December 13, 2013

Taking a ridiculous racial issue and making it more ridiculous.

For some reason — ratings? — Megyn Kelly was on Fox News arguing with some lady who thought Santa Claus should no longer be depicted as a white man. Sorry, I'm not going to figure out the whole context of that proposal, but at some point Kelly emitted the following quote:
"Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change," Kelly said. "Jesus was a white man, too. It's like we have, he's a historical figure that's a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?"
Well, that's silly, perhaps, but she's got a guest on the show who needs to be prodded with questions. And the assertion that Santa is a historical figure is jocose for adults, a sop for the kids. The question is simply the usual conservative appeal to tradition: Why change anything? There's a reference to the reason for the change: It makes some people "uncomfortable." Is that a good enough reason for changing something we've done for a long time? This is the same way you could bandy about the question whether the Washington Redskins ought to change their name. It's standard fare for the Fox News crowd.

So here comes Jonathan Merritt in The Atlantic, turning that nugget o' Fox into something that Atlantic readers might find tasty. Hey, everybody, some idiot on Fox News said something stupid.
Setting aside the ridiculousness of creating rigidly racial depictions of a fictitious character that does not actually exist—sorry, kids—like Santa, Kelly has made a more serious error about Jesus. The scholarly consensus is actually that Jesus was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man. If he were taking the red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York today, Jesus might be profiled for additional security screening by TSA.
Kelly didn't demand "rigidly racial depictions." She was challenging her guest's attempt to turn the usual image of Santa into a racial problem. It's the guest who's yearning to impose the racial template. What's the "serious error" about Santa that Kelly is supposed to have made? None! But she made a "more serious error about Jesus," and I guess any error is a more serious error than no error.

What's the error? Merritt informs us that Jesus, being a first-century Jew, probably had dark skin. Jews are not white? One ceases to be white if one's skin is sufficiently dark? It may be silly to use the term "white" to label people by race, but white is a big category, and it includes a pretty broad spectrum of skin colors, such as, for example, the "white Hispanic" George Zimmerman. Maybe we should call Jesus a "white Semitic" to heighten the awareness of the subcategories of whiteness. Is that what Jonathan Merritt requires to avoid falling into "serious error"? Megyn Kelly was arguing for less racialism, and Merritt is arguing for more.

Merritt also casually implies that the TSA engages in racial profiling of those who look Semitic. It's a scurrilous charge, but, hey, it's a joke.

Merritt continues:
The myth of a white Jesus is one with deep roots throughout Christian history. As early as the Middle Ages and particularly during the Renaissance, popular Western artists depicted Jesus as a white man, often with blue eyes and blondish hair. 
Yeah, but Megyn Kelly didn't say Jesus had blond hair and blue eyes. Merritt's line is more erroneous, wafting the notion that white people must have light coloring. I'd say there are a lot more white people with dark eyes and dark hair than with blue eyes and blond (or "blondish") hair. So this is a completely screwy attack on Megyn Kelly, and it's actually pretty offensive to go out of your way to say that persons of Semitic ancestry are not white. Why go where Nazis have gone? What's the attraction? Because it's just so important to portray Fox News folk as idiots?
Perhaps fueled by some Biblical verses correlating lightness with purity and righteousness and darkness with sin and evil, these images sought to craft a sterile Son of God....
Now, you are way outside of anything having to do with Megyn Kelly. This sounds like some lesson from a fourth-rate racial studies course. And by the way, Merritt, that writing is terrible. The subject of your sentence is "images," and images don't seek to do anything. Images are inanimate objects. And how do you "craft" Jesus? Human beings do the seeking and crafting. And the images are crafted. The images are of Jesus. A person might craft a sterile image of Jesus. But an image can't craft — or even seek to craft — a sterile Jesus.

And we're subjected to the usual tripe about light and darkness — which correspond so strongly to the deeply emotional experience of day and night — being about skin color. Ever consider that Jesus looks the way he does in old paintings because the painter used models in his home town? That would mean the painter wasn't focused on race at all. But why not go with the idea that all those old painters were racists who lightened Jesus up to make him look like a better class of person? What's the point? And what the hell does it have to do with Megyn Kelly?

Merritt goes on to say:
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Advice for Living” column for Ebony in 1957, the civil-rights leader was asked, “Why did God make Jesus white, when the majority of peoples in the world are non-white?” King replied, “The color of Jesus’ skin is of little or no consequence” because what made Jesus exceptional “His willingness to surrender His will to God’s will.” His point, as historian Edward Blum has noted, is that Jesus transcends race.
Yes, Martin Luther King said some great things about getting past race. So could we? Here's what Merritt says next:
Those warnings hold just as true for believers today. 
What warnings? How is Jesus transcends race a warning? One could construct a warning: We'd better transcend race or terrible things will happen. But Merritt won't transcend race:
Within the church, eschewing a Jesus who looks more like a Scandinavian supermodel than the sinless Son of God in the scriptures is critical to maintaining a faith in which all can give praise to one who became like them in an effort to save them from sins like racism and prejudice. 
Only Merritt brought up the Scandinavian supermodel version of Jesus, but, yeah, it's critical to eschew making Jesus look like this. But who does that? If it's really so important to have the right colors to encourage everyone to identify, then a dark-haired, dark-eyed Caucasian is one of the best choices. But Martin Luther King said race is of little or no consequence, and Merritt said we were supposed to heed his warnings.
It's important for Christians who want to expand the church, too, in allowing the creation of communities that are able to worship a Jesus who builds bridges rather than barriers. And it is essential to enabling those who bear the name of Christ to look forward to that day when, according to the book of Revelation, those “from every nation, tribe, people, and language” can worship God together.

