Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What color is Santa Claus?

Santa Claus is shown as a portly, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, red trousers, and black leather belt and boots, carrying a bag full of gifts for good children everywhere.

But what color is he?

Fox personality Megyn Kelly touched off an uproar last week when she said: “Santa just is white…Santa is what he is.” When the snow hit the fan, and viewers complained, Kelly attempted an apology of sorts, "We know there is no Santa." Bill O'Reilly then weighed in on The O'Reilly Factor, “Miss Kelly is correct. Santa was a white person.” O'Reilly added, “Does it matter? No, it doesn’t matter.”  O'Reilly chalks it up to Fox "baiting", saying, “That’s why Miss Megyn got headlines about a Santa Claus remark that was totally harmless.”

"Bah humbug!" says the old man to naysayers Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly. The old man is reminded of another time and place. It is 1897 and eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon writes the New York Sun, asking is Santa is real.

Dear Editor,
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in the Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.

The newpaper's response was quick and printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.

Does it matter? It mattered then and it matters today, it matters to children everywhere. The old man wants to imagine a nine year old child, let us call her Virginia, and let her ask the question not to Miss Megyn or Mr. Bill but to Francis Pharcellus Church who wrote the newspaper's response to Virgina. Let the child be white or black, brown or yellow, red or green, or a thousand shades and hues in between, the answer should be the same.

VIRGINIA, your Friends at Fox are wrong. They have been affected by the cynicism of a skeptical age. They believe only what they see. And they see only very little. And they have forgotten what it means to be small and impressionable. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little news minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

VIRGINIA, keep in mind, that men and women, and news reporters too, can not even agree on the name Santa Claus - Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and St. Nick are a few names that have been used. Why in France, he is called Noel; in Germany and Austria, Christkind or Weihnachtsmann; in the Netherlands, Sinterklaas; in Russia, Grandpa Frost. VIRGINIA, this list is but a drop in the bucket of kindness. For the naming goes on throughout the world. In every continent on the globe, good men and women recognize good kindness does and the spirit of giving, and so they have identified this spirit in their own unique cultures.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. And who knows what color he is, for he comes only when we are fast asleep. ... Alas! how dreary the world would be if only one country possessed the true Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. And yet we know that Santa is known everywhere in the world, that the spirit of gift giving and kindness is universally shared by all good boys and girls, and by their parents as well. Without this knowledge, the eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

You might as well not believe in Santa Claus! ... You might get your papa to take you to every store and mall in town to see Santa Claus and you will find that Santa, indeed, comes in all shapes and sizes, and all colors. But even if you see portly jolly Santa Claus in his red coat and hat with a white face, what would that prove? These mall Santas embody only the spirit of Christmas and gift giving. Nobody sees the true Santa Claus, but that is no sign of who and what Santa is. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders ... unseen and unseeable in the world.

Does it matter? VIRGINIA, Of course it matters. No newsman or woman can claim Santa as their own. Santa Claus belongs to all of us and especially to the children of the world.

Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A hundred years, a thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to visit ... children all over the world and make glad the heart of childhood.

Maybe, the old man thinks, it is time to turn off the television and grab a good book. And remember this Christmas and Holiday season, to look for Santa in your heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment