Let’s leave Santa out of political discourse

The modern figure of Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, and is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man. Now, the right-wingers who occupy far too vast amounts of our media are making sure that everyone be aware that Santa was also white.

What do Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk gain by making sure kids of any other color be informed of this brilliant insight? Are their bigoted fears so deeply rooted that, say, an African or Asian Santa would somehow ruin it for all the white kids gathered around the tree opening gifts? That somehow if Santa had had his origin in Egypt rather than the Netherlands, that the joy and loving nature of the icon would somehow be different? That a white Santa brings better toys? I always thought naughty or nice determined that, not Santa’s skin color.

Kids are taught bigotry and hate. No one is born a white supremacist. Kids don’t know the meaning of exceptionalism or, for that matter, care. They are indoctrinated into that group-thought. Children don’t realize color difference until it’s taught to them that “those people,” as O’Reilly and Limbaugh oft times label them, are different.

The idea of Santa brings joy to many. It’s a sad commentary of our political and intellectual discourse that now even Santa has been thrust into playing such a divisive role in our culture.

Stephen F. Saracino