The other day I noticed a story about the Mall of America hiring their first Black Santa. I didn’t get why that was an issue, but then I’m white and I have lots of associated privilege that goes along with it, so I hope my readers will understand that I’m clueless sometimes but I do care!
Anyhow, I saw the article and I thought, how silly of people to be upset that St.Nicholas is finally being presented as a black man! Did you notice I wrote finally? I bet you are wondering why I’d ever expect a black St. Nick. Well, let me tell you what I think…
I’ve always been interested in the lives of the Saints, growing up Catholic it’s one of those things that interest you because you are told that your whole history incorporates these incredible people that were wholly consumed, sometimes quite literally with their sense of God. So anyhow, people who are interested in common Saints, ( if there can be such a thing) may have seen some of the icons attributed to St. Nicholas…and if you had, you’d have noticed that in some he looks black. There are actually a lot of black iconographic images, for example there is the whole Holy Family with darker skin. So it’s not surprising to me that we’ve finally portrayed St. Nicholas as someone much more historically accurate than the late 1800’s version that wears red and smokes a pipe while his pink cheeks glow over a bright white beard.
If you want more of the story, ask me a question about it….and I might even tell you what history says of the real St.Nick’s broken nose!