Santa is a white man, just like Jesus

Man, they must select Fox News commentators for racism as well as stupidity. Here’s a video of Megyn Kelly indignantly arguing on an important issue: Santa Claus must be white.

She’s offended that someone suggested that we could have a black Santa Claus.

Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa.

Hint to Planet Fox: Santa is a fictitious, imaginary character. There really isn’t a man who appears on Christmas eve to clamber down your chimney, so it’s absurd to argue about his skin color, or gender, or species, or whether its biochemistry is carbon-based. He doesn’t exist. Personally, I prefer to imagine that Santa just snakes a tentacle down a ventilation duct — it gets around the logistical issues neatly, and it also increases efficiency at apartment complexes, since he can multitask.

But Kelly has historical precedent! Here’s her slam-dunk counter-argument.

You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?

So, Megyn Kelly, do you have a picture of Jesus? One from, say, 30 AD? I’d like to see it, since after all you’re so confident that there is verifiable, historical evidence for his existence, as well as his ethnic status as a White Man.

I’d also like to point out that by Christian mythology, Jesus is currently in an incorporeal state, somehow inexplicably oscillating in some incomprehensible quantum-like state with his dad and a ghost. You can tell me exactly how you determined the melanocyte density in his invisible skin right after you explain the Trinity to me.


You must read this twitter exchange about the whiteness of Santa. It just gets weirder and weirder.

Comments

  1. raven says

    You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man,…

    Megyn Kelly is either stupid or lying. Or both.

    The ancient Jews were a semitic people and looked more or less like Arabs. In fact, half of Israel’s population are middle east Jews and still do.

    Today we would call them brown people. Including jesus.

  2. unbound says

    Now you are just being silly PZ. Everyone knows that Jesus is a ghost and all ghosts are white…

  3. chigau (違う) says

    Jesus ascended into heaven, body and all.
    His Mum was assumed into heaven.
    And maybe Enoch and Elijah were taken up.
    Possibly Moses.
    and V.M. Smith.

  4. says

    Personally, I prefer to imagine that Santa just snakes a tentacle down a ventilation duct

    Charles Stross beat you to it.
    raven

    The ancient Jews were a semitic people and looked more or less like Arabs. In fact, half of Israel’s population are middle east Jews and still do.

    Indeed, given when and where St Nicholas of Myra lived, I would expect him to have a considerably darker complexion than most modern people would consider white. Of course, other parts of the Santa Claus story are modified from tale of Odin, who was always depicted as pale-skinned, but somehow I don’t think that the Fox crew would like the argument “Santa is really Odin, so of course he’s white”.

  5. yoav says

    At the 2:30 mark the one 2nd from right mention that you can’t just take facts and change them to fit a political agenda, there goes the entire fix noise lineup.

  6. Randomfactor says

    the melanocyte density in his invisible skin

    His invisible skin is pink, just like his horn.

  7. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Ancient Semitic Jews looked very similar to Arabs. Mainly because they of the same ethnic group, i.e. Semitic. And St. Nicholas was born in 4th century Anatolia. So neither of them were white. So shut up, Megyn Kelly.

  8. says

    Putting the stuff about Jesus aside, it looks like she’s saying it is a verifiable fact that Santa is a historical figure. I guess we are not to mind that the Santa of today resembles little of the historical figure(s) he’s based on.

  9. says

    Indeed, given when and where St Nicholas of Myra lived, I would expect him to have a considerably darker complexion than most modern people would consider white.

    Since she positively excluded Latinos from the possible Santas I’d like to propose a test: Spot the Greek guy.
    Give her 100 fotos of Greek and Latino men and let’s see how reliably she can identify the Greek ones.

  10. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Where would we be without Fox News to remind us that Santa Claus, like the President of the United States, is supposed to be a white guy?

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Guest: If people want to represent him as […] a drag queen, I think our social fabric can take the elasticity…

    Megyn Kelly: [slow, disapproving tone:] You had to go there

    Because
    guest) trans* folk are a prop for you to use when trolling

    and,

    Kelly) trans* folk are so awful that the mere mention of trans* folk degrades the entire conversation.

