Paradigm Shift Draft

This is a very rough draft… I have a lot of ideas and sources but it needs to be expanded and cleaned up.

Interview Reme Uduebo?

Santa Claus is real. We see him in pictures, advertisements, movies, cards, and more, but as a society, we think of Santa as being a mythical being that kids obsess over, families use to decorate their houses, and industries use to market their products. One can find Santa in a department store, on TV, in a movie, on the street, and the list goes on. Sure, he may not may not be a human being, but the idea of a Santa—Santa as a label—is most definitely real and alive, and it has been for a very long time. We can find the origins of Santa Claus in the United States somewhere in the 1800’s. cite origins. While the actual physical depiction of Santa Claus has not changed in the last 200 years, the manifestation of the name, has undoubtedly mutated and progressed, atleast for some groups of people. The Dutch combined with the story of Santa Claus and his image have led America to adopt a crafted story and depiction of Santa Claus; however, the idea of Santa Claus, in today’s world, has become much larger, where we take in account race.

BODY 1: Identify what Santa Claus stands for: his values and his affect on American society.

By this point, Santa Claus was a symbol whose meaning was no longer limited to a religious observance, or even a season, but encompassed everything that is kindly, cheerful, generous and peaceful

He is large round the waist, but what care we for that—
‘Tis the good-natured people who always get fat.

Santa and the secular celebration associated with him were invented for all people, to encourage everyone to be good.

During the Christmas season, our need for such things as belonging, forgiveness, and security can surface in dramatic ways. And none of our often frantic attempts to surround ourselves with sights and sounds and tastes of a consumerist culture can really speak to the longings that arise from the deep places in our souls.

Body 2: Why Santa looks the way he does… When he was created.


“Santa Claus was Made by Washington Irving”

The preparations making on every side for the social board that is again to unite friends and kindred; the presents of good cheer passing and repassing, those tokens of regard, and quickeners of kind feelings; the evergreens distributed about houses and churches, emblems of peace and gladness; all these have the most pleasing effect in producing fond associations, and kindling benevolent sympathies…Stranger and sojourner as I am in the land,—though for me no social hearth may blaze, no hospitable roof throw open its doors, nor the warm grasp of friendship welcome me at the threshold,—yet I feel the influence of the season beaming into my soul from the happy looks of those around me. Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever shining benevolence.

Body 3: While the way we look at Santa is similar today, we must contextualize the idea of Santa in today’s platform of modern day politics and society. What I mean is, we live in a racialized world, where many things are looked at in terms of race… When looking at Santa… In looking at Santa, I think it is important to look at in this way: Mills- white, black, yellow etc. are colors that people have created/ race is created by people/ we want to look at race as a power structure, and ask the question “Why cant Santa look different.”

But of course it’s about race—everything is. Our country was built on oppression, and race is everywhere,/ “Don’t make this about race.”

I know it is a busy time of year, but we need you to settle a little debate that has emerged in American media asking: Are you white? Are you black? When you come in from the North Pole, do you have a legal visa–or are you undocumented?

Your whole story, which is supposed to be universal, can leave a lot of kids feeling pretty distressed at this time of year. Can you find a kid if he lives in an apartment building, not a house with a chimney? Can you find her in a homeless shelter?

You are as universal and encompassing, or as narrow and exclusionary as we imagine you to be. So, if we cannot imagine you as racially different from ourselves, it is because our minds are stunted by a history that still cannot fathom benevolence, kindness and intimacy in the bodies of those who are not like us.

Because if we, as a nation, can become polarized over you… we’re going to need a lot more than candy canes this time of year.

Body 4: Social movements/ media effect

This is the basic problem with Santa-theology today. Santa now typifies the whole ‘if you’re poor you must be a slacker (i.e. naughty)” ethos that has taken over our society.-

Body 5: Responses to these movements and WHY? NEGLECT BECAUSE OF TRADITION

just 19% of whites, as compared to 60% of
blacks, believed race was a major problem in America.4 Indeed, while that poll found that large majorities
of both white and black Americans concur that racial stereotyping continues, most white Americans, in
contrast to black Americans, believe that blacks have equal access to affordable housing, employment,
and the fair administration of justice, despite often overwhelming facts to the contrary.

