I have a theory. My theory is that you can read the racial mood of the country by the number of black Santa Clauses you see on the store shelves. This is a very low black Santa Clause year.
I have not yet seen one black Santa on the shelves. Usually, even in the lean years, you would see at least one lonely black Santa tucked in among his white colleagues doing his duty.
Let’s be honest. Many black families are not especially happy with the image of a white man breaking into their house in the middle of the night. That has not always turned out well. Just sayin’. Consequently, black Santas help us black folks feel more comfortable with the annual break-ins.
Black Santas give us hope that we will someday have Asian Santas and Latino Santas. We may even see gay Santas and trans Santas emerge. And Mrs. Claus could get her own sleigh and help with half of the deliveries.
Unfortunately, coming away from a couple of years when social injustice, voting rights and human rights debates have raged in public places and private spaces, we have watched fear and anger pit friends against one another and split families into ideological camps. Maybe this year we can take a lesson from one of childhood’s holiday characters, The Grinch. Even he learned to grow, to not fear change, to recognize his mistakes, and, eventually, to embrace a new future.
The fact is, Santa, like The Grinch, belongs to the children.
Santa, no matter race, ethnicity or gender identity, is about joy and kindness. Santa is about love and giving. And Santa belongs to adults as well. Adults also need to be reminded of the lessons of love, giving, respect and pure joy.
We all, regardless of the number of years we have been on this planet, need to be able to see ourselves in that image.
So here’s to a black Santa Christmas—to shelves of Santas who represent children and adults of all sorts….and to a more diverse, less fearful New Year.