    Thank you both for being bigoted as F.

  12. says

    Reminds me of the uproar when it was announced that the role of Heimdall in the Thor movie would be played by Idris Elba. Racists practically incandesced.

  13. yazikus says

    Whenever I see a picture of white jesus, I think, oh look, it is Mormon Jesus. Bright blue eyes, shiny blond hair, maybe some lambs or something. I can’t believe she said it was a verifiable fact… What on earth could verify that? Why would she even say something that could so easily be refuted?

  14. says

    Reminds me of the uproar when it was announced that the role of Heimdall in the Thor movie would be played by Idris Elba. Racists practically incandesced.

    I approve of Idris Elba as almost everybody. There should be two of them so they could play twice as many roles.

  15. says

    Raven @2

    Surely she has to be trying out for a comedy routine? Nobody could be that stupid and breathe without a respirator, surely? And, doesn’t lying require that the liar thinks somebody will believe them? If she thinks that, I want proof she has more organs than a flat-worm, and more brains than a sponge.

  16. typecaster says

    and V.M. Smith.

    He wasn’t taken up bodily. There was enough left behind that Jubal and the gang could make soup.
    .

    melanocyte

    I think the accepted term is melanoclorians.

  17. says

    I do have to say that I saw a fundagelical idiot on TV, long ago, who baldly said Jesus spoke unaccented American English. He did, however, have a chain of reasoning, of some sort… Jesus spoke English, but in a reverse Babel sort of miracle, everybody heard his words in their native language.

    Honestly, that makes more sense than what Megyn is spouting.

  18. yazikus says

    On a related note, there’s a growing uproar about Holland’s distasteful “zwarte piet” (“black pete”)

    Flavia over at Red Light Polotics has been covering this as well, I hadn’t known about it before then.

  19. cartomancer says

    All good catholics who understand transubstantiation know that Jesus’s skin looks exactly like whatever piece of bread you’ve summoned him into at that Sunday. Skin colour is an accidental property of a man, and the accidents of the bread are the ones Jesus has at the time, not his own.

    So he can be black or white depending on whether you use brown or white bread, or make him out of burnt toast. Likewise his blood can be sparkling or still.

    Extrapolating to the Santa case, it is obvious that the bread and wine are substituted for sherry and a mince pie. So clearly Santa’s skin is the colour of baked pastry on the pie you use.

  20. robro says

    Spot the Greek guy. Give her 100 fotos of Greek and Latino men and let’s see how reliably she can identify the Greek ones.

    Can we include Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Elizabeth, in the fotos? He was born in Greece in the Greek royal family. I mean, how much more Greek could you get.

  21. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Jesus = Dad’s a god, mom’s a human

    Does fucking GET any more mixed race than that?

    Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that

    I can’t figure out if she’s still talking about whiteness or if she has moved on and is “merely” asserting that the “verifiable fact” that applies equally to Jesus and SC is historicity.

    Either way, I would just love to have her try to cite the source on live TV.

    But more than what she can prove or disprove about any one topic, this is what she considers “verifiable fact”!

    New tagline for any story involving Megyn Kelly:

    If News Anchor is the job for which she was most qualified, for what job was she least qualified?

  22. vaiyt says

    Reminds me of the uproar when it was announced that the role of Heimdall in the Thor movie would be played by Idris Elba. Racists practically incandesced.

    One could only wish they would spontaneously combust.

  23. cuervodecuero says

    It’s good to see Ms M boldly declaring where her colour lines are and where they need to be before she’s able to breathe freely.

    The definition of WhiteTM has been expanding for a few centuries now, every time the dominant paleskins feel endangered enough by ‘brown’ people to start putting out the welcome mat for previously non-white folks, while winking and cheerfully asking them to pull the ladder up after them when they come in the elite door.