Until that day arrives, though, can someone please tell Megyn Kelly that Jesus is not white?
He just cannot let it go. Megyn Kelly must be stupid. Fox News must suck. Jesus can wait and Martin Luther King's dream will need to be deferred for however long it takes to kick that right-wing news blonde around one more time over less than nothing.

158 comments:

donald said...

I got no problem with a black Jesus or Santa Claus.

AReasonableMan said...

A relevant question is how FOX is going to handle the Tea Party - Republican Party crack-up, which is now in full swing.

The business men who pay their bills versus their viewers. They will have to tread a very fine line.

Paddy O said...

So, I had to fill out an official sheet that asked about my race. According to that, and I think it was a government thing, Jesus would have had to check the "white" category.

The racial categorizations that are meant to address relatively local issues are not really all that descriptive.

Even still, Jesus didn't look like someone of European descent. He was Jewish man from a family that lived primarily in Galilee. That's why the version I use in classes is this one.

pduggie said...

If race is socially constructed, then we nowadays socially construct Jesus as 'white'. White as a socially constructed racial category didn't exist 2000 years ago.

Is it possible, BTW, that Kelly was saying that Santa was white because St. Nicholas was a Greek bishop (and Greeks, for all their mediterranean swarthyness, are socially constructed by moderns as 'white' also.

66 said...

The historical Santa: http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/STNICH.htm

Paddy O said...

Santa Clause, the tradition, is quite northern European if I'm not mistaken and with the characterization coming from 19th century poetry. So, Santa Clause himself is white. Indeed, if he truly is from the North Pole, then of course he's white. Have you seen how white Scandinavians are?

damikesc said...

A relevant question is how MSNBC is going to handle the their total abdication of any pretense of journalism.

FTFY.

Bob Boyd said...

Santa is the same race as Colonel Sanders. There is scholarship to indicate they may have even been related.

Darrell said...

"White" is, of course, the layman's term for Caucasoid--one of the three races in the most familiar racial classification system, with the other two being Negroid, and Mongoloid. A Galilean would be classified as a Caucasoid without dispute regardless of a brown skin tone. thus Megyn Kelly was, in fact, correct and she has nothing to apologize for or justify. The assholes who brought up the issue do, however. I suggest that the institutions of higher learning that conveyed a degree to them rescind same. Their employers may well want to rexamine their employment realtionships as well.

Matthew Sablan said...

Is Santa Claus, the popular tradition not the original St. Nicholas, even, technically, human?

Ann Althouse said...

"So, I had to fill out an official sheet that asked about my race. According to that, and I think it was a government thing, Jesus would have had to check the "white" category."

If Merritt wants to wisecrack about Jesus going through airport security, he's inviting us to imagine Jesus doing other things in modern-day America, like applying to college. The box he must check is "white." He will not get a plus factor in the holistic admissions process.

pm317 said...

Black White Black White Black White.. it is so tiring. World is not all Black and White.

AReasonableMan said...

Who's the greatest traitor Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio, or is it John Boehner? So many options for hate. No number of race obsessed posts can cover up the problem for long. The crack-up is coming.

Meade said...

Bob Boyd said...
"Santa is the same race as Colonel Sanders. There is scholarship to indicate they may have even been related."

Not only that but DNA testing has revealed Colonel Sanders shares genetic code with the Virgin Mary at locations specifically from Mary's paternal side.

Darrell said...

Elizabeth Warren would be put ahead of Jesus on the college queue.

surfed said...

Jesus and Santa could've always gone the Sen Warren route and checked off Native American and cashed in on some Federal Government entitlement freebies.

Bob Boyd said...

I think this Merritt is reflexively suspicious of anyone in the private sector including Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.

It seems to me both of these fine fellows are unwelcome competition for Uncle Sam (white) these days.

jacksonjay said...

This conversation is a Black Hole!

traditionalguy said...

What Darrell said.

Jesus was likely short and stout since he was always eating at some rich guy's house. So the tall, thin, movie star blonde and blue eyed pictures of him maybe off.

The good news is that we can settle all of this when he returns for the wedding feast with us... eating again.

EDH said...

Megyn Kelly is a rising star in the conservative media.

Since the Tea Party ascendancy in 2010, the liberal-left has determined that they must counter all threats ab initio (if not in utero) with Nixon-Alinsky tactics. The idea is to neutralize individual leaders and groups espousing conservative, non-statist views lest they be allowed to enter the mainstream.

AReasonableMan said...
A relevant question is how FOX is going to handle the Tea Party - Republican Party crack-up, which is now in full swing.

The business men who pay their bills versus their viewers. They will have to tread a very fine line.



The answer is easy, LOL: "Fair and balanced"!

Big Mike said...

Not up to your usual thread-hijacking standards, ARM. Better go try another thread.

Boston Bunker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

And by the way, Kris Kringle is absolutely not the name of a Black man.

Bob Boyd said...



Meade, when you say locations, are you talking about restaurants?
This stuff is going on in the back or what?

AReasonableMan said...

For Erick Erickson it is Boehner whom he hates most.

Clear the decks for amnesty. FOX is on board with that one.

AReasonableMan said...

“Minority engagement is the front line in the [fight for] House of Representatives”.

I guess it is black and hispanic Santas all the way down from now on.

Boston Bunker said...

Santa is really a Norse God.

http://infolocata.com/mirovia/irrefutable-proof-that-santa-is-odin/

Of course Hollywood had no issue casting Heimdall with a Black man.

