"That's Not the Real Santa!"
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had many interesting conversations with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I found myself saying, "I'm going to write a post about that" on more than one occasion. During one particular exchange, one of my aunts told me about her two grandkids who were going to see Santa Claus for the very first time. At the tender ages of three and five, this was understandably a very big deal. They walked up to Santa's post in the center of the local mall, with what I'm sure were long lists of wishes and requests. They laid eyes on the jolly man in the red suit and asked...
"Where's the real Santa?!"
The Santa that they had come to see happened to be black. Dunn, dunn, dunn...
Children, are from a very early age, indoctrinated with the idea that Santas are white. This can prove to be a very complicated situation for black parents in relation to having to explain race to an adolescent.
Bill Cosby proved this quite hilariously in a memorable episode of the hit television series. His feeble attempt at explaining the many races of Santa was hilarious.
Now my Caucasian friends, you may be confused as to why this is even an issue at all. I mean Santa is just Santa right? White. Black. Who cares? Let me delve a little deeper: Here you have a warm and wonderful character that was created and perpetuated in the Caucasian community that we [as African Americans] have adopted for our own. We don't have a character like this in our community, and if we did, it wouldn't be this widely commercialized. This poses an interesting conundrum as a black parent.
I may get some angry comments, but I'm confused myself as to whether or not the Santa Claus "story" will be told and observed at all in my own household. (He is, after all, a made up character - just like Cinderella or Shrek.) I remember being heartbroken when a fellow classmate told me that he wasn't real. Oh the outrage... But I'm going off topic. To have to explain Santa Claus in and of itself seems difficult enough; then to be a black parent and have to explain and justify Santa's race... well that just seems impossible. Does Santa Claus or his race really even matter? What do you think Technorati readers?