Christmas Opinion

Gay Santas and Black Elves

What a convoluted mess Christmas is becoming.

Wrestling legend Mick Foley has been pushing a movie called I Am Santa Claus. It is a documentary that follows the lives and travels of real individuals who portray Santa each year. It tells their stories and experiences as they transform from the real world to their Santa world. It sounds like a harmless enough premise and apparently the world of Christmas was behind Mick until it was reveal that one of the Santas they featured is gay.

Then the Christmas world went bat-crap crazy online, I guess.

Santa Jim didn’t even get the time of day from some in the Santa community, many of whom it appears are active on the Internet. Foley says the backlash from what he thought were his Santa friends was so great that he had to give his Facebook page a break because both he and Santa Jim were receiving threats.

That is a tough thought for me to process on several levels.

Think about it. Foley says these issues arose from people who portray Santa. And these were the people making threats? These guys, who take my kids upon their knees, were threatening….Mick Foley? Really? Who ARE these guys?

I’ve tried to process this idea without including the guys who play Santa. Would I see this movie? Yeah, probably. But I won’t lie — the idea of Santa being gay is one that doesn’t settle with me. The traditional “real” Santa is most decidedly straight. He has a wife.

Of course, this assumes, without seeing Foley’s movie, that the dude is parading himself around as a gay Santa. But if he’s playing a straight Santa while cloaking his real identity…like anyone playing Santa should do…does that change my thinking?

Yes, it does. In that case he’s just an actor playing a part. A lot of actors are gay and they get paid a lot of money to portray people they aren’t. I don’t have a problem with it.

So maybe I just have to see the movie to see what all the hubbub is about. But on the surface, in my mind, a gay man can be Santa. So what?

After reading all this stuff about Foley’s movie and the backlash to gay Santas I came across a real story of Christmas discrimination: the Dutch tradition of Black Pete.

Have you heard about this? For a couple of hundred years the Dutch have followed a more traditional path of celebrating Santa. In that part of the world Santa rides into town in the middle of November and his peak activity happens not on Christmas Eve but on December 6th, which is St. Nicholas Day. He’s every bit the red-and-white outfitted guy that the American Santa is but he is accompanied by his little helper who is known as Black Pete.

Black Pete is black, has a big curly afro and bright red lips.

Although this has been the tradition for hundreds of years folks are just now getting around to being upset about it.

Just last week as Santa and his many Black Petes made their way into public celebrations up to 90 protesters were arrested — in front of the children — for going after Santa and his helpers.

The interesting thing is that many of the Dutch people don’t have a problem with Black Pete.

Pete, you see, is a helper. He’s funny, he’s athletic, he’s cheerful. He is a lot of things that Sinterklaas over there is not. Santa there is a little on the stern side and represents the authority figure of the season. Pete represents the fun side of things. He just happens to be black. At least that is how many of the Dutch feel about him.

In other words, can it be discriminatory if it isn’t meant that way?

Hmmm. That’s a fair question.

And of course, this brings it all back to Christmas and what all this politically charged hoo-ha has to do with the merry season in the first place.

After all, Christmas itself is a pure as the driven snow, right?

What do you suppose was meant by Luke when he said “there was no room for them in the inn”?

Would Santa really put up with other reindeer bullying young Rudolph?

What about the thieving Grinch….shouldn’t he be accountable in some way?

Come to think of it, why doesn’t Potter get arrested for stealing $8000 in It’s a Wonderful Life? And what about Gower slapping that kid? Isn’t that abuse?

Christmas, it appears, is full of moral dilemmas. There is discrimination and poor human judgment all over the place.

Gay Santas and black elves.

Nah. I’ve changed my mind.

I just see Christmas.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.
I don't know if you'll see this, but I recently watched "I am Santa Claus." It contrasts the role of Santa with the life these men lead the other 10 months of the year. One drinks a lot and is basically homeless. One is at the top of his field, and makes a good living just as Santa. One is Mick Foley. And Santa Jim is gay, and has a long-distance relationship. But they all play the role of Santa pretty much the same. Santa Jim does NOT play him as gay, and in fact is one of the more casual Santas, dressing up and talking to the children at his regular job at what looks like a rustic antique mall. He seems very gentle and patient, and I'm sorry to read here that he is being harassed.

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