Here at White People HQ news of the confusion over whether Santa is in fact white has reached us.  Although those making the assertion he is white are not credible (Jesus was Palestinian saying otherwise is a basic fact missed) we decided to investigate.

Prior research has already questioned Santa’s use of Elven labour. Other scholars have noted there is a distinct element of white privilege in the freedom he has travel at such high speeds and enter houses without facing police interference. But not all indicators on Santa point to white.

His ability to herd reindeer is a skill not achieved by any white people. No one has at this point been able to determine how he came to acquire this skill.  His practice of claiming an imaginary home, given that the North Pole is not an actual a landmass, could be another indication of whiteness but perhaps is a strategy to hide his true origins for fear of colonial reprisal.

The home life of Santa provides some indications of possible whiteness. His partner Mrs. Claus remains nameless and in a clearly subordinate position according to all accounts. As Foucault noted white femininity began as a control strategy first employed by those white men in positions of class power to control their partners. Mrs. Claus appears to be assigned to this position by Santa.  Although we would not deny her agency she remains nameless and is either limited to domestic duties or the clerical task of recording written requests for gifts, in various accounts of the Clauses home life. This may be an indication that most of those studying Santa are themselves white men or it could be an indication that Santa is a white patriarch.

In is practice of gift giving we find another indicator Santa may be white. Despite the fact that gift-giving is not a white practice how Santa gifts (feel free to vomit at this contemporary commercialized verb) shows a propensity to whiteness.  White people are notorious for our taking and there are few recorded instances of white people giving without at least the expectation of something in return. The way Santa gives however provides repeated indications of whiteness. There is the fact that he arrives once a year and a time that suits him and does not account for anyone else’s needs.  Digging deeper still, the volume he gives appears to be supportive of the status quo. Research shows that wealthy children receive more from Santa than those of poor families. Reinforcing inequity amongst children to embed and reinforce an unequal society is very much a white behaviour.

Perhaps the most white aspect of is Santa is his judgemental nature.  Not only does he determine in his own paternalistic way what you get, but does so using a undeserving/deserving or naughty/nice binary. This manoeuvre to develop a binary and then assign others to positions on it is a uniquely white practice.  That Santa feels entitled to be the sole arbiter of who belongs on the nice/deserving side also points to a white Santa. If we recall that Santa tends to be more generous to those in families who already have wealth and likely expects only domestic and clerical tasks from his wife we are left with a very much status quo reinforcing white patriarchal Santa.


One thought on “Is Santa White?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s