This was way before the time of political correctness during a time when each class had their own Christmas tree and the school was covered with Santas and snowflakes. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as we practiced Christmas Carols for the school concert. It was the best time of the year for school children in my town.
About a week ago a young woman named Aisha Harris posed a suggestion to her blog readers…”What if Santa were a penguin instead of a white man?”
As a child, she wondered why Santa wasn’t “brown” like she was. She was confused and wondered if other children of color felt the same way. After listening to debates in the media over the past few days, I’d say they probably do. She offered up the idea that Santa shouldn’t be a person at all, perhaps a penguin instead. I understand where she’s coming from and yet, it makes me a little sad.
It has created a discussion which has become venomous in nature. A comment by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly was that Aisha needs to get over it and that Santa and Jesus are white. Ahem…Jesus was not a white man, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Was it wrong of Aisha to pose this question? I don’t think so. It’s what was on her mind and, obviously, it’s a valid point of discussion due to all the attention it’s getting. However, this is all the result of adult conversation.
I think that children who go to see Santa at the local mall and who sing of him in their songs see a Santa who looks like they do. In their mind, Santa has no color. He’s just Santa.
Going back to the Christmas Party in the classroom, we had kids of all nationalities in our school. We had kids that lived by different faiths in their homes, some celebrated Christmas and some did not. But during that time at school, we all were simply being…well…children.
I think if we, as a group of elementary school children, were able to see things through eyes which were color-blind in the political sense, adults should be able to do the same. I can’t remember ever thinking of the color of someone’s skin until an adult mentioned it. It’s sad, really, that we teach our children that those things matter – they don’t. At least they shouldn’t. Even Jesus Himself tells us in the book of Luke that unless we accept God’s Kingdom in the simplicity of a child, we won’t get in. Hmm. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from our younger selves.
The only thing that mattered on the day of party was that we were all hoping to get the coveted ‘Book of Lifesavers’. Can life be more simple than that?
By the way, Merry Christmas.