San Diego, CA
The Real Black Santa
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Saint Nicholas [270-310], a dark-skinned man who has been referred to as a 'Moor from Africa', was once Bishop of Myra ("Myrrh"), now called Demre, a town in Anatolia, the territory of modern Turkey. His beard and his reputation are world famous. However, say the words "Santa Claus" and a general image usually comes to mind: a jolly, rosy-cheeked, overweight white guy with a white beard in a red velvet suit. And why would it be any different? After all, it's the image that many have been raised on since they were old enough to crawl.
In early Christianity images were truer to what Jesus (and Saint Nicholas) may have looked like. They were drawn with darker skin because there's no way that they were white men with blue eyes. Now some Christians may say that it is not important what color they were, because of the message that they came to deliver. But that can only be the case in a color blind world. I still have to watch a parade and see a black, Asian, Latino or even First Nations Santa. Santa is a mythical person, who need not be bound specifically in white skin.
I was taught that Santa could look like any of the children he visits. Makes sense, especially for a magical guy who flies in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.
The Real Black Santa embodies the true spirit of the holiday. He's a symbol of friendship and cookies spreading yuletide cheer, and he is an expert in the art of gift giving. Santa is whatever we want him to be, but brown skin makes him a more authentic St. Nick.
July 31st, 2012
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