Who really is Santa? Of course, besides the very obvious answer, it is us, parents. I simply ask because when I question my children, they answer with “It’s an old white man with a white beard and red coat.”
While shopping for Christmas decorations, my son looked at me with wondering eyes when he noticed a Santa that was darker than the Santa he is used to seeing when we are out and about. He then started asking millions of questions as to why, who, and where that Santa came from. He put me on the spot, and I was definitely not prepared at all on how to answer his questions.
I naively responded with “oh yes, there are two Santas. One is brown and one is white.” I cringe even typing what I told my curious son. It was then that I realized I failed to use this as a valuable moment to teach my kids about diversity and inclusion. My children have been hypnotized the same way I was as a child. We are a family of various colors and more brown tones than white. I rushed home and did so much research and even asked friends about their Santa.
An old classmate of mine responded that in her household, they weren’t really raised with what color Santa was for obvious reasons … being that he was white everywhere. But in her home, they would take pictures with a Black Santa for representation purposes only. She also stated that although her home didn’t go in-depth with Santa, she did remind me that every family is very different in how they represent him.
During my research, I stumbled upon a website that explained that the Black Santa Claus became a form of black empowerment during the civil rights movement.
After speaking with friends and after hours of research, I learned that the Black Santa is now a movement and hopefully for some, an acceptance of Black people. He has also been around for many Black households for a long time, but he will be new for a lot of homes, specifically mine as well as my classmate and new mom Jakierra.
While I will continue to do research on the subject, I learned that Santa is who we want him to be. My children will now understand that Santa is not just white, but instead, he is many colors. It’s all in how we perceive him.