Fox News’ Megyn Kelly took to discussing an article that appeared on Slate earlier this week that suggested, for some compelling reasons, that our modern notion of Santa Claus could benefit from some revision. Kelly’s commentary was closed-minded and not fitting for a news broadcaster.
Aisha Harris’s, the author of the article, argument is that a Santa Claus matching the image of the “white and jolly” St. Nicholas can be confusing for individuals and children of other races. The effect can even be, Harris went so far as to suggest, that a Santa revisited could look a lot more like the magical creature of the south pole: the penguin. The cheekiness was lost on Kelly and crew on The Kelly File and the thinly-veiled racism of Fox News’ all-white discussion panel soon unveiled itself.
Watch The Kelly File discussion here:
Kelly reacted to one of her panelist’s suggestions that the idea of exchanging the white Santa Claus with a penguin was cute and maybe even comforting and fun for children with overbearing seriousness. Kelly doesn’t find that the idea of the swap is ridiculous or breaking with tradition but rather ineffective because it will only provide comfort to birds.
Kelly’s sarcastic reply suggests that the image of a penguin Santa would only be comforting to birds because of how it looks.
So you have to ask, who does this white Santa Claus make feel welcome and comforted?
But it doesn’t stop there and we’re going to leave the realm of (SPOILER WARNING) the completely fictitious character of Santa Claus. Recoiling from the violent penguin assault Kelly had just suffered, she retreated to a comfortable bedtime tale: Jesus, just like the Santa Claus she just described, was a white man too.
As Jonathan Merritt at The Atlantic points out, Kelly’s point that Christ was white, is an insidious and dangerous one that is worth discussion. To catch you up on his piece, which is worth a read, efforts to localise Christ may serve to distance Him from individuals of other appearances and, it has been pointed out, that it may be for this reason that the Bible is so notably silent on the topic of Jesus’ appearance. It’s a modern trend to depict Christ as a white male.
Kelly wouldn’t let the conversation rest on the points that Santa Claus is an imagined character and that he may be open to interpretation. It’s this historical nearsightedness that is a fitting corollary for the rest of what happens over at the Fox studios. These hosts continue perpetuating comforting myths to groups that already believe what they’re hearing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.