How 6 to 8 Black “Helpers” become Reindeers

On Ruining Christmas: Whitesplaining and Racism and Why I can’t celebrate anymore fake holidays

When Aisha Harris’ demands that our image of Santa be more appropriate and inclusive, she suggests we make find a penguin to represent the historically gift giving figure. I’ve heard a derivative of this argument before: through video games, researchers found that, humans relate more to non-human representations of ourselves (i.e. zombies and, by extension, other mutated forms of living things). For me, this resonates with the story behind Saint Nick in the Netherlands. In Six To Eight Black Men which sounds like David Sedaris in stand up, the author fails to recognize the evolution of Santa’s elves. Violent black bodies that perform at the behest of a weakly white man…sounds really racist and a lot like the literary byproduct of the stereotypes reinforced through colonialism. The story becomes more amiable in the 1950s when the relationship turns into a “friendship”: removing it from its original master-slave dynamic.

Sedaris, David. “Six to Eight Black Men”. St. Nicholas Center. Web. 12 December

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