Racial discrimination exists only at
the margins – our society is fundamentally fair when it comes to issues of race. The result is that many
people are reluctant to raise issues of racial discrimination and find it distasteful when others do.

Body 6: Where else do we see this and WHY? ANNIE

Also to be noted is that in neither Annie’s nor Johnny Storm’s case is their skin or hair color an essential part of their character. Sure, the world came to know and love the original Annie’s vibrant, red curls, but they weren’t essential to the development of the plot as a whole.

In Charles Mills’ novel NAME, he discusses whiteness not as a color but as a power construction. Not only as a construction of power, but as a construction of power that is apparent, but not recognized….

In recent years, there has been much contention with the actual depiction of Santa Claus: all Santa’s are overweight, old white men with white, fluffy beards. Thinking about the origins of Santa, in the United States, the mid- 19th century, this depiction would make sense. The story of Santa was crafted by white men during a period of legislative and social white supremacy. This is not a claim that Santa Claus was created with purpose to establish a symbol for white dominance, instead, it is a way for society to understand why Santa looks the way he does, today. So now the key questions come up: “Now that we live in a world with different ideologies and social structures, must we depict Santa in the same way?” This question is extremely apparent now, and going forward. In fact, movements have developed: The Black Santa Movement. Obviously, Santa Claus is seen as a white man, no one can reject that claim, and there is no problem with that when we look at whiteness as a color, but whiteness is not necessarily only a “color.” In Charles Mills’ novel NAME, he discusses whiteness not as a color but as a power construction. Not only as a construction of power, but as a construction of power that is apparent, but not recognized….

Retired NBA guard, Baron Davis, and American rapper, fabulous, have developed a movement known as “The Black Santa Movement.” According to Davis, “the whole point of having a black Santa Claus…it’s all about the emotions and the affect that [the Santa’s] give people—not really what they look like.” Meaning, color acts simply as a visionary technique, but does not inherently attribute different qualities to the perception of “Santa Claus.” Along this vein, Davis stated that he “supports all Santa’s, of all colors.” This idea of Black Santa does not just apply to Davis’ new business, however. In 2016, Larry Jefferson Gamble appeared as Santa in the Mall of America in Minnesota. In response to his appearance, Santa Larry was greeted with a number of tweets attacking his role playing Santa. For example,
Initially, children were surprised to know that Santa was black. Some even asked if he was the “real Santa’s helper,” a pejorative perspective. Until this book, children had known only a single story—that Santa must be white. This discussion of Santa and race led children to research and write about other texts that left out African-Americans.

Here is one of the major objections to the changing the way we visualize Santa: tradition. NEED TO ADDRESS WHY IT IS SO CRAZY TO ATTACK TRADITION. Aside: now you may ask, “Okay, if we change the skin color of Santa we should also change the Easter Bunny to an Easter Squirrel, or Thanksgiving Turkey to a Thanksgiving Moose. But these things are not directly related; moreover, while each of these symbols stand in representation of certain holidays, the defining factor for Santa is his whiteness, and our society has a hyperactive tendency to racialize concepts.\

Does Santa only visit rich kids?

– visits from Santa have more to do with socioeconomic factors than child behavior, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
– Train to Christmas town which is targeted at the wealthy… some things associated with Christmas target the wealthy
– “It gives them something to identify with, but Santa is still just Santa,”
– Reaction: “I don’t understand why Santa would be black. He is a white character. Just seems kind of racist to make him black for the sake of having black Santa. I don’t really care but in our racially sensitive society I don’t understand how this is considered okay? O the hypocrisy.”

NBA All-Star Baron Davis and the Black Santa Movement

– whiteness-as-default
– changing Santa does not mean we’re being “politically correct.” It means we’re expanding our perceptions of the “norm.”

Nast was instrumental in standardizing and nationalizing the image of a jolly, kind, and portly Santa in a red, fur-trimmed suit delivering toys from his North Pole workshop. This was accomplished through his work in the pages of Harper’s Weekly, his contributions to other publications, and by Christmas-card merchants in the 1870s and 1880s who relied heavily upon his portraiture.





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