Fox News host Megyn Kelly rebuked Salon writer Aisha Harris for her article desiring Santa to “not be a White man anymore.” Harris, a short-haired black woman, argued in a December 10 piece that Santa isn’t really White and should be replaced with a penguin in order to “spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame” of growing up with a 'fat old white man.'”
Kelly refuted Harris on her December 11 show, The Kelly File:
For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we're just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids. I wanted to get that straight.
Later in the segment, she compared the complaints about Santa being White to the tired complaints about Jesus being White:
Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure; that's a verifiable fact — as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that — but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?
Kelly is currently getting the “point and stutter” treatment by everyone from Yahoo! News to Media Matters. In fact, Media Matters made a ridiculous parody of itself by having a White man, Jeremy Holden, write an op-ed criticizing the “power dynamics” of “broadcast and cable news, (which) is disproportionately the home of white men.” Holden also smeared Kelly for the unpardonable sin of defending her own culture (Holden’s words, not mine).
But let’s focus on Kelly’s rebuttals, which the media and a lot of commenters are up in arms about. They claim that because Santa is fictional, he can be “anybody.” It means nothing to them that Santa is based off St. Nicholas, who by Aisha Harris’ own admission on Twitter is of European descent (i.e., he’s White). It’s an indisputable fact that Santa is White – as indisputable as the rising and setting of the sun. Just because he’s fictional doesn’t mean his race hasn’t been clearly defined for centuries.
Kelly is also correct in describing Jesus as White. Those attacking her claim that Jesus must be “brown” because he’s “from the Middle East” or because he’s a “Jew.” Here are the facts: Based on the Shroud of Turin, Jesus had high cheekbones with a long face. The consensus view of Europeans dating back to the last days of the Roman Empire is that He had blue or hazel eyes, and blond or auburn hair. These are the facial features of a White man, not a contemporary brown Middle Easterner, hence why it was widely accepted by Europeans for over 1500 years that Jesus looked like them. This is evidence in ancient art such as the “Pantocrator.”
Then there’s the Archko Volume, a series of written accounts from first hand sources describing what Jesus and his parents, Joseph and Mary, looked like. The Vatican Library stores these accounts. The Archko Volume includes an account from Gamaliel, an agent that the Sanhedrin sent out to investigate Jesus and his parents. Gamaliel described Jesus in relation to Mary, “His hair is a little more golden than hers, though it is as much from sunburn as anything else.” Gamaliel also says: “His eyes are large and soft blue, his eyebrows very large.”
Another account was given by Roman Historian Valleus Paterculus, who was charged by Pontius Pilate of interviewing Jesus and giving a report on Him. Paterculus reported, "one day in passing by the place of Siloe, where there was a great concourse of people, I observed in the midst of the group a young man who was leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multitude. I was told it was Jesus…His golden-colored hair and beard gave his appearance a celestial aspect.”
If those historical accounts aren’t convincing enough, then try the Bible. Here’s Revelation 1:13-16:
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.
Whites are the only race where the majority of its people can be described as “fair-skinned.” Furthermore, Psalm 45 is not some random description of an irrelevant wedding. Verse 6 makes it clear that God is being described here, not a human bridegroom. Hebrews 1:8-9 goes even further by showing that Jesus was described in Psalm 45.
As if these previous verses were beating around the bush, here’s the final say from Lamentations 4:7: “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire.” Jesus was a Nazarite, hence why he’s often referred to as Jesus of Nazareth (a Nazarite and a Nazarene are only one letter apart in Greek, thus making them virtually synonymous). Wikipedia, while claiming it is “unlikely” that Jesus was a Nazarite, nonetheless offers further clarification of this point:
A Nazarite was an Israelite who had taken special vows of dedication to Yahweh whereby he abstained for a specified period of time from using alcohol and grape products, cutting his hair, and approaching corpses. At the end of the period he was required to immerse himself in water. Thus the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-15) by his relative John the Baptist could have been done "to fulfil all righteousness" at the ending of a nazirite vow.
In Acts 21:23-26 Paul of Tarsus is advised to accompany four men having "a vow on them" (a Nazarite vow) to Herod's Temple and to purify himself in order that it might appear that "that you yourself also walk orderly". This event was the reason why in Acts 24:5-18, Paul was accused of being a "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (and further verifies that the term Nazarene was connected to the term Nazarite)
Notably, Wikipedia acknowledges these Biblical references but dismisses them by claiming that “Old Testament references about a coming Messiah (whom Christians believe to be Jesus) have been projected forward to form conjectures about the appearance of Jesus on theological, rather than historical, grounds.” There are two problems with this argument:
- As explained above, the historical record has personal accounts of what Jesus looked like, and everything is consistent with the description of a man of White/European descent.
- Moreover, if you’re going to accuse European-descended Christians of “making stuff up” about a White Jesus, then you can’t just dismiss the theological record. It doesn’t matter what you as a non-Christian might or might not believe about the Old and New Testaments.
White Evangelical Christians believe that the New Testament Jesus is the Old Testament Messiah, which means that you must take Lamentations 4:7 literally if you’re going to “prove” that “Jesus wasn’t White.” Arguing that that verse is “theological not historical” doesn’t mean jack to the people you think you’re “disproving.”
People are entitled to their own opinions on Jesus and Santa, but not their own facts – historical, theological, or cultural. Whether it’s the Biblical, historical, or cultural record, the fact is that both Santa and Jesus are White. Kelly, an Irish Catholic Christian, is thus correct on both counts. She should be honored for having the guts to speak the truth and to stand up for what’s right.