The newspaper ran a commentary, “Santa Claus shouldn’t be an old white man anymore,” by Aisha Harris on Dec. 17. Instead, she argues for changing Saint Nicholas into a penguin.

Harris’ reasoning focuses on the word “white.” As a child, she did not believe her father’s response to her inquiry about why Santa’s skin color in her house was black, not white. Her father wisely told her Santa was every color, and whatever house Saint Nicholas visited, he magically turned into the likeness of the family that lived there. So that today’s and future children are not traumatized as she was, Harris advocates for changing Santa into an animal similar to the Easter bunny.

Oh please. Harris’ father was correct. Saint Nicholas is celebrated all over the world, including in Japan, China and Africa, as well as the western Christian cultures. In fact, Nelson Mandela was proclaimed the first international Santa Claus.

Christmas is not a secular holiday that needs to be altered so that people of color will not feel put upon by recognizing the historical significance of both the day and Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus. Harris’ father’s philosophy is followed all over the world and does not need to be changed.

I hope Harris comes to realize that Santa Claus unites us if we choose that path. The choice is not going to change by making Santa a penguin.

Anne P. SchaadFayette

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