I used to find it stupid when Hollywood makes that type of switch- imagine Carrot Top portraying John Henry racing a steam hammer?

Then they cast Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck and I suddenly became ok with it all.

Michael said...

Well, I think those crafty ancient Greeks must have stolen the African Santa Claus myth together with all the rest of African ideas leaving Africa bereft of any ideas or myths at all. Not sure about the Black Jesus but I am sure it will be explained.

Gagg said...

And, let's not forget those beloved black icons of childhood - the Easter Bunny and Frosty the Snowman. Thumbs-up to all of those oh-so-tolerant lefties who are attacking imaginary racism.

harrogate said...

I agree the article is poorly written and this is a good takedown of it.

But of course it *was* stupid to call Jesus Christ a "white man." Whiteness is a broad category, but it doesn't cover everything not African-American, either.

Michael said...

ARM: "The business men who pay their bills versus their viewers."

Business men pay for a news channel. Nice to know. Deep. Really deep.

C Stanley said...

Ha....i have seen that picture that Paddy O linked to but haven't viewed it recently. I have to say, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the Monkey Jesus fresco. Maybe the old lady was onto something!

Bob said...

I seem to recall from Twain's The Innocents Abroad a remark he made about Jesus looking remarkably like whatever nationality it was that painted him - - an Italian in Italy, a Spaniard in Spain, a Frenchman in France, etc.

Unknown said...

What Kelly said wasn't stupid. The rascism accusations are though.

EDH said...

Somebody tell ARM that many if not most of the corporatists of whom he speaks went over to the Democrats long ago.

And it's the increasingly leftist Democrats who risk loosing them, along with the vast middle, if the Republicans cleave.

I dare say it'd be the isolated left-wing of the Democrats that looses in a center-right country where there are three viable parties/factions.

LordSomber said...

Has Merritt ever heard of Black Peter (Zwarte Piet)?

Oh well, that's probably 'Incorrect' also.

C Stanley said...

Merritt could have made an accurate and reasonable point- that people from different races and ethnicities consistently depicted Jesus more like themselves than he really was, and this latest brouhaha represents pushback from people of the race which wasn't part of that history (because they were evangelized much more recently.)

Too bad Merritt detoured into stupidland instead.

Anglelyne said...

...some lady who thought Santa Claus should no longer be depicted as a white man...

So who's stopping that lady or anybody else from depicting a Santa of any color? It has been done, ya know.

That's the weird thing here - "localized" Jesus et al have been around forever. I've seen, e.g., Madonna and Child as Africans, East Asians, Polynesians, Native Americans - in every form, from Christian kitsch to beautiful art. I have this wild theory that the great corpus of European religious art is full of European images because Europe was full of...white people. And the folk customs of white folk feature...strangely enough, a lot of white folk.

Nobody has a patent or copyright on either Jesus or St. Nick, no law enforces scholarly accuracy. Depict 'em however you please. Not that this is news to artists who have already been doing just that for a long time, instead of sitting around expecting whitey to do it for 'em, if they wanted it done.

rhhardin said...

A tradition has to be both an imposition and a choice.

You can opt out with a choice but it would help to make it attractive.

jacksonjay said...


As regards TSA profiling, it seems to me they go out of their way to profile unlikely terrorist. The stories I have read involve blue-haired grannies and little white girls, not Semetics!

TSA profiles the unlikelys to prove that they DON'T profile the likelys!

Now if we are talking about El Al, that is a different matter.

tim maguire said...

I think Megan Fox is wrong on Jesus (serious error? I don't know).

Technically, we may consider dark skinned Middle Easterners white, but given the Western church's historical depiction of Jesus as a European, I think it's useful to insist on a more pigmentally accurate description when referring to Jesus' ethnic status.

As for Santa, he's a jolly old elf we're supposed to love. If some kids would find it easier or more fun to love a black or Asian jolly old elf, then let's give them black or Asian jolly old elf.

Why not? As the father of a 5-year-old, I say parents of small children balance enough well-meaning lies this time of year that we can balance one more. It's not so hard to explain why our Santa's white but this other kid's Santa isn't.

jacksonjay said...


I think Megan Fox is wrong about everything and a bad actress to boot!

Bruce Hayden said...

Megyn Kelly is a rising star in the conservative media.

I think this is very true - moving her to prime time was a very good move by Fox. I liked her before the move, but was surprised, really, how powerful her presence turned out to be. Wouldn't be surprised if she turned out to be the most powerful female presence on news shows, whether on cable or traditional. Beautiful woman with immense on air presence, brains, legal training, and experience as a prosecutor. She was seasoned well on daytime news, and is clearly coming into her own. Pushing both Hannity and Greta a bit to the side - he, I think because of brains, and she because of being too nice, and maybe not conservative enough. Kelly Files is now my 2nd favorite FNC show, after the Five, esp after watching her when she "discovered" that the back-end ACA system was months away from completion, and the insurance companies would be on the honor system in collecting subsidies from the feds.

AReasonableMan said...

EDH said...
And it's the increasingly leftist Democrats who risk loosing them, along with the vast middle, if the Republicans cleave.

I dare say it'd be the isolated left-wing of the Democrats that looses in a center-right country where there are three viable parties/factions.


Please black, white or hispanic Santa let there be a Tea Party Presidential candidate. Has there ever been a more incoherent political movement? A bunch of "deficients don't matter" Cheney/Bush voters complaining about deficits in the middle of a recession and, oh by the way, don't touch social security or medicare.

LCB said...

