a letter to angry white people from black santa claus

December 7, 2016

Dear Y. P. Pull;

I know you’re used to the one-way dialogue when you sit your kids down to write their privileged, “gimme mine” letters to me (by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell y’all that your children can’t spell very well, and every year it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s because your kids’ Christmas list is filled with dreams of Grand Theft Auto and iPhones. I haven’t dropped a book by a Caucasian house since the late 80’s but you’re wondering why Abby Fisher couldn’t get into the University of Texas?) But I’m not here to judge. Well, I am kinda here to judge, but White privilege dictates that I give you presents anyway. You motherfuckers are always naughty.

Anyway, I recently received word that you discovered a Black Santa Claus in the Mall of America and went crazy on the internet, threatening to boycott because—as you proclaimed—Santa Clause is White. Here is the thing, White people:

I really am Black.

By Michael Harriot / NegusWhoRead, AFROPUNK contributor

At first I wasn’t going to say anything because I know you have a long history of reinventing every person–fictional or real—as White, and I didn’t want it to happen to me. I saw what your people did to everyone from Cleopatra to Moses, so you can understand why I was reluctant to speak up and tell you that you were wrong. If you can make the world believe a man born to middle eastern people 2000 years ago had blonde hair and blue eyes, there’s no telling how you’d treat a Black man from the west side of the North Pole.

Plus, I know how y’all do. There’s no way I could last this long sliding in and out of White people’s neighborhoods if you knew I was Black. Trayvon only had Skittles and iced tea and I saw what you did to him. If I was caught riding around with X-Boxes and Barbie Dolls, I’m sure they’d have me on multiple breaking and entering charges. If I didn’t have flying reindeer I’d be late delivering presents every year because police repeatedly pulled Santa over for driving while Black. As a matter of fact, I only hired Rudolph after fugitive slave hunters ran up on me delivering a few slaves to freedom in 1855 (What did you think I did with my free time, back then? Yep, I helped Harriet on the Underground Railroad).

I just didn’t want you to blow up my spot. Once President Trump outlaws melanin, I probably will have to move to the North Pole permanently (I have a summer home in South Beach, right next to Lebron). Do you know how hard it is to keep a job in this economy? The Black unemployment rate is already double the rate for whites, and you’re on twitter trying to sabotage the job of some poor brother who already has to dress in a costume and let sweaty kids in stinky diapers sit on his lap all day? If you knew I was Black, I’m sure some well-meaning white man would have notified the authorities and had me picked up for something like “operating a sleigh without a license” or serving as an unregistered delivery company. I’m Santa. I’ve been around for a while. I know the game.

Perhaps you didn’t know that most historians and anthropologists believe the real St. Nicholas was a person of color. He was from Patara, Turkey, born to wealthy parents a hop, skip and jump from North Africa. Almost every historical piece of art that depicts his image shows a dark-skinned man. Yeah, Santa Claus is actually Black. So calm down, White folks.

Everything will be alright. I’ll still swoop by your houses every Christmas eve and deliver the goods. So the next time you are at the mall and notice the man wearing the red and white suit (no, I didn’t pledge Kappa) is a little more dark-skinned than the man in the Coke commercials, don’t panic. My people have been in your homes for years, caring for your children and making them happy. Nothing has really changed. Plus, Santa Claus does all this for free. I have a slight suspicion that you can adapt to Black people working for you without compensation or pay.

And If you can’t bear the thought of a Black man making the world happy, then I definitely understand:

You just don’t like Jesus.


Black Santa

P.S. Can you leave some bottled water and fruit out this year? I love the milk and cookies, but Mrs. Claus has been nagging me about my weight lately. I have to watch my carb intake and I’m lactose intolerant. By the time I arrive in the Caribbean countries delivering presents, I always get the bubbleguts.

This post is in partnership with NegusWhoRead.

*Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot