The popular portrayals of Christmas in the United States reinforce the ‘white default’ that takes an assumed white perspective: from matters of marketing and consumerism, to social values and theology.
|Frosty is the only character that|
should consistently be white
With all the publicity and social construction, both Santa and Jesus are functionally white for many Christians in the United States. But there are serious consequences to the predominant perceptions of a white Jesus. Theologians have noted that "if we accept a White Jesus, if that is the image we see, we have also adopted an image of salvation, of health, wholeness, happiness, that also comes to us via a White culture and comes to us with a White value system." This imagery perpetuates the tenancy of white folk to view themselves as morally superior and as rightful leaders.
Families recently visiting a black Santa at a Los Angeles mall remarked that "I just don’t want [my godson] to think that all greatness comes from a different race…There’s Santa Clauses his color doing good work, too." Furthermore, added another parent, "We need our kids to understand that good things happen in chocolate skin...We are often bombarded with the opposite. We’re not trying to exclude anybody, but [instead] celebrate our chocolate skin."
Representation matters. Children need to learn that good things (both Christmas presents, and salvation itself) can come from many different races and nationalities (see example nativities from Paul Neeley). We all need Black Santa. And we need Asian Santa, Native Santa and Latino Santa too.