The Color of Santa

“I never believed in Santa because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.” – Dick Gregory

Lil Bebe
by DaniLeigh


“Jesus was a white man too… as is Santa, I just want the kids watching to know that…” – Megyn Kelly, Fox News Dec 12, 2013

The Color of Santa Claus

by Kendall F. Person

2 boys by Victoria Borodinova

Saint Nicholas was a legend in his day. Loved and admired for his generosity as he gave away his wealth, traveling the countryside, uplifting the poor and sick. It is believed, that in his kindness, he saved three sisters from being sold into slavery. He hailed from Turkey, an elaborate, fiercely independent nation, that literally connects the Middle East to Europe. They identify by ethnicity or religion, not by color of skin.

The American depiction of Saint Nicholas as a jolly old man, was the imagination of the creator of the modern Santa Claus, whose marketing prowess, ushered in the ‘shopping mall Christmas’ Americans celebrate till this day. St. Nick made his grand appearance into the lives of children via advertisements in 1841, a time when Black Americans were slaves. So there was no reason to imagine him any color but White. But that is a point, I wish did not need making. The real life legend, as well as the animated figure were about delivering peace on earth. But somehow, when it comes to race, we have a knack to turn the beautiful, ugly.

The firing of Megan Kelly by NBC was inevitable, and the black face overblown debacle, was simply the straw.


The Color of Santa
a shuttered Adult Movie Theatre

1969, twas the night before Christmas and my mother was pregnant with twins, who were – for context – born only seven days later on New Year’s Eve. I was only three years old, and while I do not remember most of the details, I do remember wondering “Mom. Where are you going?”  She and my stepfather, briefly owned a cleaning company. From what I understand, things were kind of tight that year, so they contracted with an adult movie theatre to clean the dirty place up; make it look clean again. But they decided to wait until it closed, which was in the wee hours of the morning.

Childhood Girls
Childhood Girls by Cheryl Holt

I grew up the middle child and the 2nd son, but I was never invisible, the way middle children were often portrayed, like Jan Brady. Nor was I the understudy to my older brother, like Peter Brady, Jan’s brother. I had two younger brothers and one younger sister, so I was the oldest of them and since my Mother worked two jobs more often than one, and my older sister had a different life, and the eldest son, pushed against the rules, I became the helper, a role traditionally assigned or assumed by the oldest one. But I did not mind.

The Kick
The Kick by Sasint

No idea the cause or the reason, but it would not matter anyway (may He be resting in peace) but on December 24, 1969 my stepfather abandoned their contract, and on her work ethic alone, it was not an option my mother would have ever considered, but that is not why she completed the contract. At some odd hour of the morning, in the dead of winter in the Rocky Mountains nine months pregnant, with small children at home, she picked up my Grandmother and they scrubbed the filthy floors, while triple XXX movies played on, and scattered moans emitted from the sparse crowd, so she could earn extra money, because she wanted her kids to believe in Santa Claus. But at three years old, on Christmas Day, when my mother ran in well past dawn, but before noon I assume, with gifts for all, and still happily adoring the credit on the old dude

But I knew that Santa was my Mom, and all the parents were Santa to their kids too, which makes the color of Santa, the color of love.

this is… The Neighborhood

According to the History Channel’s website: The Legend of St. Nicholas


  1. Hi, I was disappointed when I discovered my mother putting presents under the tree early one morning. I was about 8. Our household at that time with my step-father was chaotic so I was already unhappy. I knew then there was no Santa Claus. However, I am that person who loved “Miracle on 34th Street”-the whole cast. And “Elf”. Yes, for me Santa is a White man, simply because that is what I became accustomed to as I grew up. As an adult I have read about different depictions of St. Nick and they are all representative of “joy” and “good tidings”. I’m so entrenched in the idea of a White Santa though that a Black Santa looks like an imposter. It simply never occurred to me to question why Santa wasn’t Black, when I was a child and certainly not after I figured out my mother was Santa. But I hung onto the Fantasy with Santa being White. I know the idea is the same. The fantasy of Santa flying through the air with his reindeer and then coming down the chimminy and eating the cookies left out for him is really the point. Fantasy. I never discussed the color of Santa Claus with my daughter. I just tried not to let her see me put the presents under the tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have often said, while I may breach a topic, it’s down here in the community where we can learn from one another by simply sharing and listening. Love your story. Because it was yours. (big smile)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. I, too, grew up like the author. With my experiences, I have always felt our divide as a country and society is much more of a financial divide than a racial divide. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Thank you for this opportunity for me to remember my roots

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to agree No Brooks. It’s just that segregation sees race first. Thank you for venturing into The Neighborhood and adding your voice. You are appreciated so much.


  3. I hope I live long enough to see the day when the colour of your skin is not the colour of your character. I doubt I will. But I will always hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dick Gregory made his mark, all too often with sensationalism. Reaching my teens in 1951, living in the South Bronx, NYC, even then I knew, no ethnic group had a monopoly on race hatred criminal minded peoples, of any age. Let’s balance this out. It is also stated, whites could walk through a black neighborhood without fear. To harm a white person was known to bring down the weight of law on the perpetrator. The criminal mind is not unique by ethnic identities; –north, east, west, south of any inhabited land mass. But then, who is concerned about sensationalism when money is to be made.

    My good fortune was growing my teen years on a block where Afro, Irish, Spanish, Italian, Jewish descendant Americans lived. 567 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NYC. (middle of the block}

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding your voice MMartinez. I may have gotten a little lost, unless you are making two separate points. . “Let’s balance this out….” which person or demographic are you referrring to?


      • Ok. Separating points. Comments are brief and do lead to confusion, so much to be said in so limited space. 😉

        Dick Gregory saying; “no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark”; –simply states there were those of criminal racist minds in his neighborhood. Neighborhood for me was the block I grew up on into my teen years.

        “Let’s balance this out”…To much is laid on the black communities. In fact, I feel we have been led far astray from what we struggled for from the 1950s-1970s. Well guess I’ve done it again.

        The block I grew up on exposed and taught me to love people for being people. As far as Santa lost belief in that fairy tale in my young years when I saw my grandmother buy a toy boat with a motor to play with in the tub. Thanks for a blog that is so responsive…..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. At Lycian ruins in Myra, Turkey, a local academic made the case that Santa was a Turk. I still recall a little confab which sprang up over tea, in response to my suspicion. Son of a wealthy grain merchant, he doled cargo out to starving countrymen as his father’s ships made their way to what is now Italy … and when the hold was opened, it remained full. It’s one miracle Catholics required to style Nicholas as a Saint. Perhaps that and renouncing his wealth.
    I’m glad for the experience; I was much more open-minded when told my history had been white-washed in other instances. (Alexandre Dumas, for example.)
    My Kentucky ancestors had to learn to identify skin color. When contending with Native warriors for settlement, I found first-hand account of my 4x great-grandfather’s peer referring to his counterparts as “yellow devils.” Though Christian imagery framed intercultural approbation, concept of the Red Man had not been inculcated, generally, among immigrant White Euro-Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger – You are appreciated for adding your story and your history without apologies nor fear. It boosts message of initial offering and brings up closer together by connecting dots. Always a pleasure my friend.


  6. MusicLuv to ALL eyes that see read and hear this. Love It! In a being so divided by political rhetoric and non-presidential verbal confrontation, the firing is just a symbolic gesture to appease to VOICES getting louder of the discuss by a conditioned base of shall we say, uneducated believers of REAL TRUTH. Your story is a beautiful very touchable truth, marred by the sad conditioned belief to the contrary. Keep bring it my brother.
    The SC. / credentials can be used.

    Liked by 2 people

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