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I saw this story and just had to share it.  A teacher in NM told his 9th grade students they could come to class dressed as either Santa, an elf or a reindeer.  A black student came dressed as Santa and the teacher asked the student "Don't you know Santa is white? Why are you wearing that."
According to the article on HufPo the teacher 'has been disciplined.  
I guess the teacher has been watching his favorite 'faux news' anchor after school.
I sincerely hope the teacher has learned from his mistake and will be more sensitive in the future.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  You can't believe in worker's rights (11+ / 0-)

    but then insist that every worker who makes one transgression should be fired. This teacher could have been a wonderful teacher for 20 years, and then makes this one mistake statement, and without hearing anything about her, you think a mere suspension is not enough of a punishment. No, her career should be instantly ended, she should be led out in disgrace.

    How about just say this was a bad thing to do and it should be dealt with seriously, but fairly.

    •  I agree. (7+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't automatically fire him for this unless there is a dirty little trail that has been following him for a while.

      Certainly, at the very least, somebody needs to sit down and talk with this guy and find out what the frig was going on in his mind, and he definitely needs to make amends to all those students that he offended.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:50:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are right. (9+ / 0-)

      I will edit my comments.  I guess I just put myself in the child's shoes.  9th grade is a hard time for adolescents to deal with as it is without adding racism into the mix.  Somehow I doubt this is a one time occurrence but given that I really don't know more, I will give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.

    •  Actually, they can't fire him just like that, (8+ / 0-)

      most likely.

      If he is unionized, as he most likely is, he can't be given the equivalent of a summary execution, because he has a right to a hearing and the right to defend himself.

      I wish under the law, each and every one of us had that right.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:52:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  love how you assume (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, RhodeIslandAspie, second gen, elmo

      the teacher is female ...

      turns out, he's not

      "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

      by grollen on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:52:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I assumed it was a she because all of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Another Grizzle, elmo

        my high school teachers were women (well, most of them). So I automatically associate the term "high school teacher" with the image of a woman (dressed in 70s clothing). But male or female, the point was that this may not be a fire-able offense. Context is important.

    •  2013 - no tolerance needed for racism (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, RhodeIslandAspie, Chi

      Someone can believe a brown skinned turkish guy was white all they want...

      This wasn't some teacher just tossing out a racial assumption.

      You could even express that opinion just fine - its wrong for the historical figure, but its right for the pop culture one and not really a harm to say "Santa is white".

      BUT... scolding a youth for dressing 'out of what is proper for his race'...

      That is the harm here - this youth was scolding for 'not being in his place.'

      Not a teacher having listened to Fox, but a teacher scolding a youth for 'crossing a race barrier'.

      Zero tolerance for racism. Fire the guy.

      Yeah - I'm pro labor. But I'm even more pre-multicultural and racial equality.

      OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

      by Jyotai on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:50:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think anybody on this thread is defending (0+ / 0-)

        his conduct.

        Some of us thing that he actually has a right to a hearing, which he probably does under the contract, and I believe we all should have that right, even in the absence of a union.

        Some us think although that was a racist thing to say, he may not be a racist. It's quite possible that he was absolutely mortified and shamed when he realized the implications of what he said, which in that case could be a teachable moment for this teacher. Or conversely, he maybe he doesn't get it and never will, which in that case, I think it's time for him to find some new employment.

        Is it surprising that a white person in a white dominated nation with a history of racism could innocently say something that is racist without realizing the impact of those words on others?

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:21:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My reason for advocating termination. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo

          Racism has no place, at all, in 2013.

          But beyond that - pushing it onto children is just horrible.

          The impact upon a young man's self image at that age will be devastating.

          I find that much more important than this man's job. He is harming the self image of that young man, for life - if the young man is left to see himself as 'outside the circle' and that people who push him down face no consequence for it.

          I know, personally, the rage that can build up in a person. The damage it can do to you. I have no tolerance for seeing it done to another generation of young men.

          You misunderstand what I find racist here.

          Its not racist that he says Santa is white - not at all. Because despite that being wrong for the historic figure, its right for the pop culture icon.

          The racism is in that he rebuked the young man for 'acting outside his race'. Rebuked him for daring to dress as santa.

          THAT is the harm here.

