Anderson Cooper on Santa's Race: 'I Don't Even Know If I'm White Anymore'

CNN's Anderson Cooper decided to wade into the debate Tuesday concerning what race Santa Claus is.

Apparently, this whole discussion - partially precipitated by Fox News's Megyn Kelly - has Cooper so confused that he told his audience near the close of his program, "Frankly, I don't even know if I'm white anymore" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: You probably heard about a very important debate going on right now over Santa Claus. It all started when Megyn Kelly said this on FOX News regarding a tongue-in- cheek suggestion that maybe Santa shouldn't be a white man but a more all-inclusive penguin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa, but, you know, Santa is what he is and just so you know, we're just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So that was last week and the debate began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AISHA HARRIS, SLATE: There are a lot of people out there who automatically assumed that Santa must be white.

TOURE NEBLETT, MSNBC: Santa Claus is black, he just is.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Santa is black, Santa is white, Santa is red.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Ms. Kelly is correct, Santa was a white person.

LEMON: Santa Claus to me is a black man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The point is that Santa, if you believe in him, which many of us do, is a function of what you grew up with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: [Unintelligible] to my Jamaican Santas, [unintelligible] to my Haitian Santas and you know what, [unintelligible] to my Cuban Santas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


COOPER: Look, we wanted to avoid all the speculation. Just get to the facts. Just ask Santa himself what race he is. The problem is, for some reason, we were unable to get a hold of him. We just couldn't do it. Now I suppose because it's his busy season.

We had a bunch of other questions to ask as well besides the race thing. Like what about religion? I always like to think if Santa is a Presbyterian but look, can I say that definitively? No.

I'll tell you this. The whole debate of whether Santa is white is going to pale in comparison to what happens if it comes out that he's a whiken. Also do we even know where he was born? Where is the birth certificate, Mr. Kringle?

This whole debate is very confusing to me. What about the nine ladies dancing and the eight maids-a-milking? Are they white? Suddenly I feel like I need to know. Is Frosty the Snowman white? What about the little drummer boy? Frankly, I don't even know if I'm white anymore.

Help me, Megyn Kelly. Please explain what you meant. I just want my life back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Humor is a part of what we try to bring to this show, but sometimes that is lost on the humor list. This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society. In particular the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful FOX News Channel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Bam. Now that that is cleared up, we can get back to more important issues like whether Santa is a Democrat or a Republican? I will let someone else hash out that and just say Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.


To be sure, Cooper was speaking with his tongue firmly place in his cheek, but I like that.

If Slate's Harris - who started this whole thing - and Fox's Kelly claim to have been jesting by bringing this subject up, maybe we should all take a deep breath along with a chill pill and see some humor in the discussion.

Frankly, I'm with Cooper - I'm not sure I'm white anymore, either.

I'm also not sure if Superman was white, or Batman, or Atticus Finch, or Vito Corleone.

After all, those are fictitious characters, right? Shouldn't people be able to "envision" them in any image they want?

Or does that undermine literature?

If you envision Atticus Finch as not being white, that destroys the critical plot line of a white man in the Depression era south defending an innocent black man.

Not much of a story without that, is there?

For me, all this discussion reminds me of the Ursula K. Le Guin novel "The Lathe of Heaven" wherein the lead character who has effective dreams - meaning that whatever he dreams actually comes true - is asked by his psychiatrist to solve racism.

When he wakes up, everyone looks exactly the same - gray clothes, gray skin, gray hair.

Seems like a pretty bland world to live in, don't you think?

Aren't we better to cherish our differences rather than do everything to mask and avoid discussing them?

Where does it end? Will everything we've been taught be rewritten in the name of political correctness?

I don't know about you, but I sure wish all those promises that racism would be eliminated if Barack Obama was elected president had panned out.

(HT TVNewser)

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.