I just love all this. I really do. Megyn Kelly had a panel discussion on blog post that was written by a black woman and her feelings of inadequacies as a child seeing a white Santa Claus. Her tongue and cheek suggestion was that we now make Santa into a penguin so that no one else is forced to feel bad about themselves as she did as a child.
This discussion, per the usual, turned into calls of "RAAAAACIST" and of course White Privilege. I wonder how many actually watched the segment or just read what has been written about it?
St. Nicholas was white. St. Nicholas is what Santa Claus is based upon. That isn't up for debate. It is history. He was a historical figure. The point of the segment was that just because something in history is uncomfortable, is that a good enough reason to change it? Her answer is no, it isn't. She is right about that.
Across human history there are many things that are uncomfortable. The crusades, slavery, and the holocaust just to name three. Do we get to change what happened because someone is uncomfortable with the history of it? I am white of European descent. I am only one generation away from it in fact. I am only the third person in my family to be born in this country. Now, do I get to whitewash the history of European whites that held blacks in slavery just because I don't like the fact that they did it? No, I don't. That is our history. The same way that blacks that come from African decent don't get to whitewash the fact that many blacks on that continent made money on selling their fellow countrymen into bondage. That is their history.
I was reading an article not to long ago on the 9/11 museum that will be opening at The World Trade Center. Some people didn't want the hijackers mentioned at all, they wanted it to be about the victims only. I say heck no. We don't get to decide for ourselves what that day was and what it was not. 19 men hijacked planes and killed 3,000 innocent people based solely upon their sick religious views. That is what happened. It doesn't matter that some people may be uncomfortable with that pesky little fact. Muslims have to deal with it. Saudis have to deal with the fact that the majority of them came from that country. It isn't up for debate, or at least it shouldn't be.
She was making no statement on race. She was talking about why do we, as a culture, want to change historical figures into a narrative that fits a more "modern, feel-good, politically correct" thing? What right do we have to do that as a society? It benefits no one to change our history.
This has played out in bright colors this week with the death of Nelson Mandela. I can't think of another recent example that showcases what Ms. Kelly was saying. Upon his death he was either characterized as a saint or the devil. The truth is he contained elements of both. His history does contain acts of violence and innocent people being killed due to those acts of violence. That cannot be left out of the conversation about his life. But the other side to that coin is that he left the violence behind him once he was out of imprisonment and tried to lead a country out of a government that was based on oppression, racism, and nothing short of tyranny. Now I don't agree with his socialist views of government, but I didn't live that life in that time. I am sitting in the cheap seats and it is real easy for me to say what I would and would not have done in his position, living in that country, as a person of color, in that time. Freedom isn't free. We say that all the time in this country when it comes to conversations about our troops and America's standing in the world. I can think of no example of when a country that was under a tyrannical regime working towards more freedom for its citizens that didn't involve bloodshed. It isn't pretty, but it is reality. If there is one thing that makes me crazier than anything else, it is when people don't want to deal with the realities at hand. We don't get to change our history simply because we don't like it. Unless of course you want to be intellectually dishonest and lazy.
There was nothing racist about what Megyn Kelly said. She wasn't saying that black children can't look to Santa Claus the same way white children do. She wasn't saying that Santa is only for the whites of the world. She was saying St. Nicholas is a historical figure and nothing in the world is going to change that fact. Deal with it.