Fox News host Megyn Kelly has made herself the center of a racial controversy by declaring that Jesus Christ and Santa Claus are white.
On Wednesday night, Kelly was responding to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris, who wrote an article entitled “ Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore .”
The popular news host told viewers of “The Kelly File,” her hit FNC program, “When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it's racist to have a white Santa.’ And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we're just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Of course, a number of critics were quick to point out that Santa Claus is a fictional character. And while he was based on St. Nicholas, a white man, his exact description is largely left up to individual interpretation.
However, after a guest on Kelly’s show defended the Slate article, Kelly extended her argument to further claim that the historical figure Jesus Christ was in fact Caucasian:
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too,” Kelly said. “He was a historical figure; that's a verifiable fact — as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that — but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”
Unlike Santa, the racial heritage of Jesus Christ has been debated for years. Technically, the New Testament does not contain a description of his skin pigment, though most modern Western depictions do portray him as a white man. Though there is little to no factual or scholarly work on the biblical figure’s racial heritage, a 2011 BBC documentary “Son of God” attempted to create a modern composite of what Jesus might have looked like. The analysis concluded that such a historic figure would likely have had dark skin, based on the Middle Eastern desert climate in which the New Testament stories took place. “Experts have decided Jesus would have been anything but pearly white,” the BBC declared.
Interestingly, Kelly’s opinion offering comes only days after she told Jay Leno, “I am a straight news anchor. I am not one of the opinion hosts at Fox.”
Harris responded to Kelly’s broadcast , noting her piece was intended to be “a little tongue-in-cheek,” but nonetheless declared, “If you’re seriously emphatic that he is white and must remain white, there’s a good chance that your view of the rest of the world is just as limited and unimaginative. I mean, we are talking about a magical man who slides down your chimney every Christmas Eve. Just so we’re clear.”