    What’s the commentator’s surname again? Her ethnic heritage? During the immigration period to the Americas, the Irish weren’t WhiteTM. Neither were Slavs nor Poles or a long list of Eastern Europeans. ‘Swarthy’ Greeks and Italians weren’t WhiteTM either to the sensibilities of the snooty Anglos, let alone Turks and Anatolians. Heck, even Scandinavians were considered too ‘ethnic’ for Anglo tastes, until they needed them to bolster the visible ranks.

    Ms M sounds awash in the bleating rhetoric of the’demographic winter of WhiteTM hold on power in the Americas’. Worse than Creeping Sharia law y’all, letting those ‘politically correct’ communist notions contaminate icons of American festival culture.

    But it’s post-racial America, folks!

  24. says

    robro

    Can we include Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Elizabeth, in the fotos? He was born in Greece in the Greek royal family. I mean, how much more Greek could you get.

    I have this feeling that he is what she thinks Greek people look like, especially those who lived 1500 years ago in what’s Turkey these days…

  25. kosk11348 says

    I’d also like to point out that by Christian mythology, Jesus is currently in an incorporeal state, somehow inexplicably oscillating in some incomprehensible quantum-like state with his dad and a ghost. You can tell me exactly how you determined the melanocyte density in his invisible skin right after you explain the Trinity to me.

    Not true! Jesus ascended into the sky (and presumably onto Heaven) with his body intact. He is one of the few individuals ever to reach Heaven while still alive. (Enoch and Elijah are also said to have ascended). So Jesus’ skin shouldn’t be invisible, but it should still bear the wounds of his crucifixion.

    There are also many interesting implications to this scenario. I once pointed out that if Jesus hadn’t emptied his bowels before the ascension, it is quite likely that he is still full of shit. That didn’t go over well.

  26. CJO says

    A cultural Greek of Lycia, Nikolaos could have been of any number of ethnicities. Greek, of course, with roots going back to any number of waves of immigration, from the colonizing of Ionia a thousand years before he was born to the Macedonian conquest, to more recent Roman era migrations. He could have been native Lycian, Scythian, or even Persian. His father’s name appears to be unknown (there are two different traditional attributions of parentage, in both the names are Greek), but it wouldn’t necessarily tell. People who adopted Grek mores throughout the Hellenistic world often gave their children Greek names regardless of ancestry.

    Anyway, what is her problem? Why is it important whether or not historical people –whose lives predated the concept– were what she would consider “white”? Oh, right, it’s Fox News. It’s not important.

  27. Zeppelin says

    Please please don’t turn this into a discussion about Zwarte Piet

    Actually fuck it

    Just because the US has a tradition of racist comedy acts involving blackface doesn’t mean that a Dutch guy painting his face black for a christmas tradition is being racist. There is nothing inherently racist about disguising yourself to represent a person of another ethnicity or skin colour, even if it’s a crude disguise. Especially if the crudeness of the disguise is a historical tradition and universally understood to be iconic rather than a representation of actual contemporary black people.

  28. says

    ThinkProgress has an article responding to Ms Kelly:

    Similarly, Saint Nicholas, the Christian saint who is the earliest figure in the Santa Claus myth, was born in the city of Patara, now known as Arsinoe, in Turkey. He’s sometimes referred to as a Greek, because Turkey was under Greek rule at the time of his birth, but the shifting boundaries of empires don’t change the fact that Saint Nicholas’ skin tone might well have such that it would have gotten him stopped and frisked while trying to enter homes in certain neighborhoods in New York City late at night.