There is (or was) a wax museum in Gatlinburg, Tenn. that follows the life of Christ. I went through it 30 years ago and laughed out loud when I saw a fair skinned, red-haired Jesus.

But since then I've learned that "some" Bible scholars take scripture to say the Jesus looked like David: a ruddy, fair skinned red head.

And Santa Claus did "descend" from a real person: St. Nicolas. It's just that we've Americanized him to...uh...yeah, we've Americanized him.

I agree with M. L. King...Jesus transcends race. In my mind I've always seen Him as dark skinned with curly black hair.

gregq said...

IIRC, Saint Nicholas, the "model" for Santa Claus, was Dutch.

You don't get much whiter than that.

Bruce Hayden said...

I find that the entire subject here is ridiculous. We have many centuries of seeing Jesus depicted as Aryan, and not Semitic, so seeing him depicted as Black doesn't bother me - if you are going to depict him in the first place, which is itself a bit worrisome to me, brought up as a descendant of Puritans who felt that depicting any religious figure was idolatry (and, yes, this esp includes Jesus, Mary, et al). My view is that the message of Jesus to the world has little to do with his race (except that he was Jewish and a descendant of David), and if portraying him more like his audience makes his message more relevant to a group of people, then fine. And, really the same for Santa, etc.

William said...

This just serves to mask the true controversy. I have no objections to Buddha being depicted with Asian features (although if he were, in fact, Indian he was technically a Caucasian). I do, however, find fault with him being depicted as fat. Surely in a country as afflicted with morbid obesity as ours it would behoove us to have a more fit and athletic religious icon. I would therefore recommend that all future depictions of Buddha show him looking like a trim yoga instructor. That's how he would undoubtedly reveal himself if he choose to manifest his divinity today.

the wolf said...

Where do I complain when my local production of "A Christmas Carol" casts a black man to play Ebenezer Scrooge?

Jay Vogt said...

. . .
jacksonjay said...

Now if we are talking about El Al, that is a different matter.


Or, frankly Lufthansa, AirFrance or SAS among others. Fly through Munich, Paris or or Stockholm and watch what happens to middle eastern appearing (by dress, ethnicity or both) flyers.

William said...

Jesus was from the House of David. David in the Bible is described as having red hair. Since Jesus shared that DNA and since red hair is universally regarded as a mark of divinity, Jesus undoubtedly had red hair.

William said...

If they ever do a remake of Gone With the Wind, Denzel Washington would make a killer Rhett Butler.

Bruce Hayden said...

But since then I've learned that "some" Bible scholars take scripture to say the Jesus looked like David: a ruddy, fair skinned red head.

As you suggest, that is probably just projection and wishful thinking. There is no mention in the canonized scriptures of his hair color or complexion, which strongly suggests to me that he was unremarkable in this respect, looking like the vast majority of the indigenous population there at the time. Moreover, this suggestion is strengthened by the fact that Judas had to identify him to the authorities.

Paddy O said...

"like applying to college."

Not only is he white, in the interview he didn't answer any questions he just bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

Jane said...

Here's the big-picture issue: the US government defines "white" as being from Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. At the same time, the government breaks down other official racial groups more finely.

At the same time, when people think of questions such as "was Jesus white?" or "is St. Nick white" it means, are they blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned?

Our racial definitions are stupid.

See wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census.

Fun fact: your race is only "American Indian" if you maintain a tribal affiliation. I suppose the assumption is that anyone who's 100% Indian is going to be on the reservation, and for everyone else, it's the marker of whether you're Indian or identified by your other race. But what of indigenous people from Latin America who, upon immigrating, can't be "officially" still identified with their native group?

goofy.

tim in vermont said...

For as much time as ARM spends around conservatives on this site, you would think he would understand us a little better.

BTW, your "Let's you and him fight" shtick is not transparent at all.

Bruce Hayden said...

Jesus was from the House of David. David in the Bible is described as having red hair. Since Jesus shared that DNA and since red hair is universally regarded as a mark of divinity, Jesus undoubtedly had red hair.

This gets into one of the seeming inconsistencies in the New Testament. The cited genealogy from David to Jesus is through his "adoptive" father, Joseph. Remember, Joseph was troubled by his fiancé Mary's pregnancy, but was convinced to accept her anyway. As a result, Jesus was treated as, and fully accepted by, Jewish society at that time as Joseph's legitimate (eldest) son.

In any case, ignoring the actual genetic paternity of Jesus, you still have the problem that despite being a linear descendant of David, Joseph (and, thus, Jesus) likely had no more of David's DNA than the rest of the Jewish people in the area have. Each generation inherits half their chromosomes from one parent, and half from the other. That means that by the 6th generation, one statistically has maybe one common chromosome in common, and it goes to zero after that (2^5 < 46 < 2^6).

tim in vermont said...

There a lot of Indians around here who are not from a recognized tribe, the Abenaki, but if you meet them, they seem pretty clearly to be Indian, but I guess they are not entitled to that designation and are in fact white.

lemondog said...

re: more ridiculous, I'm up to that:

Swap a black Santa for a white MLK, jr

OR

We make everybody green or blue or even striped: whitish reddish yellowish, brownish, blackish. Any missing ‘ish’?

Meade said...

"Any missing ‘ish’? "

Maybe. What color was the Grinch?

Meade said...

Colorless-ish.

Jenny said...

"IIRC, Saint Nicholas, the "model" for Santa Claus, was Dutch."

The real Saint Nicholas was from Turkey.

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
For as much time as ARM spends around conservatives on this site, you would think he would understand us a little better.


