The premise of Black Santas caused a fuss 10 years ago — now, they’re everywhere


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By Marc J. Franklin

Ten years ago, all anyone could talk for a solid week about whether Santa could be non-white. Or perhaps even a penguin. (NBC News / Youtube / Getty Images)

Aisha Harris had no idea of the uproar she would create when she recommended the Christmas Penguin.

Ten years ago, the writer and journalist published a lighthearted viral essay titled “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” in which she questioned the ubiquity of white Santa imagery.

“America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies,” Harris wrote. “Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?” In fact, she suggests, a Christmas Penguin can represent the holiday instead of a person.

The backlash was swift, especially after anchor Megyn Kelly responded to the piece on her Fox News show “The Kelly File.” “This is so ridiculous, yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,” Kelly said. “And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.”


A decade later, though, in an increasingly racially diverse country where about 40% of the population identifies as a person of color, multiracial or nonwhite, the idea of what St. Nick can look like has only expanded. Not just for families who make sure to break out the Black Santa decor this time of year. Nonwhite Santas appear in popular culture, at the center of malls throughout the Christmas season and on holiday products everywhere.

For instance, in some Macy’s stores, known for their elaborate seasonal “Santaland” experience, shoppers can choose to meet Black Santa, white Santa or a Spanish-speaking Santa.

NBC has the full article.

Other fictitious characters have come under fire for being Black.

Find more breaking Black news.

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