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To think this was not a racist comment re santa?

(32 Posts)
Whowillsaveyoursoul Tue 09-Dec-14 23:25:24

With a group of friends and friend A mentioned that she'd taken her two santa believing children to see Father Christmas at the weekend. She was a bit disappointed as santa was 'grumpy, Asian, about 25 and really skinny so about as far as santa as you can get.'
Friend B said this was racist as it's objecting about someone on grounds of ethnicity. I don't think it's racist - It wouldn't bother me if santa wasn't white as ds knows the santa we see isn't the 'real' santa but I guess if you've two tinies expecting to see a fat jolly old man it is a little bit disappointing when faced with reality.

Aibu to think friend A isn't racist?

WetAugust Tue 09-Dec-14 23:32:17

your child had a reasonable belief that the Santa they would see would be a light skinned person because that is how Santa is normally portrayed in this country. I therefore see no problem with her comment that the Santa she saw did not fit the stereotype she had expected to see.

if your friend then screams "racist" because your child has pointed out an obvious fact I would seriously consider whether I wanted to continue that friendship.

It may help yo show your child images of Santas of other ethnicities. There are plenty of images on the web.

Bulbasaur Tue 09-Dec-14 23:41:19

Just tell them what my parents told us growing up. Mall Santas are actually Santa's helpers and they pass along the word to the big man.

But I don't think it was racist. Coca-Cola has capitalized on marketing the shit out of a white fat man with a beard. That's Santa's character, seeing an Asian santa is about as strange as seeing a black Superman. White is just their race.

I do think different race santas and FC's are neat to look at for collectors items and art work though. Maybe not for children who still believe in him.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Tue 09-Dec-14 23:44:51

Firstly Santa has never been portrayed as an Asian. That is not a racist comment that is a fact.
Santa has never been portrayed as skinny, again not a sizist comment, a fact.
I too would reevaluate this friendship.
People cannot pass a comment now without being accused of being prejudiced

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 09-Dec-14 23:50:25

When I objected to a black Annie on a different post I was shot down in flames. But its the same thing. Annie has always been portrayed as white. There's no reason for either her or Santa not to be black, except that they aren't. They're both white. It's not racist, its just fact.

Catsize Tue 09-Dec-14 23:52:03

Hmmm. My mum did the 'there are lots of pretend Father Christmases with a direct line to the real one, but the one you are going to see might just be the real one'. Me thinks that even as a child, I would have relegated Asian Santa as one of the fakes. Sorry Asian Santa.

Catsize Tue 09-Dec-14 23:53:55

fsad fangry fenvy fbiscuit

The many colours of Santa.

I take it all back.

Bulbasaur Tue 09-Dec-14 23:54:01

There's a difference between re-imagining a character like Annie and making an entirely separate movie and dressing up as Santa where you are suppose to mimic an already established character. The Asian guy wasn't re-imagining Santa, he was suppose to be representing an already established image, which he didn't fit.

Annie being black is fine, because it's a remake with a new twist. Not a sequel.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 09-Dec-14 23:58:25

Annie is played by an actor. Small children know and understand this. Santa is real. So I don't think the comment was racist.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 09-Dec-14 23:58:51

But Annie has an already established image, from the comic strips.

MsJupiter Tue 09-Dec-14 23:59:32

Annie, Superman and Santa can be any colour they like but they do need to be specific age and body types. However there are so many Santas needed so you have to expect a few who need quite a bit of help to look that way!

I wouldn't have said that was a racist comment in the context of the point she was making though, which is that her daughter would have been expecting someone who fit the Coke stereotype.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 10-Dec-14 00:04:41

But if everyone stuck to 'established images from comic strips' the only parts for black actors would be the legs of the maid in Tom and Jerry.

Times move on. I very much doubt any of the target market for Annie have read the comic strips!

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 10-Dec-14 00:08:18

Well, they CAN be any colour they want, obvs. But that doesn't mean they should be.

I'm torn. The part of me that abhors racism (mixed marriage) thinks that black Santa's and Annie's are fine. The traditionalist part of me thinks that stories should stay how the creator imagined them.

I don't suppose it really matters.

Whatsthewhatsthebody Wed 10-Dec-14 00:12:01

He was grumpy!

That was the problem. Not his skin colour.

He should be padded up too.

MrsFionaCharming Wed 10-Dec-14 00:20:50

Annie was originally portrayed as pale with red hair, because she was supposed to look Irish, at a time when there was a lot of prejudice against the Irish, ie no one would adopt an Irish looking child! So having her played by a black actress now is actually closer to the original premise than if she remained white...

Also, St. Nicholas was Turkish, and probably had brown skin.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 10-Dec-14 00:24:05

In the US, many African American families have images of black Santas. And the original Saint Nicholas didn't look anything like the Coca-Cola Santa.

www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-face/

The411 Wed 10-Dec-14 00:27:07

MrsFionaCharming beat me to it. I think at Nicholas was Greek or Turkish so would have had dark colouring.
Just like Jesus who was middle eastern.

CocobearSqueeze Wed 10-Dec-14 00:29:54

I've seen many black Santas, never thought it as odd. Santa is not real anyway.

The link posted here shows a man with brown skin and if St Nic was Turkish then the Asian man wasn't far off!

Bulbasaur Wed 10-Dec-14 00:31:40

In the US, many African American families have images of black Santas.

Well, they also have black Jesus too. I always understood it to be a bit of a counter culture that was protesting to every major icon being portrayed as white.

But it's not the mainstream Santa that's widely marketed.

I do agree that I laugh a bit when I see Swedish Jesus with his blonde hair and blue eyes.

twizzleship Wed 10-Dec-14 00:38:57

The traditional fat santa is obese and unhealthy...probably has diabetes and high cholesterol too....and people want their kids to think that's good?

santa should be slimmed down to a healthy bmi and take regular exercise fgrin

LayMeDown Wed 10-Dec-14 07:10:17

Are you suggesting that stores should be able to discriminate against non white people in hiring a Santa Claus? Because I don't agree with that at all. The point is krone has ever seen Santa Claus so he could be any race or age or size. The images we are told is just what someone imagines him to look like.
However suggesting someone should not be hired because of their r race is to my mind racist. Sorry

Whowillsaveyoursoul Wed 10-Dec-14 07:37:23

But then by the same token is it not ageist to say santa should be an older man.
There was an advert for Santas in our paper. It specified over 40s.

I just think it's a part he's playing. Maybe the answer is to have more different images of santa in the media. I can see how a small child expecting a fat jolly old white man might be taken aback by a skinny young Asian one. It's hardly the end of the world I realise though.

atticusclaw Wed 10-Dec-14 07:41:38

In this country it is permitted to specify certain characteristics for portrayal of characters in a performance and so this would fit into that category. You are allowed to say you need a white male over the age of 60 and reject female, asian, teenage etc applicants.

LayMeDown Wed 10-Dec-14 07:51:17

Mmm well I guess that's how they are able to do it. Doesn't mean they have to though or that they should.
I don't accept there is anything upsetting or damaging in kids seeing Santas of different ethnicity or ages. They are all just helpers anyway aren't they?

Whowillsaveyoursoul Wed 10-Dec-14 07:53:15

I think really the main problem was that he was morose! Friend was more upset about that than anything! Mind you I've seen some grumpy santas in my time too, must be hard work being jolly for hours.

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