For starters, labeling oneself conservative and actually being conservative are two different things. The crack-up reveals the inherent contradictions in the Tea Party schtick, which are unsustainable over time. At some point a choice will have to be made between the Mark Levin's of this world, who make you feel warm inside, and reality, for which Levin has no use. He is a fantasist weaving a fabulous story of an alternate reality for an enthralled audience. A veritable H.G. Wells for the modern age.

David said...

Hard working, intelligent, forceful, married, child bearing, well-educated, blond and beautiful woman is becoming media star? Hey, sisterhood is powerful. Let's celebrate her success!

Oh, she's conservative? On Fox? On second thought, trash her, every chance we get. The bitch is dangerous.

David said...

Santa Claus is from the North Pole. Probably an esquimo, passing for something else. No wonder he has the beard and those glasses.

BDNYC said...

The real Saint Nick was from Turkey but he wasn't a Turk. He was probably a swarthy, hirsute Greek.

madAsHell said...

Fly through Munich, Paris or or Stockholm and watch what happens to middle eastern appearing (by dress, ethnicity or both) flyers.

Yeah....I noticed that as well.

Here in the States, I am the older white guy they use to prove they don't profile on race.

Peter said...

So, who cares?

Over the centuries Jesus has been depicted in many ways, but often in ways that reflected contemporary culture as well as the race and ethnicity of the painter/sculptor.

Santa Claus? Our contemporary Santa is certainly not St Nicholas, he's an adjunct to commercial culture. And since commercial Santas exist to stimulate sales, I'd figure: whatever works. Is someone seriously saying that a black man should not appear in a Santa outfit at a Christmas party?

Rusty said...

ARM
The thread is about Santa and Jesus. Although I now know what your Christmas wish is.

CWJ said...

Its not just The Atlantic. On the way to Althouse this morning, I passed through Yahoo. The Megyn Kelly story is in their "Today's Highlights" section where the author is trying to gin up some snark.

tim in vermont said...

ARM, Like I said...

Gary Jugenheimer said...

Your response was excellent!

AReasonableMan said...

Rusty said...
Although I now know what your Christmas wish is.


Looks like Santa might be coming early this year.

Unknown said...

Some of my favorite iconography is in St. John Coltrane Church, an African Orthodox church in San Francisco.

elkh1 said...

Jesus was not "white, white". Most probably "Jewish white". Santa was "white, white" as "Nordic white".

n.n said...

Santa was from the North Pole. Assuming that his skin was not exposed to the weathering elements of that environment, then it would be a light color.

Jesus was a Jew from the Middle East. His skin color would be lighter, but darker than people from Northern lands.

That said, let's compromise. Let's take the global average, and decided that Santa and Jesus had gray skin color. This should also appeal to Atheists.

Unknown said...

Some of my favorite iconography is in St. John Coltrane Church, an African Orthodox church in San Francisco.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Rusty said...
Although I now know what your Christmas wish is.

Looks like Santa might be coming early this year.


Your life must truly suck.

Rebecca Moseley said...

You might be interested in the Christmas Hymn, "Some Children See Him". This whole discussion reminded me of it.

AReasonableMan said...

Rusty said...
Your life must truly suck.


Not as much as you appear to think. Thanks for your concern.

SJ said...

St. Nicholas was probably ethnically Greek. (Olive skin, black hair, dark eyes, etc.)

However, the SinterKlaas tale, based on St. Nicholas, was told by Dutch-descended people in New York. That tale was reshaped into the modern Santa Claus.

Fun fact: the legendary SinterKlaas as imaged in northern Europe had a bunch of dark-skinned helpers. But he was usually depicted as fair-skinned.

@LCB,
There is (or was) a wax museum in Gatlinburg, Tenn. that follows the life of Christ. I went through it 30 years ago and laughed out loud when I saw a fair skinned, red-haired Jesus.

But since then I've learned that "some" Bible scholars take scripture to say the Jesus looked like David: a ruddy, fair skinned red head.


The Bible doesn't say anything specific about hair-color of either David or Jesus. (Unless there's an odd/dubious translation question that I haven't heard of. )

David is described at least once as "ruddy", but all literature I've seen on the subject assumes this is skin-color, not hair-color.

Basically, David might have been a red-neck.
Or he might have the skin color of a boy who spent much of his time out in the wilderness, tending sheep.
Or he might have inherited some not-typical-for-a-Jew skin color from his great-grandmother Ruth, born in Moab.

Whatever effect this may have had on Jesus' skin-color is hard to determine. There are two genealogies given for Jesus in two Gospels, and one of them might be through Mary...

lemondog said...

Maybe. What color was the Grinch?

Greenish

Real American said...

If Santa is whatever I want him to be (a bunch of BS, but I'll play along) then he's FUCKING WHITE because that's what I want him to be. Don't be an racist asshole and judge me on my beliefs!

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Rusty said...
Your life must truly suck.

Not as much as you appear to think. Thanks for your concern.


Only going by what you say. And it'd pretty boring when everyone else is talking Santa and Jesus.


AReasonableMan said...

Seriously, where is Althouse's post on the crack-up. It's the biggest political story of the day. Simply closing your eyes doesn't make reality go away.

At some point the fantasy has to end and governing begin.

Sigivald said...

If "white" means - as it might in an American race-relations context - merely "neither black nor east asian nor American Indian", then "Jesus was White" is true (granting the historical existence of Jesus as a man, which is fine by this atheist).

I'm with Kelly on this one.

n.n said...

