The digital nature of today’s society is aggravating to social stereotypes. It’s almost impossible to shield your children and yourself from the onslaught of negativity. Black men are vilified in the media on a consistent basis. Walking down the street, drinking coffee and even when they are saving lives from a mass shooter. The judgement is constant. The innocent are always guilty. Then on top of that there is also the widely shared and often believed propaganda that states Black parents are failures; that we live off the system, abuse drugs and create broken homes. This is far from the truth and time and time again proven statistically inaccurate, but yet you can hear this espoused everyday in some shape or form. For these reasons and more, everything I do is to counteract this very real assault on the well-being of me and my children. In my house Christmas is Black.
Let’s start with some facts. The images that are widely used to celebrate Christmas are not historically accurate. St. Nick, the basis of the beloved Christmas hero Santa Claus is a real man from what is now modern day Turkey. Scientists were able to scan his bones and recreate his likeness. He is an ethnic man of color. He is someone who would not be allowed to immigrate to this country today. The same goes for Jesus, which is the reason for this occasion. A brown skinned man with hair like wool who was persecuted for his belief that all men deserve mercy. Yet these beloved idols cannot be celebrated unless their images are recreated in whiteness. How as a mother could I support that ideology in my home?
Your home is a safe place to shelter you from the ills of the outside world. I will not subject my children to the imaginary judgement of a fictional white man. They have to deal that with enough in real life. A snow skinned blue-eyed figure does not have the right to tell them they are naughty or claim to be the bearer of gifts if they are good. I know several families who don’t allow the myth of Santa in their home for that very reason. I like the fun of it but I also make a few things clear. Mommy and daddy work hard to so we can give Santa money to buy your toys, and Santa is Black. As a parent my children need to believe above all else that I can provide them all that they need and some of what they want. They shouldn’t hope that a white version of a fictional character judges them as worthy. This may seem trivial or even absurd to those who don’t truly understand what it is like to grow up Black in America but this is one thing I can do counter the barrage of negativity innocent brown children live with. I can let them find joy and faith in heroes that look like them. Perhaps, if all people refused to accept the altering and erasure of certain cultures we would be better prepared to adapt to a global society and leave behind the hatred. If you devoutly pray to man of color you may think twice before calling 9-1-1 when you see a man of the same color living life.
I know that this is hard to digest for some readers. It may seem that I am politicizing an innocent holiday tradition. I am not. My mother sought out Black Santa for pictures when I was young. I can still remember the joy she had when we went to see the first one. It was hard for me to completely understand everything behind it but I knew it was something special. When I was in middle school she began collecting Black Santa figurines and now we both have them all over the house. We bonded over the search and now it is a holiday tradition.
When you internalize microaggressions and blatant racism everyday you look for moments of respite. Being able to smile at a little brown babe in a manger or make a wish to a cheery bearded saint with glowing melanin is a much needed Christmas miracle. As for me and my house, we shall worship the Lord… and bask in his beautiful brown skin.