George Takei Comments on Those Angry at Mall of America

December 4th 2016

The holiday season has arrived, which means you can be sure that people will fight over everything from mass consumerism to fictional figures all across the United States.

This year has not disappointed.

Just three days into December, George Takei has taken to Twitter to blast people who perpetuate the idea that Santa Claus — a fictional being — can be only white.

Takei — a Japanese-American who spent part of his childhood in an internment camp during World War II — said the Santa of his youth was definitely not white.

The fight ever depictions of the jolly icon is part of what conservatives characterize as "The War on Christmas."

Santa was popularized by Coca-Cola in the United States almost a century ago, for which he was conscripted to sell soft drinks.

Since then, Santa has generally been depicted as an older white guy with a beard.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly famously argued in 2013 that Santa should remain white.

"Jesus was a white man, too. It's like, ... he's a historical figure that's a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to Black?"

Let's put aside arguments about the ethnicity of any real-life Jesus of Nazareth or the third-century Greek bishop who was sainted by the Catholic Church and mythologized as St. Nicholas.

Takei and Slate culture writer Aisha Harris argued that we should embrace pluralistic images that allow all groups to feel included.

The default whiteness of Santa Claus didn't fit their childhood experiences, they said.

Harris criticized the pervasive whiteness of Santa's image and had a modest proposal:

"So let's ditch Santa the old white man altogether, and embrace Penguin Claus — who will join the Easter Bunny in the pantheon of friendly, secular visitors from the animal kingdom who come to us as the representatives of ostensibly religious holidays. It's time to hand over the reins to those deer and let the universally beloved waddling bird warm the hearts of children everywhere, regardless of the color of their skin."

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