Eric the Orange:
I think If I was the family who had the black Santa and got that letter I'd step up my trolling with a black Jesus.
No, do a Middle-Eastern Jesus. Be both a troll, and historically accurate.
Well, the problem here is that the image of Jesus used by the churches is based off of a painting known as "The Mandylion" (look it up) the only real image of Jesus known to have been made during his lifetime by someone who met him, or at least that can be confirmed. The background behind it is that a king sent a messenger to Jesus to ask him to come to his kingdom to perform healings, Jesus said he couldn't do it, but did send one of his disciples who performed the healings. The messenger was so enchanted by his meeting with Jesus that he painted a picture of him. This is something that is reinforced by records apparently, and to date no image of Jesus has ever been shown to be more valid than the one from "The Mandylion" and indeed it's believed many later images were in turn based off of it.
Thus all of the stuff about how Jesus should have darker skin, orthodox jewish hair, etc... is pretty much dispelled since whether he was arab or not (and nobody really tries to say he was a European barbarian, "whites" did not have much of a civilization at that time and were mostly barbarians or slaves) is more or less irrelevant the guy did have a very fair skin tone, was not black or dusky by any means, nor did he apparently adopt anything remotely similar to an orthodox method of dress and grooming.
As a fun fact for those who are fans of the band "Nightwish" their song "The End Of All Hope" is pretty much about the death of jesus and/or losing faith. The whole thing about "the death of a child, the death of all hope" and "mandylion without a face" is referencing this because after all if Jesus had died as a baby or never existed there would never have been anyone depicted in the Mandylion, thus no image of Jesus meaning no crucifixes, etc...
The point here being that while it's rather popular for atheisits and agnostics in particular to want to go off on saying "why can't you show Jesus as black, or with other ethnic features" argueing for some kind historical precedent or, "well he didn't exist anyway, so who cares", they kind of miss the point, the current image did not appear because whites created Jesus in their own image, but because fair skin is how he was depicted in the only verifiable source... and really the churches, Catholics in particular, tend to really dig into anything claiming to be a historical or religious artifact involving Jesus in particular, and The Mandylion and the basic image (updated to other art styles over the years) is one of the few things pretty much everyone can agree on... and when you consider the bad blood between Christian sects that is actually saying quite a bit.
As far as "Santa Claus" goes, that becomes a touchier subject, as he is based off of a number of sources, myths, and legends. "Saint Nick" is one of the things that definatly contributed to it, but again while not European he was VERY light skinned according to most of the vintage artwork in most of the images (as many Arabs are, a lot can pass as "white" easily without needing to make much of an effort). What's more Santa Claus is also based on a lot of other images largely coming from Norway, Sweden, and Germany not to mention Celtic input hence the use of "Klaus/Claus" and various dolls and such you have probably seen of him as "father winter" in stores showing a fairly pagan image of him looking like he could be a D&D druid. This is because Christianity wound up taking heavily from a lot of other religions, especially early on, when it was in the midst of trying to be diplomatic about conversions. It's been argued that "Christmas" arguably started as a pagan festival called "Saturnalia" with similar traditions.
The point here is that there is not one bit of inspiration for having a dark black Santa Klaus, that's largely PC BS, and there is really nothing from the traditions of black peoples that influenced it and it's evolution. To be honest portraying Santa as a monster by modern standards has more precedence since some parts of it can be loosely connected to stories about gods like Odin, who allegedly travelled the lands disguised as vagabonds, demanding guest rights as a traveler, and would do good or bad things depending on whether this duty was fulfilled and to what extent. Hence why so many cultures have some variation on leaving a snack for Santa because he's coming into your house (even if your asleep) to do something nice for you, and it's rude for you to be a poor host since you are after all expecting him. Fairly recently the fantasy Author "Jim Butcher" did a thing in his Dresden novels where Odin was Santa in another guise in a very literal sense to be cute (and because it fit his plot and developing world structure, as an *ahem* "Jolly Old Elf" in a way as well it also gave him ties to the Faerie courts... and well, Jim Butcher gets kind of crazy).
For anyone who bothered to read this far, my opinions are kind of mixed. I do not consider it racist when you insist on a long established character being presented as they are, as opposed to being changed for a political statement. It's in the same category as me being kind of miffed that they made Heimdall black in the "Thor" movie, since there is no precedence in either the comics or mythology for that, it's simply a PC gesture, and kind of silly mythologically speaking. When it comes to things like Christmas, a lot of it is about tradition as much as anything, and like it or not Santa and his image has been part of this tradition longer than we have been alive, he is what he is, and should be left alone, you either accept Santa as he is, or should just reject the entire thing. Once you start modifying traditions to the politically correct needs of the moment, they cease to be traditions.
I'll also be blunt in saying that on a larger scale it seems to me that "ethnicity changing" of established characters and such does an injustice to the groups it's supposed to be empowering. When you say take an established character and change their ethnicity it's kind of pandering compared to taking a character of that ethnicity to begin with and giving it the attention to become popular on it's own, or to work on creating new IPs. In Marvel for example I feel that instead of say making Heimdall black, they probably should have simply put more attention into inserting existing black characters into the movies (like they are apparently using Falcon, the version with the battle suit he got at the beginning of Civil War in the new Captain America). If they want black "gods" they should perhaps do something with the Voodoo pantheon and spirits of Wakanda when they move on to doing movies dealing with those elements. I mean after all "Brother Voodoo" has been around for a long time and was even once a contender for the title of "Sorceror Supreme" when it was up for grabs, and he draws a lot of his power from the Loa and stuff apparently as opposed to the Vishanti or the Asgardian form of sorcery (of which Karnilla has generally been the Sorceress Supreme... a fun fact, since it means neither Odin, Loki, or The Enchantress are the most powerful straight spellcaster from that realm). In short laziness does nobody any real justice.
That said, I don't see any real reason to be a jerk if someone decides to put up a giant, inflatable, Black Santa on their private property. I do happen to wonder if there is more to that story than we're hearing. I know some neighborhoods have rules, enforced by local government, about what people can display on their property. Those rules can include specific guidelines on what your allowed to do on holidays, and outright ban things like political signs or displays. Something like "Black Santa" is very much a political display when you get down to it, and is certainly not traditional if something being traditional is specified. The typical idea of such laws though is to prevent people from causing trouble or attracting the wrong kind of attention to the neighborhood. I typically hear more about such conflicts around Halloween where you have people wanting to do things like create backlit cardboard silhouettes in their windows showing what appears to be a stabbing once in a while at night, or someone hanging stuffed clothing from trees to look like a bunch of people were hooded and executed outside the house, or whatever else. That said as much as some people might argue "common sense" if you don't enforce everything, as soon as one guy gets away with "non traditional santa" it creates a president some dude can use to prevent a window shadow display that has the police being called to the street once a week (it's happened) come Halloween. The law has to apply to everyone or no one. I haven't seen the specific note, but it might have also been intended as a friendly warning before say a neighborhood committee took action which might very well lead to someone being banned from any kind of yard decorations, or being made to pay a
fine (or move). Simply put local law can be quite tyrannical when it allows itself to be split up into different neighborhoods regulating themselves. Indeed this is exactly how the whole "You can't fight town hall" thing got
started since at the end of the day half a dozen housewives might wind up being delegated more power in your little section of the world than the kings of old. :)
Not a lot of time, this is old, and I have a few messages in my inbox which hopefully won't be too ancient before I can find time to get around to them with a proper response.
Funny Feed Dump, but the point is I think even allowing for the humor, the points behind it are perhaps a little misguided.