhouses on the side of abolition…it’s a demonstration of what people have general been referred to as “Hamitic”.) Thus, the whole Semitic, Japhetic, Hamitic thing plays against the view that Jesus was Caucasian. (Not that this is a particularly big deal, as the Semitic/Japhetic/Hamitic school of ethnography doesn’t appear to be in much use these days.

    Now, “Caucasian” is a somewhat elastic term, and certainly many Ashkenazi Jews would appear to fit the bill, and, likely so to some of the Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews (i.e., Jews of the Middle East), whom Jesus, I would guess, most resembled. So, if you’re content to collect up Arabs in your definition of whites along with Europeans, then I would suppose that the Sephardi/Mizrahi would make the cut as well. But any definition that is so broad as to cover Arabs is probably too broad to cut out much more than sub-Saharan Africans and east Asians.

    Note, all this has rarely been much of a barrier for Jesus. Around the world he is almost universally depicted as looking like the people of that area. In Japanese churches (such as exist) he looks Japanese. In sub-Saharan Africa, he’s depicted as being black. And in the US, he’s often appeared to be a blue-eyed Caucasian.

    And if that’s good enough for Jesus, I don’t see why Santa would complain.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’m down with you on Santa originally being white, but so what? Does that mean he can only be portrayed as white? If some non-white guy (or, hell, gal) wants to dress up as Santa, go for it.

      I agree. And I think a white guy ought to be able to portray Martin Luther King, Jr. as well.

      But as for the bulk of this article, I think we probably ought to see Jesus as a Jew and Santa as being from the race called homo-cocacola. That’s the real image of Santa for me.

  2. Kurt NY says:

    The ethnicity of both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus are irrelevant. It seems pretty obvious that Christ, being pre-Diaspora Jewish, and St Nicholas from pre-Turkish Asia Minor both were Caucasian (so it seems silly to argue the point), but that has as much relevance to their significance as their shoe size or hair color.

    Seems to me that, whatever the specific characteristics of their physical bodies on Earth, both characters belong to whatever culture/ethnicity accepts their function. If African or Asian Christians feel more comfortable portraying Christ as looking like them, I doubt very much if God would be any more upset with them than He would have been when Europeans portrayed him as Northern European in appearance rather than Semitic. Christ came to Earth for us all and his actual physical appearance seems a trivial thing to argue over. And, regardless of his derivation from an historical personage, the Western concept of Santa Claus is complete myth anyway so who cares.

    The whole controversy seems more an indictment of the race-centric worldview of our cultural elites than anything else.

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