    That said, Santa Claus is frequently depicted as a white guy today precisely because of what Kelly said we absolutely must not do: “revise it in the middle of the legacy of the story.” As part of the long process of formalizing a celebration of the birth of Christ–which includes shifting the purported date of Jesus’ arrival in the world to midwinter to coopt pagan observances and then suppressing said observances–Saint Nicholas gets mashed up with other figures. These include Sinterklass, who may be a variation of the Norse god Odin, and who’s part of holiday observances in places as varied as the Netherlands and Greece. Father Christmas, the British character, has analogues in South America, most European countries, and the Caucuses. And this isn’t even including characters like Zwarte Piet, who’s part of Christmas folklore in Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium, who is, wait for it, of African origin. In the United States, many people and organizations have contributed to our modern conception of Santa Claus’ physical appearance, including the the political cartoonist and muckracker Thomas Nast, the White Rock Beverage company which used him to sell mineral water, and Haddon Sundblom, who drew Santa Claus for Coca-Cola’s famous 1930s advertising campaign.

    http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013/12/12/3056171/explain-megyn-kellys-fear-black-santa/

  29. sparks says

    In order for Santa to do everything we KNOW!11 he does, he’d have to be a shape-shifter with superior technology.

    Therefore Santa=alien!!11Eleventy

  30. says

    I’d also like to point out that by Christian mythology, Jesus is currently in an incorporeal state, somehow inexplicably oscillating in some incomprehensible quantum-like state with his dad and a ghost.

    I don’t know what stat Jesus is currently in, but I’m pretty sure he has a cat.

    ++++
    Zeppelin

    Just because the US has a tradition of racist comedy acts involving blackface doesn’t mean that a Dutch guy painting his face black for a christmas tradition is being racist.

    Yes, it means exactly that.
    It’s the exact same tradition with the portrayal of black people as stereotypical characters, subservient to white men. Just because you like it doesn’t mean it’s not fucking racist.

  31. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Zeppelin:

    It’s a European tradition. It’s definitely racist.

  32. gmacs says

    When I was a kid, we had white and black Santa figurines. I just assumed that, since he is magical being (immortal, able to visit hundreds of millions of homes in a single night, etc. etc.), he was without race and capable of changing his appearance on a whim.

    Like Tonks.

  33. CJO says

    Zeppelin:

    Let me get this straight. In order to rehabilitate stern old Sinterklaas in a gentler era he’s given a servant, who is explicitly a black Moor from Spain, and who takes on the boogeyman aspect of the Yuletide figure-of-legend, and that’s not racist?! It has nothing to do with blackface performers in the US. No need to go looking for where the racist perception might have slipped in; it was blatant from the very invention of the character.

  34. robro says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- @#35

    I have this feeling that he is what she thinks Greek people look like, especially those who lived 1500 years ago in what’s Turkey these days…

    Well, fer sure…all the great people of the past were White men, right?

    Interesting image of good old St. Nicholas of Myra. Maybe the paint changed color over time.

  35. busterggi says

    “Not true! Jesus ascended into the sky (and presumably onto Heaven) with his body intact”

    Holy explosive decompression!

  36. says

    Zepplin 38

    Just because the US has a tradition of racist comedy acts involving blackface doesn’t mean that a Dutch guy painting his face black for a christmas tradition is being racist.

    You’re right. American blackface acts have nothing to do with it. Black Pete stems from a Dutch tradition of racism, not an American one. Doesn’t make it any better.

    Especially if the crudeness of the disguise is a historical tradition and universally understood to be iconic rather than a representation of actual contemporary black people.

    Yes, a historical tradition dating to the time when the Netherlands were the hub, centre, and origin of the African slave trade. Not racist at all, in any way, amirite?
    CJO

    Let me get this straight. In order to rehabilitate stern old Sinterklaas in a gentler era he’s given a servant slave, who is explicitly a black Moor from Spain,

    FTFY
    ‘Servant’ is a very new way of describing it.

  37. skaduskitai says

    Well if Jesus was indeed “white” that would give weight to the theory that his father really was some roman soldier from some northern province. Wouldn’t it?

  38. RFW says

    Myra, of which St. Nicholas (the model for Santa Claus) was bishop, is now the Turkish town of Demre, located at lat/long 36.252856,29.986668. He would probably have been of Lycian or Greek descent.

