Fox News broadcaster Megyn Kelly caused quite a stir when she aggressively rejected the idea that Santa did not have to be white on her show The Kelly File, telling children “Santa just is white.”

Megyn Kelly Insists Santa Claus Is White

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Kelly assembled a panel of three contributors to discuss an op-ed written by Slate culture blogger, Aisha Harris, titled “Santa Claus Should Not Be A White Man Anymore.”

“When I saw this headline, I kind of laughed…yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,” Kelly begins.

In her essay, Harris makes no such claims. Instead, the author asks the reader to consider a shift in how Santa is depicted so as not to lock children into the “white-as-default” American cultural norm.

“That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white – and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a ‘joke’ or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes – helps perpetuate the whole ‘white-as-default’ notion endemic to American culture,” Harris writes.

Jedediah Bila, one of the panelists featured on The Kelly File, defends Harris’ position, complementing Harris’ writing and conceding the point that a white, male Santa Claus can be alienating. Kelly refuses to budge on her position that Santa Claus is white, based on a historical figure – a white man. Rewriting history in an effort to be more politically correct, Kelly insists, is not productive.

“Just because [an image] makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change… Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical fiture – that’s a verifiable fact… As is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that,” Kelly reasons.

Harris Responds To Kelly's 'Santa Is White' Segment

In response to Kelly’s segment, Harris wrote another post about Santa Claus, in which she refuted Kelly’s assertion that Santa Claus needs to be white to keep with the history of Saint Nicholas. Harris accurately points out how far the current incarnation of Santa has strayed from the ‘real’ Saint Nicholas.

“He [Saint Nicholas] did not have a workshop in the North Pole nor eight faithful reindeer. Santa as we know him today is the result of wild imaginations and creative input from many people across centuries, including, as I noted in my piece, Washington Irving and Clement Clark More. He’s utterly divorced from his religious and historical roots,” Harris writes.

Kelly took special offense to Harris’ original suggestion that the embodiment of Santa Claus as a white man be changed to that of a penguin, dubbed Penguin Claus. Penguins are often associated with cold weather, snow and cannot fly, so the reindeer would still be necessary, Harris notes.

As to Kelly’s accusation that she wants to change the picture of Santa to be “politically correct,” Harris explains that her intentions are to work towards “expanding our perceptions of the ‘norm.’”

Harris also says that she was not approached by anybody at Fox to defend her opinion on The Kelly File segment. Kelly has not released any further comment on the Santa Claus debate, but is reportedly getting ready to address the controversy on Friday night's installment of The Kelly File. In the meantime, audiences can, most likely, expect more stories such as these coming out of Fox News as they continue to investigate the so-called ‘War on Christmas.’

The Kelly File airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on Fox News.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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