Thanks and acknowledgment to Media Matters for spotting this doozy.
Aisha Harris's piece published Tuesday in Slate sent Megyn Kelly completely off the deep end.
Entitled "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore", Ms. Harris's piece describes the author's feelings of exclusion when, as a young girl, her family's darker-skinned Santa decorations didn't match the ubiquitous lighter-skinned Santa portrayed in the dominant culture. Harris's proposal for a "Penguin Santa" to replace the predominant Santa is largely an illustration of her central argument that "of course, since we created Santa, we can certainly change him however we’d like—and we have, many times over."
With this, Megyn Kelly went right to battle stations. The clip of her show, from Media Matters:
It is very disturbing that an article like Aisha Harris's provoked such a deep, reactionary, and hypocritical response from anyone. Megyn Kelly makes the following arguments:
1) Santa was based on a real-life man who was Greek and considered "white." Therefore, Santa is white. Portraying a non-white Santa is thumbing your nose at history.
2) Jesus Christ was white [Kelly makes this point with no elaboration]. Attempts to discuss the skin tone of people born in Judea 2000 years ago are, like the Santa case, merely attempts to subvert history for political gain.
The first thing to say is that Kelly's disdainful tone and words express profound fear at the idea that major, beloved symbols in American culture could be anything but white. She implores that Santa isn't a symbol, but a historical figure; this totally disingenuous point ignores that Santa could be both, and that very few Americans consider Santa as anything more than a fictional hero. Most kids certainly don't know or care that Santa might be built on a real-life, long-dead man.
The second is that all logic and evidence (even some inferences from the Bible) point to Jesus Christ being a darker-skinned man, like other people born in his community at his time. Kelly obviously has rejected this outright. Moreover, her decision to make Jesus white is precisely the anti-historical stance that she pretends is her reason to oppose Harris's ideas about Santa.
Here we see a classic example of garden-variety dominant group racism dressing up as an academic or intellectual argument: "We must respect history." Ms. Kelly's demonstrated willingness to ignore history when it doesn't fit her preconceptions makes it obvious that she's lashing out hypocritically, angry that a symbol might belong to all people who believe it.