          He could just as easily have noted "Good take on Santa young man" and moved on. He could even have said at one point that Santa is a traditional Anglo-Saxon cultural icon, and maybe complimented the kid's beard or costume.

          But calling him out negatively for daring to dress as santa when he is black. That is a harm.

          OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

          by Jyotai on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:32:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I understand. (0+ / 0-)

            I have posted earlier what harm this sort of thing can do. But let's say he is genuinely aware when this had been pointed out to him. Let's say that he has an excellent record as a teacher. Let's say there have not been complaints about him from minority students in the past, and some minority students come forward to praise their past interactions with him.

            I'm not saying that I know these what ifs to be true, because I don't know. But if they turn out to be true, does it make sense to give this person the employment version of capital punishment? Yes, there should be consequences, and dismissal should be one of those options But should dismissal be the only possibly option to consider?

            Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

            by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:42:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps... (0+ / 0-)

              But this is 2013, not 1975.

              We're at least 20 years out from when you could expect everyone to know on race, and I really don't see room for an 'oops' moment anymore, especially around children.

              Is "racism is over" as the conservative meme goes. Then is is over - and those still clinging to it need to get pushed out of the cave.

              In the 70s, and maybe even into the 80s, I could perfectly see people making gaffs or saying things and then having an 'oops' moment of self realizing.

              But how many time do you let a male co-worker feel up a female co-worker's breasts or pat her on the butt without asking before he's supposed to realize this isn't 1950 anymore? I'd say... 0.

              And this isn't any different.

              OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

              by Jyotai on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:50:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree he should pay a price. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not at all sure that firing is the price.

                He didn't do the equivalent of feeling up a woman or pat her on the butt. That is assault.

                It's more like saying that a female shouldn't take shop classes. Indefensible words, but such a person may well see the light if they are willing to.

                We'll stay tuned to this one and learn more.

                Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 11:36:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I guess I am not for racists' rights (0+ / 0-)

      One unequivocally indefensibly racist comment to a student should be a firing offense, or at least cause for unpaid suspension.

      Just my opinion, and I have tenure. That doesn't mean I can say any awful thing they comes to my mind.

    •  I don't think any worker has the right (0+ / 0-)

      to bring their racism into their workplace and inflict it on customers or clients or, especially, students who are minors.

      Let's face it: this is probably only the first time this teacher has gotten caught exhibiting her racist attitudes in the classroom.  Imagine how her minority students would feel if she got just a slap on the wrist.

  •  Racist bastard. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, happymisanthropy

    He saw it on Fox News probably, so he knows it is true.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:47:43 PM PST

    •  It's not racist to think that Santa Claus (4+ / 0-)

      is white. It's just stupid.

      •  I disagree there (10+ / 0-)

        There was no need for the teacher to bring up the subject of his perception of the race of Santa.  That in and of itself is racist.  He brought up the race issue.

        •  It is not racist to bring up race. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Another Grizzle

          He might have just said "hey, Santa Claus is white". That's just stupid, but it's not racist. If you live in America at least, even in black neighborhoods, Santa Claus is almost always a white dude. It doesn't suggest that whites are a superior race just because one thinks that Santa is a white person rather than a black person.

          In reading my own comment I am realizing that this whole conversation is really a stupid one.

          •  almost always might be true, but not always always (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doc2, RhodeIslandAspie
            If you live in America at least, even in black neighborhoods, Santa Claus is almost always a white dude.
            We have had some big plastic light-up dark skin jolly Santas in my on the edge of the inner city neighborhood in Milwaukee most years for the last decade or so at least.
            (Also, a family a couple of blocks away from us has been collecting Santas for years, and they put out a very diverse, ever growing choir of Santas in front of their house every Christmas, lots of colors and sizes. I think there were over twenty of them last year. I don't know the people, so can't say, but I imagine they may be a mixed colors household. Although it might just be that they have a Santa obsession.)

            I agree that this conversation is not among the more intelligent or significant ones here. I'm only responding because your consistently careful and temperate commenting style made me think you would enjoy hearing it!

          •  first Santa i took my granddaughter to (0+ / 0-)

            (she was two, 2 years ago) was at a mall in in PG county. The Santa was African American. I saw nothing odd in that, and btw we are white.

            fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

            by mollyd on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:03:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What makes it not racist? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RhodeIslandAspie, Chi

            If the intent is to suggest that a black person can't play a white character, then yes, that is racist. Especially when we've all seen countless examples of white people playing dark-skinned characters.

