An Open Letter To Black Santa: Give ‘Em Hell

Dear Black Santa,

As a little black girl from the South, all I ever saw was white, rosy-cheeked Santa Clauses plastered on Christmas posters and gluttonously eating all the milk and cookies on those propagandized holiday commercials. I never saw him for more than what he was – fiction.

He was another white fictional character sent to save the day, bring holiday cheer, and give to the poor little children. Someone reminiscent of white Jesus, or Batman.

I didn’t grow up in a household that pushed the whole Santa narrative, and I wasn’t tormented with the “naughty or nice list.” Perhaps my parents did not like the idea of a white man being seen as a superior being or something. My presents always said from Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandma and so forth. As far as I knew, my presents were not the result of some jolly, corpulent, white man shimmying down a chimney but, I digress.

You see, I’ve decided to believe in you Black Santa, not because you too are being used as a promotional tool in one of the biggest capitalist holidays, but because of what you represent.

You are a racist’s worst nightmare, a catalyst for white fragility, and best of all my brotha!

You are not a European interpretation of what Samaritanism is. You are unorthodox, nonconformist, seated on a throne in the Mall of America. The biggest mall in America – you know, that place that prides itself on diversity, yet doesn’t celebrate it? Yeah, that America.

What a tenacious feat. I hope you revel in it. Put white out through the conventional narrative of black men. Be unapologetic. Pay no attention to those who don’t see the beauty in you, to those who teach their children to not color outside of the lines that society has drawn from them.

And I know you’re just being Santa, but to me and all those who look like me, you are doing so much more. It’s funny because as a child, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was my favorite fictional hero! I’d like to think he was a metaphor for marginalized people. He was the best part of my Christmas stories. I’d like to think he’d be honored to lead your sleigh. Be merry Black Santa, be merry! And most importantly, stay black! TC mark

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