To their response, Harris explains that she has been getting a lot of negative comments toward her and that they really didn’t get where she was coming from. It wasn’t just about her making Santa Claus an animal (a penguin, specifically), but by taking color from the equation, a child’s imagination can be spared.
Changing Santa does not mean we’re being “politically correct.” It means we’re expanding our perceptions of the “norm.” The argument that Santa must be white spills over into conversations about other, equally fictional characters. Can James Bond or Spider-Man be played by people of color? Why not? And yet some people will tell you—believe me—that they have to be white.
Roland Martin talks about the issue on NewsOne Now with Harris and panel. “I remember feeling as though, even though my father tried to tell me otherwise, that the Black Santa wasn’t the real thing,” Harris explains, “and I feel like a lot of kids can probably relate. Because you are constantly inundated with these images of Santa only being white. I feel like that kind of needs to change because the world — and America — is not that white anymore.”