             If Santa had blonde hair, would it be wrong for someone with black hair to portray him?

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:13:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The concept is racist. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nowhere Man

              But the fool uttering the concept isn't necessarily racist, and may be in need of some enlightenment.

              Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

              by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:20:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Totally agree. (0+ / 0-)

                In fact, as someone mentioned downthread, it's conceivable that he said this with intended irony in light of the Fox News fiasco. That's the only way I can think of that would excuse this "joke" -- but if that's the case, now he knows that some people don't do irony.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 11:57:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  His behavior was absolutely unacceptable. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, kyril

          There should be some consequences for him.
          And it sounds like the thing a racist would say, and more importantly, the kind of thing racists would applaud. But do we know that he was being racist, or was he being stupid? Either way, words like this can be destructive.

          If he is a genuine racist, he should be shown the door for good. But if it was just a thoughtless remark, and he knows that it was the wrong thing to say, and all the reasons that it was wrong, than I find it hard to call him a racist.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:09:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Read my remark above (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bepanda, Another Grizzle, kyril

        where I walked back my using the word racist.  It was stupid of me to assume someone who says something that could be interpreted as racist is automatically racist when they might simply be saying something stupid.  

        I don't know enough about him to judge that.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:00:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed. (0+ / 0-)

        Santa dates back to St Nicolas, who was Greek.

        The way we classify race would make him "white".

        On the other hand, it's a made up story and can be represented any way folk choose, so a black Santa, or a female Santa are just as valid here.

        Not everything that is said about race stems from racism, although it would not surprise me that someone making such a remark might turn out to be a racist.

        If this teacher was disciplined, it should have been on the grounds of simply being insensitive to the student who had made an effort.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:54:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Your looking at the wrong mistake (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann, Chi

        The problem isn't the teacher thinking a brown turk is white. Especially when the pop figure is white.

        The problem is scolding the kid for dressing as Santa while being black.

        OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

        by Jyotai on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:53:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't necessarily think it's racist (0+ / 0-)

      If one of my black friends showed up at a party dressed as Santa, I'd probably say the same thing to them as a joke, and they'd laugh. Likewise, if I dressed up as Santa, they'd probably tell me that even though I'm fat enough for the part, Santa isn't Jewish. And I'd laugh. I don't think that would make either one of us racist or anti-Semitic.

      A teacher saying it to a student, even as a joke, isn't appropriate, but I don't think this proves he was racist.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:16:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine, you and your friends can (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Minnesota Deb

        joke.  And sure they may laugh outwardly. but you sure don't know how they feel inside.

        And you are not a kid being told that there are things he can not be because he is Black. And telling him he doesn't fit in front of all the other students.

        This is a serious hurt to that child and everyone else in the classroom.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:14:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  how about this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo

          the scene is anytime in the 20th century

          it is Hallowe'en and children are told they can come to school in costume.

          a black child comes to school dressed as his favorite president.

          authority figure says, why are you wearing that?  don't you know that Presidents are white?

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:22:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  WTF are the students coming dressed as any... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3, Linda S, blueoasis, CJB, elmo

    ...of those?  High school freshman?  Does this advance learning?  

  •  In grade school, half my class was Jewish (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RhodeIslandAspie, gffish, Jyotai, kyril, elmo

    and half were Christian, mostly Catholics. We Jews thought that it was hilarious that the Catholic kids really believed in Santa Claus.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:03:18 PM PST

    •  Only when they were kids though. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, kyril, shmuelman

      After that they only believed in things like Heaven and Hell, eternal afterlife, that Jesus walked on water and listens to our every thought - those much more rational sorts of things.

    •  You unbeliever. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, Smoh, kyril

      Haven't  you heard of the Holy Quintet.
      The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.

      I gotta go. I need to eat my chocolate Santa Claus, and my chocolate Jesus.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:14:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If God is Black, Why not Santa? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, RhodeIslandAspie

        "Haven't  you heard of the Holy Quintet. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny."

        Isn't it pretty well accepted that the first humans were sub-Saharan Africans? If so, since they were created in God's image, they were Black. That takes care of your first three.