Is skin color a sufficient criterion for diversity? What about structural features (e.g. height) that vary widely? What about his fat belly? What about his "his"?

The biggest story of the day is that this is a story.

Sigivald said...

Having read the comments, I feel a little like Henry II.

"Will no-one rid us of this turbulent troll?"

AReasonableMan said...

I never understand this complaint about trolls. Its as though the complainer believes that he/she belongs to some exclusive club of like-minded individuals into which a few free thinkers have inadvertently strolled. Their turkey and Grey Poupon sandwiches are now ruined because of these ruffians.

You are aware that you are connected to the internet? Aren't you?

jono39 said...

Jesus was a Jew. He was not a white man. The Greeks made him into a white man when they decided he was God.

jono39 said...

Jesus was a Jew. He was not a white man. The Greeks made him into a white man when they decided he was God.

eddie willers said...

Jesus was a Jew. He was not a white man.

"Paul Newman's half Jewish; Goldie Hawn's half too,

Put them together--what a fine lookin' Jew!"

FullMoon said...

I could accept a dark skinned Jesus, but red hair? That's a little bit too damned Irish for me.

David said...

Are Jews white?

A friend of mine has the best rule of thumb: Whether a Jew will be considered white is entirely context specific and depends entirely on which answer is worse for the Jew. Checking the box on college admissions? White. Surrounded by the Klan? Not white.

Titus said...

I like swarthy guys a lot. They have to be brown. Anything foreign looking (and hot, natch), but not white.

I think this is because I was surrounded by only whites in my early years.

You can't swing a donkey's hog without hitting a swarthy brownie in my neck of the woods....I am home.

tits.

Saint Croix said...

I wish some of our journalists would do some investigative reporting and take a photograph of Santa so we could answer this question once and for all.

He sounds totally German, Kris Kringle. But I saw a documentary and he had red hair as a young man. Totally looked Irish.

It wasn't actual footage in the doc, though. More like a reenactment. Actually it might have been animated. See, that's what I'm saying, the journalism has been horrible.

I saw a black Santa at the mall one time. But, see, could have been one of Santa's helpers. He's got a shitload of helpers, you'd think Megyn Kelly would mention that.

And I am like 99.99% sure Santa is a man. A fat, hairy man.

I have never ever seen a skinny Santa. Or a beardless Santa. Or girl Santa. I call bullshit on girl Santa. Even if you have a beard, and you're fat, no way.

Drago said...

ARM: "AReasonableMan said...
Seriously, where is Althouse's post on the crack-up."

LOL

ARM is desperate to talk about all the REALLY BIG ISSUES so we don't have to talk about the destruction obamacare is wreaking on individuals and, coming this year, participants in employer-based plan market.

The marching orders go out and the little automatons turn out in force.

AReasonableMan said...

Drago said...
ARM is desperate to talk about all the REALLY BIG ISSUES so we don't have to talk about the destruction obamacare is wreaking on individuals


I think that would be how Obamacare is bringing insurance to millions previously locked out of the market. But it was enjoyable listening to people who had no clue about either programming databases or web site design discussing web site design and database programming. Don't get laughs like that everyday.

Christy said...

What color is the Easter bunny?

damikesc said...

I think that would be how Obamacare is bringing insurance to millions previously locked out of the market.

By knocking millions off the insured rolls for a group who, according to polls, 85% have no desire at all to enroll in Obamacare either?

Seems like a poor strategy. Screw up my insurance to help somebody who doesn't want the help in the first place.

Has there ever been a more incoherent political movement?

The modern Democrat Party?
Occupy Wall Street?
The "anti-war" movement?
Environmentalists?

Seriously, where is Althouse's post on the crack-up.

Is she your pet monkey to pull around and get to do what you want? Seems awfully presumptuous.

It's a non-story. Now Democrats like Landrieu running ads AGAINST Obamacare --- THAT is a story.

traditionalguy said...

Interestingly, the fat white man Santa Clause image we are discussing was created in the 1920s-1930s by mass advertising done by the Coca-cola Company. They also supported the Song of The South (Uncle Remus stories) and Gone With the Wind, a local novel/movie.

That really was during a racist era in Atlanta, Georgia. So maybe Santa was too much a fat white man only for white kids.

Scientific Socialist said...

It never ceases to amaze me how the Left is pathologically obsessed with race. Its incessant dissection of the color spectrum with assignation to various strata of oppression and need for reparation is a bizarre distillation of 20th century eugenics.

AReasonableMan said...

Scientific Socialist said...
It never ceases to amaze me how the Left is pathologically obsessed with race.


A little ironic on blog that posts constantly on the topic and in this particular thread where I have spent considerable effort trying to change the topic.

But I agree someone is race obsessed.

hombre said...

" And the assertion that Santa is a historical figure is jocose for adults, a sop for the kids."

Does this mean a "traditional," perhaps imaginary or legendary, character cannot also be historical?

Somebody better tell St. Nicholas.

Inga said...

ARM said...

"A little ironic on a blog that posts constantly on the topic and in this particular thread where I have spent considerable effort trying to change the topic."

12/13/13, 2:44 PM

No one biting, huh?

AReasonableMan said...

Inga said...
No one biting, huh?


It's a slow day, they all seem race obsessed.

hombre said...

ARM wrote: "Has there ever been a more incoherent political movement?"

This would be based on your vast experience with the Tea Party? No? It's based on media accounts? What a surprise!

Let me help you, Obamadupe. Reduced taxes. Reduced Federal government size and spending. Reverence for the Constitution.