    “Zwarte piet” may be a caricature of a chimney sweep, not an African, in which case the outrage over the black face makeup is on a par with the outrage of those who think the word “niggardly” has something to do with the N-word.

    Another possiblity is that Zwarte piet may be a representation of one of the three magi who attended the birth of Jeebus, Balthazar, often depicted as a black man.

    None of this settles the relevant controversies, but hopefully provides a more rational basis for argument than mere outrage.

  39. sharkjack says

    Ah yes, Zwarte Piet… One of the more blatant reasons I cringe whenever I see smug Dutch moral superiority being touted. Zwarte Piet is definitely racist. The difficulty I have to even establish this basic fact is saddening, but the sheer anger and displayed when people suggest we might want to change the holiday is downright frightening. It doesn’t help that since my generation has grown up with a slightly revised black through soot (rather than black as soot) and focus on pieten as characters, that since they don’t consider Piet inferior it’s therefore no longer racist. It’s a mess of nostalgia, nationalism, inability to face wrongs on social issues and a don’t rock the boat mentality.

  40. says

    PZ:

    Man, they must select Fox News commentators for racism as well as stupidity.

    Multiple chained redundancies noted.

    But, wait – did one of those human analogues say Jesus was white? Just how many Caucasian Europeans were in the Middle East in the 1st century? I can really only think of Romans as people who’d qualify as white – are we to think that Jesus was Roman? Or was Mary a Viking?

    Idiocy aside though, this makes sense – you wouldn’t expect the Fox bobbleheads to be able to admit that Jesus, granting that he existed in the first place, would’ve in all likelihood been a brown-skinned Palestinian.

  41. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    robro #31

    Can we include Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Elizabeth, in the fotos? He was born in Greece in the Greek royal family. I mean, how much more Greek could you get.

    In Europe, royal families were rarely of the same nationality of the nation they ruled.

    The main branch of the Greek royal family were from Denmark.

  42. zibble says

    @2 Raven

    The ancient Jews were a semitic people and looked more or less like Arabs. In fact, half of Israel’s population are middle east Jews and still do.

    Actually, interestingly enough, because no one actually knows where Nazareth was (and there’s a fair amount of evidence it never existed) there’s no conclusive agreement on what Jesus’ ethnicity would have been. Rome, at the time, was connected to both Europe and Africa, so a white or black Jesus are both feasible, in addition to a mediterranean or Semitic Jesus.

    This is not to diminish the brainless racism and nationalism inherit in blithely claiming Jesus looks like you, or in songs like “Jerusalem”.

  43. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I will concede that saying that Niklaos was white because he was born in a place that gets its name from a mongol invasion and spent centuries going back and forth between Asian, African, and European dominion is almost exactly like saying that we know Jesus was white because he lived just east of the Med.

  44. CJO says

    “Zwarte piet” may be a caricature of a chimney sweep, not an African, in which case the outrage over the black face makeup is on a par with the outrage of those who think the word “niggardly” has something to do with the N-word.

    From the Wiki entry:

    In 1859, Dutch newspaper De Tijd noticed that Saint Nicholas nowadays was often accompanied by “a Negro, who, under the name of Pieter, mijn knecht, is no less popular than the Holy Bishop himself”

    The figure was explicitly conceived of, from its inception, as a Moor, from Spain, a person of African descent.

  45. says

    The main branch of the Greek royal family were from Denmark.

    And of course, the Danish royal family are actually Germans, just like the British royals. Royal houses are a mess of inbreeding and conquest. They don’t necessarily have anything in common with the regular population.

  46. futurechemist says

    Sounds like the episode of Family Guy “Love Thy Trophy”. Peter accidentally starts a race riot amongst a diverse group of pre-schoolers because eahc of them expects Santa to look like them.

  47. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    LykeX, we will not even touch upon the fact that Queen Victoria tried to have her family in place in all of the empires of Europe. The idea being that because they were all family, they would not fight.

    We can see how well that worked out.

