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What did Santa Claus and Jesus really look like?
December 17, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
FOX News's Megyn Kelly caused an uproar last week when she said "Santa just IS white" while offering commentary on a Slate Magazine column saying we should do away with Santa Claus and have a Santa Penguin instead. Aisha Harris's column can be found at http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2013/12/santa_claus_an_old_white_man_not_anymore_meet_santa_the_penguin_a_new_christmas.html Kelly also claimed that Jesus Christ was white. Kelly apparently later said her remark was tongue in cheek.
Personally, I have no problem with a black or Chinese or American Indian or white Santa, particularly in diverse communities. Preschoolers in Harlem might enjoy seeing a black Santa; kids on one of the Indian reservations here would probably enjoy seeing a Native American Santa. Men of all races and ages dress up in Santa Claus suits and a good time is had by all. Likewise, many churches depict Jesus as black or white or Asian or American Indian, depending on the community being served.
Most of the Santa figurines I have at home make Santa look pretty Scandinavian, maybe because I've bought them in an area where so many people are of German or Scandinavian descent. At home I have a vintage statue of a blonde, blue-eyed Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus and another statue showing a European looking Joseph with his arm around a fair haired, European-looking, pregnant Virgin Mary. I also have a statue showing a Native American Madonna, made by a local artist. I think all of them are beautiful.
But if we want to get really technical, the original St. Nick was not black or northern European either. Good St. Nicholas was Greek and looked like a Southern European man with a Mediterranean complexion. Forensic scientists actually created a reconstruction of what he probably looked like, using his saintly remains. It can be seen here: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-face/ As for the historical Jesus, he likely looked Semitic and probably quite a bit like today's Jews and Arabs. Here is an interpretive painting of what a first century Semitic man would have looked like: http://www.donatoart.com/semitic.html The painting appeared in a CNN special called "The Mystery of Jesus."
What do you think of the controversy over Kelly's comments?
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