Perhaps you'd care to attempt to explain the guiding "principles" of the Democrat Party with that level of coherence

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"And the assertion that Santa is a historical figure is jocose for adults, a sop for the kids."

Historical figures are usually dead, but Santa is very much alive. How is intimating that Santa has gone into history a sop for the kids?

hombre said...

There you go, Igna.

Inga said...

ARM, it's a part of The War on Christmas. Important stuff.

AReasonableMan said...

hombre said...
Reduced taxes. Reduced Federal government size and spending. Reverence for the Constitution.


This would be partly credible if the same criteria applied during the Cheney/Bush era, which brought us a vast increase in the deficit as well as the Constitution busting Patriot Act. Most tea party members voted a straight Republican ticket during those years.

When the Repubs finally win the Presidency again I don't anticipate hearing much more from the Tea Party. Guys like Bruce Bartlett have some consistency and credibility on debt issues but they are not Tea Party faves.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Seriously, where is Althouse's post on the crack-up. It's the biggest political story of the day. Simply closing your eyes doesn't make reality go away.

At some point the fantasy has to end and governing begin.


The irony fairly leaps off the screen.

AReasonableMan said...

Inga said...
ARM, it's a part of The War on Christmas. Important stuff.


Honestly, didn't get that angle. I don't watch FOX very often.

It's a key issue, of course.

Michael K said...

"A relevant question is how FOX is going to handle the Tea Party - Republican Party crack-up, which is now in full swing.
"

I ARM in the wrong thread or is he just just obsessed with myths propagated by MSNBC.

How is your health insurance ARM ?

tim in vermont said...

Boy ARM, I bet if you had your own blog, readers would flock to it.

As for the subject of the original post "ask a stupid question."

paul a'barge said...

Examples of how Althouse is not Conservative and is clueless about Conservatism #1445:
... the usual conservative appeal to tradition: Why change anything?

The usual conservative appeal is to not change something that is not broken. Of course we want to change it if it's broken.

Maroon is more than a color.

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
As for the subject of the original post "ask a stupid question."


Now, I may have thought that, but I am too much of a gentleman to simply blurt it out in public.

Drago said...

Inga: "ARM, it's a part of The War on Christmas. Important stuff."

I for one am glad that Inga has not yet (yet) once on this thread called people who have lost their insurance due to obamacare liars and idiots.

Of course, I don't expect that to last long.

Drago said...

MK: "I ARM in the wrong thread or is he just just obsessed with myths propagated by MSNBC."

It's just ARM's turn to represent the latest soros-funded fiction on a "conservative" blog.

The lefties are very good at following directives from their political betters.....none of whom will have to operate within an obamacare framework.

As Al Franken might have said: 'And that's ok....because darn it, our dear leaders are smart enough, good looking enough and most importantly leftist enough to not have to actually toil under their own recommended policy pronouncements!!'

Original Mike said...

People haven't lost their insurance? They're lying about it?

hombre said...

ARM wrote: "This would be partly credible if the same criteria applied during the Cheney/Bush era, which brought us a vast increase in the deficit as well as the Constitution busting Patriot Act. Most tea party members voted a straight Republican ticket during those years. "

There was no Tea Party during the Bush/Cheney era. Obama's increase in the deficit, was on top of the Bush deficit, broke his promise and was unprecedented, as is his abuse of the Patriot Act. Additionally, we are no longer paying for war in Iraq. Duh!

I don't vote for Democrats because they are corrupt and incapable of governing. I imagine that is true of most Tea Party people also. But for the conservative movement, the Republicans would be the same as the Democrats.

n.n said...

What about the rosy cheeks? Perhaps Santa is a mimic.

AReasonableMan said...

hombre said...
There was no Tea Party during the Bush/Cheney era


Exactly.

Dr Weevil said...

You'd think someone who can write "labeling oneself conservative and actually being conservative are two different things" would also realize that labeling oneself "AReasonableMan" and being a reasonable man are also two very different things. He's a crank and a bore and a fraud.

Beldar said...

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.

Rusty said...

Dr Weevil said...
You'd think someone who can write "labeling oneself conservative and actually being conservative are two different things" would also realize that labeling oneself "AReasonableMan" and being a reasonable man are also two very different things. He's a crank and a bore and a fraud.

He doesn't know that. Which makes him entertaining.

AReasonableMan said...

Dr Weevil said...
He's a crank and a bore and a fraud.


Someone's in a dyspeptic mood. Care to elaborate on these thoughts?

CWJ said...

ARM,

I'm calling it a day, and I don't see anyone else around.

Be a dear and turn off the lights. Thanks.

mishu said...

ARM, get your own blog.

moistwilly said...

None dare call it Reason

moistwilly said...

None dare call it Reason

Alex said...

Megyn stepped into a known pile of shit and she's paying the price. It just reinforces the stereotype that Republicans are Racists.

damikesc said...

This would be partly credible if the same criteria applied during the Cheney/Bush era, which brought us a vast increase in the deficit as well as the Constitution busting Patriot Act. Most tea party members voted a straight Republican ticket during those years.

You were asked to explain the tenets of the Democrat Party. I notice you didn't.

When the Repubs finally win the Presidency again I don't anticipate hearing much more from the Tea Party. Guys like Bruce Bartlett have some consistency and credibility on debt issues but they are not Tea Party faves.

How's that anti-war movement going? I bet they're really upset about all of the drone attacks.

Big Mike said...

Jonathan Merritt thinks Megan is being uppity.

Eric said...

...some lady who thought Santa Claus should no longer be depicted as a white man...

So who's stopping that lady or anybody else from depicting a Santa of any color? It has been done, ya know.