  48. says

    LykeX #64 re Western European royal families – there’s been so much intermarriage over so many centuries that the only useful ethnic descriptor for modern monarchs is “royal”, no matter how much they perform cultural affinity theatre with their subjects. That Queen Victoria’s ancestors were the royal family of Hanover doesn’t make her or her descendants “German” any more than they are Danish/English/French/Spanish/Russian/Austrian/Italian/Scottish – after all, George I was only able to ascend to the throne of England after the death of the Stuart Queen Anne because of his own Stuart ancestry.

  49. robro says

    Goodbye Enemy Janine @#57

    In Europe, royal families were rarely of the same nationality of the nation they ruled. The main branch of the Greek royal family were from Denmark.

    Yes, I know. House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, in fact. He’s a distant cousin of Elizabeth. His mother was the great-granddaughter for Victoria. The English royal family is also German. Those aristocrats, you know.

  50. robro says

    re Zwarte Piet: Along the border of England-Wales, groups perform Morris dance in black face. It’s a long standing tradition going back to at least the 15th century from what I’ve read. Some think that “Morris” is derived for Moor, but that could a folk etymology. I’ve wondered, though, if this “black” companion of St. Nicholas is an expression of the Krampus tradition, who is also black in some incarnations.

  51. Zigbot says

    “Zwarte piet” may be a caricature of a chimney sweep, not an African, in which case the outrage over the black face makeup is on a par with the outrage of those who think the word “niggardly” has something to do with the N-word… None of this settles the relevant controversies, but hopefully provides a more rational basis for argument than mere outrage.

    Right, because chimney sweeps are known for spontaneously sprouting afros and enormous bright red clown lips after a sooty day at work. Of course! No offensive caricatures of black people here, no sir. It’s all just chimney sweeps. What a totally rational and not at all cowardly position to take. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I’m feeling pretty silly that I got so outraged over nothing now that RFW has enlightened us.

  52. rogerfirth says

    So he can be black or white depending on whether you use brown or white bread, or make him out of burnt toast. Likewise his blood can be sparkling or still.

    And if you use a decent merlot, he’d be about 150 times the legal limit. Ouch.

  53. Hatchetfish says

    ” Personally, I prefer to imagine that Santa just snakes a tentacle down a ventilation duct — it gets around the logistical issues neatly, and it also increases efficiency at apartment complexes, since he can multitask.”

    Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but it took me three readings of that sentence to not read “testicle” for tentacle. Finally seeing it correctly stopped the laughing, but was a genuine relief.

  54. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Is no one else impressed by the diversity of the Fox panel discussing the skin color of Santa? Clearly these people understand what it’s like to have a Santa that looks nothing like them.

    I mean, only one of them has a beard, and it’s not even white.

  55. Lyle says

    @cuervodecuero #34

    The definition of WhiteTM has been expanding for a few centuries now, every time the dominant paleskins feel endangered enough by ‘brown’ people to start putting out the welcome mat for previously non-white folks, while winking and cheerfully asking them to pull the ladder up after them when they come in the elite door.

    Soon enough Martin Luther King, Jr. will be declared white.

  56. Who Cares says

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy(#52):
    The initial version (appeared around 1850) was a page/servant to St. Nick. Specifically not an indentured servant or slave, since the Netherlands supported slavery until 1863 that distinction mattered.

    Sad thing is that the modern version is probably more racist then the original.
    The intermediate version turned into a bogeyman, spy, silly talker and stupid. Only ‘good’ thing at this point is that they started to dress him as people thought a 16th/17th century Spanish noble or one of his pages.
    Consolation is that things are changing. The intermediate version lost the switch, the one that St. Nick originally used on bad kids, inability to talk normal, general stupidity (although you wouldn’t notice that if you would be watching the official TV show) and turned into a generally competent assistant to an absent minded old guy who is a children’s friend.

    And that last bit makes it harder for people to see this as racism because he’s nice.

  57. intron says

    Clearly she is right, just look at all the Coke ads. Sheesh.