        Santa Claus has very few adult believers, as far as i know. He is without controversy a fictional character (as opposed to the trinity who may or may not be fictional but have a multitude of believers). Fictional characters originally conceived of as White (or originally not described by color at all) are portrayed all the time by Black actors, so why not Santa? There's four of your five.

        On the Easter Bunny, I got nuthin'.

    •  You raise another point (0+ / 0-)

      I bet if there were Jewish kids in this class they just loved being able to choose between dressing up as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

  •  Santa Claus is almost always depicted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RhodeIslandAspie, kyril, VClib

    as white, but it's not a giant intellectual leap to realize if a black kid dresses as Santa it's not inappropriate.

  •  Isn't the whole Santa thing (5+ / 0-)

    over before ninth grade?  

  •  Schools still do this crap? (7+ / 0-)

    "The move came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer."

    It brings to mind what happened when my friend's daghter's preschool told their students they were going to be bunnies for Easter.  My friend told her daughter to tell the teacher, "I'm a Jewish bunny.  We don't wear fake ears."

    All of the santa, elvin crap has no business in a public school.

    Yeah - that's my own personal "war on Christmas."

    My kid's school puts on an amazing solstice celebration.  Embrace the longest night, my friends.

    Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

    by CJB on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:27:34 PM PST

    •  I wonder if I could go as a Vulcan bunny. We wear (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CJB, kyril, Nowhere Man

      pointy ears, not long ones.

      Solstice celebration - I could go for that. I love being in awe of the the beginning of lengthening of the days. It give some hope - even though it will yet get colder, nonetheless the days are getting longer.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 09:34:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dick Gregory turned it into a pointed joke: (4+ / 0-)

    "My kids don't believe in Santa Claus because they know damn good and well no white man is coming into our neighborhood after midnight."

    [Quoting from memory of a performance I saw back in 1967 at Stanford's Frost Amphiteater (opening for the Jefferson Airplane, believe it or not), so it may not be word-for-word accurate.]

    But this sounds more like the teacher was saying that only positions as Elves or reindeer (subhuman workers or beasts of burden) were appropriate choices for the black students, which certainly smacks of not-very-subtle racism.

    Inside of me are two dogs. One is mean and evil. The other is gentle and good. The two dogs fight all the time. Which dog wins? The one I feed the most.

    by bakeneko on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:47:56 PM PST

  •  Actually it's very possible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, RhodeIslandAspie, Nowhere Man

    That the teacher, having heard of Megyn Kelly's absurd comment, was making an albeit ill conceived joke based on that theme. I don't know that's the case but that's the very first thing that crossed my mind. Automatically firing somebody for assigning a race to a fictional character is just a bit overboard.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 05:25:47 AM PST

    •  It's possible it was an inappropriate joke. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, TrueBlueMajority

      And it might have been well and good to say that to an African-American who was a close friend and would have seen it as a joke and laughed, but a totally different story to say this in the context he had.

      The truth is, that we don't know a whole lot about this story other than what's in the article. The only thing we can be sure of is that is was inappropriate and unacceptable for him to say this.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:08:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  97% of all racist remarks are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RhodeIslandAspie, Chi, Minnesota Deb

      "jokes" to the person called out on them.

      That is the typical response of a bully. And bully supporters.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:21:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be willing to bet (0+ / 0-)

    that the Santa is white crowd are the same people who consider Kwanzaa to be some sort of threat to the Republic.

    Geez. We can't let those uppity black folks think it's OK to dress up as Santa, but we can't let them have their own holiday celebration, either.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:14:27 AM PST

  •  And speaking of Jesus and race... (0+ / 0-)

    When I saw The Greatest Story Ever Told some years back, I noticed Jesus had a remarkable resemblance to the guy who preceded Captain Kirk as commander of the Enterprise, at least in the TOS universe. We make God in our own image.

    The artistic representations of Jesus that are most common are knockoffs of DaVinci's Last Supper version. And DaVinci used the the models that were available to him, a bunch of Italians.

    On the other hand, the actual Jesus would have looked more like an Sephardic Jew, or an Arab.

    The oldest for of Christianity in the world, even older than Roman Catholicism, are the Coptics of Egypt and Ethiopia. Would their Jesus look like either Jeffery Hunter, or DaVinci's Jesus? Take a look.

    It's that normative bias, again - the tendency for the majority group to think that their own configuration is the default setting for everybody else.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:44:56 AM PST

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