You've missed the nuance here. She doesn't want your permission to depict Santa as a black guy. She wants force white Santa out of the public sphere. She wants people to harass malls and advertisers such that it's just easier to have a black Santa than to deal with people "just asking questions".

Next year we'll move on to Santa and Mr. Clause.

Eric said...

When the Repubs finally win the Presidency again I don't anticipate hearing much more from the Tea Party.

There's no medicine for this kind of willful stupidity. The Tea Party movement started during the Bush years.

Scott Anderson said...

If Obama runs for a third term, Althouse will figure out how to justify for her inevitable third vote for him.

oso loco said...

Hmmm - a little late to the party, but.... Has nobody here ever met a white-skinned, blonde, blue-eyed Jew? I could introduce you to several of them. All descended from the House of David. Not a Scandinavian in the bunch. Jesus was also descended of the House of David. Ergo.... the argument re: skin/hair/eye color is ignorant.

Tom Perkins said...

"Well, that's silly"

It's a serious question for a silly guest.

"but she's got a guest on the show who needs to be prodded with questions."

She's an interviewer here, and she presumably has this guest on the show to display how silly the guest is. This post almost seems to me like you have a problem with that.

"And the assertion that Santa is a historical figure is jocose for adults"

That depends on which Saint Nicholaus you think he is most closely connected to in myth.

Tom Perkins said...

"Maybe we should call Jesus a "white Semitic""

By rights, that should sting him.

Ken Mitchell said...

A professor of ancient history of my acquaintance has argued that since Joseph accepted Mary who was already pregnant, the genetic father of Jesus was probably a Roman soldier engaged in a little casual rape of the conquered womenfolk. In which case he could have come from almost anywhere.

Jane said...

St. Nicholas was Greek.

Is everyone in the western world this unknowing? It's so completely sad.

She should bring up Black Peter to really drive them crazy. I don't know how they get away with it in Belgium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_Piet

Tom Perkins said...

"He will not get a plus factor in the holistic admissions process."

Err, was the pun with the word holy unintentional?

Jane said...

St. Nicholas was Greek.

Is everyone in the western world this unknowing? It's so completely sad.

She should bring up Black Peter to really drive them crazy. I don't know how they get away with it in Belgium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_Piet

Jane said...

St. Nicholas was Greek.

Which explains a lot - giving away the store and ending up bankrupt.

Harwood said...

The question is simply the usual conservative appeal to tradition: Why change anything?

And then there's this: Why does Ann Althouse have shit for brains?

Conor said...

Who is this Merritt person? I see that he seems to write for a periodical that is not read by 99.99% of Americans.
Other than the fact that he doesn't seem to be a serious human, I don't care about Mr. Merritt's opinions. I do though want some consideration for the 15 minutes I have wasted on this article that Althouse has so vehemently attacked, appropriately so, and the efforts that I have put into this comment.

hicks said...

Meanwhile, the image affirming "debate" about "Black Peter" (a.k.a., Zwarte Piet) is lost from public view.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/world/europe/where-st-nicholas-has-his-black-petes-charges-of-racism-follow.html

Jim S. said...

Your own personal Jesus.
http://agentintellect.blogspot.com/2008/04/your-own-personal-jesus.html

Tim said...

The US Census Bureau racial categories are white; black; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

Which would liberals call Middle Eastern people today?

Bob Ellison said...

There is an obsession about Megyn Kelly. She's very pretty, very smart, and very quick. EDH said in a post somewhere here that that was the main thing: the left is trying to kill Megyn Kelly. That's correct. The posts on this thread attest to that. She's a threat; kill her with fire; say anything; Saul, help me here!

Matt Rickman said...

Christ does not overcome racism by becoming race-less. He overcame race by coming as a Jewish man and calling for mercy the Roman oppressors and grace for the Jewish oppressed.

Our differences matter but our unity in Christ should matter more.It is only when we can love Jesus in all his Jewishness and love each other in all our differences, that we will move beyond race and into the righteousness age of the Messiah.

Deep Elem said...

This guy at the Atlantic is so lazy he didn't stop and think, "hey, Christianity is already the largest religion on the planet. Maybe there already are members of every nation, tribe, people and language worshiping Christ?"

But no, this guy at the Atlantic (he's not worth going back to see what his name is) is just so caught up in his own intellectual and moral superiority that he says things which, under the slightest scrutiny, are just stupid as hell.

Michael K said...

"I think that would be how Obamacare is bringing insurance to millions previously locked out of the market. But it was enjoyable listening to people who had no clue about either programming databases or web site design discussing web site design and database programming. Don't get laughs like that everyday."

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Talk to me next summer when 100 million have lost their insurance.

You can't be this stupid. Is this an act ?

sdharms said...

white is not a "race". There are only 3 races: Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid. I wish we would stop all this classification. But it is political in purpose -- to divide and conquer.

Skippy said...

Hey where is the Muslim coward Bashir been?

Paul Jacobsen said...

We already have a black Jesus, he's in the White House. And he has caused the seas to recede and the planet to heal, according to the most recent temperature data, which shows no warming for the last 5 years (or more).

Steve in Philly said...

In response to Ken Mitchell, the Scriptural account is that Mary was a virgin, and Christ's birth was miraculous. She was a descendant of David, so Jesus on earth would have taken on the humanity of a Jew. For a saved sinner, the largest item by far is that God became a human, and took sin on Himself as a substitute sacrifice. The race of Jesus is 'human' a concept so amazing that believers are in awe of that, beyond any human subcategories.