    For the record, the *density* of the melanocytes is not responsible for the differences in skin coloration, for the most part (it does vary some, but within a fairly narrow range). They differ in their productivity of the melanins.

  58. Nick Gotts says

    Can we include Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Elizabeth, in the fotos? He was born in Greece in the Greek royal family. I mean, how much more Greek could you get. – robro@31

    You could get quite a bit more Greek, actually (as I suspect you’re well aware)! He was born into the Greek royal family, but that family was transplanted from Denmark (his great-grandfather in the male line was Christian IX of Denmark) and of his recent ancestors, only his father was born in Greece.

  59. randay says

    “The Friendly Atheist” has Jon Stewart’s take on this story. It’ up there now and worth a look-see.

    “Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact”, but that is what Fux News means as “verifiable” and “fact”. The BBC did a facial reconstruction of a typical man at the time and place where Jesus is said to have lived. It is highly highly improbable that Jesus, who is not a known historical figure, was white. Jesus is just another fictional imaginary character.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1243339.stm

  60. Nick Gotts says

    LykeX #64 re Western European royal families – there’s been so much intermarriage over so many centuries that the only useful ethnic descriptor for modern monarchs is “royal”, no matter how much they perform cultural affinity theatre with their subjects. – tigtog@67

    Not entirely. Before the Napoleonic Wars, Germany included scores of monarchies, and so provided brides to kings and princes of non-German states on a regular basis – so if you go back a few centuries, all the current royals would have mostly German ancestry.

  61. says

    Nick Gotts #85: But what was the ancestry of those royal brides who happen to be born into German royal houses? Their forebears had intermarried all around Europe as well – that’s why there was Scottish royal Stuart ancestry in the House of Hanover in the first place.

    The Stuarts had intermarried so widely amongst European royalty that there were in fact 50-odd royals with a closer claim to the English throne after the death of Anne Stuart than George of Hanover – but they were disqualified because they were Catholic.

    The Stuart royal dynasty was not unusual in this level of broad intermarriage with other royal houses, and because royal families considered themselves “royal” above all other affinities, it’s terribly simplistic to simply identify them as belonging to the same ethnicity/culture as the peoples they ruled. For instance, Queen Victoria didn’t marry her children into so many other royal families hoping for peace between them all because they would be related (she was far too well educated in history for that) – she married her royal offspring to other royal scions so that her grandchildren would also be royal on both sides, because that mattered a great deal more than them being British on both sides, at that period of history.

    [BTW, for the record: I'm a history buff fascinated by the record of royal alliances/affinities/intrigues (and knowing the many many histories of royal overreach/greed/failure is why I'm not a monarchist).]

  62. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @RFW

    “Zwarte piet” may be a caricature of a chimney sweep, not an African, in which case the outrage over the black face makeup is on a par with the outrage of those who think the word “niggardly” has something to do with the N-word.

    Nope. My company’s parent-company is Dutch, and hence I work with a lot of Dutch people. Zwarte Piet is Sinterklaas’ Moorish servant boy. The chimney sweep story is an ad-hoc rationalisation recently applied by “Traditionalists” in response to the debate going on in the Netherlands, where the blatant racism of Zwarte Piet has become something of a controversial issue.

  63. Nick Gotts says

    But what was the ancestry of those royal brides who happen to be born into German royal houses? – tigtog@86

    Well again, mostly German, because German royal houses outnumbered all the others put together for centuries. And of course, if you go back far enough, all the royal houses of Europe would have had a lot of ancestry among the German aristocracy that imposed itself on most of western Europe in the wake of the “barbarian” invasions of the western Roman Empire.

