Saturday, December 14, 2013

Everybody wants to believe everyone ought to be just like themselves

Megyn Kelly, the blonde babe news anchor for Fox News Channel, is getting more than her share of ridicule on the Internet these days for her statement on air this week that both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were white.

Believe it or not, I’m not about to join in the abuse. Yes, it’s a nonsense-thought to have when you think about it.

YET I DON’T doubt that many a person just perceives things this way. It’s that instinct amongst us that everybody has to be just like us. Otherwise, maybe it means there’s something wrong with themselves.

That is what makes the modern-day reality of the 21st Century in our society so scary for some – we’re not all alike. Nor should we have to be.

We’re at a point where we ought to quit thinking of the concept of a “Black Santa” as some sort of joke, and maybe a recognition of what we all are. Besides, we all ought to realize that Santa Claus is a Latino, flying around the skies in a sleigh pulled by reindeer fueled with “Magic Dust” (or so said Cheech Marin of the Cheech & Chong comedy team).

For Kelly to want to perceive Santa as a fat old white man is just a realization of who she is. Anybody who’s surprised that she’d think that way is the one I would want to question.

WHAT ELSE WOULD you expect from her?

Actually, my initial reaction when I learned of Kelly’s comments (which were in response to a commentary published at the website and written by a black woman who wrote about being confused as a child because Santa in her house was black, while he was white everywhere else) was to recall a moment from my own college days.

One day in a class where we were engaged in a conversation either about Aristotle or Plato (I’m not sure exactly which one), somebody made a comment in support of the philosopher and referred to his “Christian” values.

To which the professor tried to hold back a laugh when he explained that the philosopher in question was not of any religious faith that could be called “Christian.”

THAT STATEMENT PROVOKED a debate amongst the students that took up the entire rest of the class session.

“Of course he’s Christian,” some students said. “We wouldn’t study him if he weren’t Christian,” others wanted to believe. “He’s a good person, so he has to be Christian,” was also heard.

There were some students who were not in agreement, and even tried arguing back that the words “Christian” and “good” and “moral” were not necessarily synonymous with each other.

Not that any of the initial group wanted to hear of it.

PERSONALLY, I RECALL that day in class as one of the most humorous moments of my academic life. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that others probably viewed it as some sort of moment when they were exposed to subversive thought.

Just like I’m sure that some people probably want to view the idea of a non-White Santa Claus as violating everything they want to believe about our society.

I ultimately came to realize that “Santa Claus” is about a concept – one of sharing and giving, which is what the upcoming Christmas holiday can be at its finest. (At its worst, it’s nothing more than a greedy gift grab – but that’s a commentary for another day).

If some people feel the need to believe that “sharing” and “giving” are concepts only relevant to themselves, then perhaps they’re saying more about their own hang-ups, and we should pity them for being so close-minded.

BESIDES, DIDN’T THE whole concept of Santa Claus and Jesus being either “white” or “black” get resolved all those decades ago by the “Archie Bunker” and “Henry Jefferson” characters on “All in the Family.”

At least when actor Carroll O’Connor’s Bunker character persisted in claiming that both Jesus and Santa were white, he was just going for a cheap laugh!


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