  64. Lyle says

    @Giliell #82

    Well, he’s an honourable white whose fight was about all the things Fox News hates

    No, you see, Fox News hates racism. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s was against racism. There’s lots of racism against white people these days, and Martin Luther King, Jr. would have hated that. He would have said, “white people should be free at last to demand that imaginary characters are not judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

    Naturally, I’m joking. Of course, I don’t put it outside of the realm of possibility that the twits on Fox News would be beyond invoking Dr. King, Jr. in their fight against this scary new apartheid called “racial equality.” After all, if no race is better, how do you decide who to hire between two candidates for a job? How do you decide whether somebody is lazy or fastidious? How do you decide which driver going 5mph over the speed limit to pull over? Even worse, if we become a raceless society, how do you describe people to the police if you can’t talk about their skin color?

    Damn it, damn it, damn it! I skidded back into sarcasm-laced rage ranting. I only do so because this horse isn’t dead yet. I’m still regularly appalled at just how much racism permeates our culture, and at just how frequently I find that I am not an exception.

  65. alkisvonidas says

    @Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-:

    Very white historical St. Nick
    Please note the traditional display of a carmine coat and long white beard and white fur and big belly and red cheeks and especially his faithful reindeer.

    Actually, Saint Nicholas is *not* the Santa of Greek Orthodox tradition. St. Basil of Caesarea is, which should not have been much whiter or darker. In all probability he was a lean, mean preaching machine, no belly or red cheeks. No reindeer were found near Caesarea. Since he’s expected every January 1st, a heavy coat might actually be a good idea. I wouldn’t mind any syncretism with Basil Fawlty.

    The complexion you see in the icon of St. Nick is the same I have seen in most greek Orthodox icons, painted on wood — and I’ve seen quite a few. It could be the materials, although I’m not sure.

    Since she positively excluded Latinos from the possible Santas I’d like to propose a test: Spot the Greek guy.
    Give her 100 fotos of Greek and Latino men and let’s see how reliably she can identify the Greek ones.

    I’d be glad to bias that sample with my photo :-)

    I’m Greek and I consider myself white. Many Greeks have a darker complexion than mine, many have a lighter one, but almost no Greek would identify themselves as “brown” — nor would most Arabs, for that matter.

    I can’t be sure what people of the Eastern Roman Empire looked like1500 years ago, of course.

  66. says

    alkisvonidas

    I’m Greek and I consider myself white.

    I’m Latin American and I’m considered white in my country. Roughly half of the American Hispanics self-identify as white. Race is not a clear-cut thing, the classifications vary in space and time.

    But what I think about myself — or objective criteria, for that matter — doesn’t matter to the self-appointed gatekeepers of racial purity, such as these Fox News anchors. A century ago they’d probably be railing about how the Irish weren’t white either.

    I’d be glad to bias that sample with my photo :-)

    Ok, let’s send both our photos Megyn Kelly and let she figure out which of us shouldn’t be allowed to play Santa because isn’t white enough. If she can’t spot the Latino, then she’ll at least have to stop pretending any of what she’s saying has any scientific or historical basis.

  67. alkisvonidas says

    dõki

    Race is not a clear-cut thing, the classifications vary in space and time.

    Damn right. Race cannot be defined meaningfully, all you can talk about are typical phenotypes in a population and ancestry. And since today’s world is (fortunately) a relatively open and mingling one, even talking about fixed population types is pointless.

    A century ago they’d probably be railing about how the Irish weren’t white either.

    IIRC, Greek immigrants to the States around the 1920s were classified as ‘blacks’ according to the (literally) B&W worldview of the authorities. Their attitute towards the Irish, Asian and Eastern European immigrants actually had much more classist than racist motives, just like today’s attitudes towards Latin American immigrants (and, unfortunately, the extremely racist views of many modern Greeks towards immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East).

    Ok, let’s send both our photos Megyn Kelly and let she figure out which of us shouldn’t be allowed to play Santa because isn’t white enough.

    I think I’ve got good chances… I’m plausibly overweight ;-)

  68. randay says

    In Ken Burns’s documentary “The War” he interviews a Japanese-American who volunteered for the army and was sent to the South for training. As the buses were segregated there, he said he didn’t know which section to sit in but he sat in back in the for Blacks area. The bus driver came to him and told him he had to move to the front White area.