Not sure if this is even newsworthy from the point-of-view of a child, but it’s been reported the Mall of America hired its first black Santa. This is hardly the first black Santa, by any stretch; salaried or otherwise, just for the Mall of America.
Let’s try to see things through the eyes of the child. What might best be described generally as “The Age of Belief” falls roughly between the ages of 2 and 7 years. It’s that time of life when a child is building his or her vocabulary at a break-neck pace. What’s actually happening is the kid is just collecting labels. All things are new in the eyes of a child. Mostly it’s a collection of labels naming thousands of things but also their descriptors of what it’s like and what it’s for and how one thing (or one person) relates and interacts with another. Prior to age two a child can hardly string a whole sentence together but by age seven they’ve become so familiar with day-to-day cause and effect and the language that describes it they are better equipped to descern and question irrational nonsense. The magical world dwells outside the scope of reason, and ultimately falls into disrepute.
A child is literal and unsophisticated and believes whatever they’re told.
If a child is told stories about Santa Claus, who he is and what he does and how he has a naughty and nice list, the child developes a vague notion of what constitutes naughty and nice and in turn developes a naughty and nice list criteria of their very own. By reputation Santa is very, very nice. Children begin to judge the grown-ups around them on that very same basis, of being either naughty or nice.
The terms ‘Black’ and ‘White’ are egregiously erroneous descriptors as applied to people to begin with and worse when applied as general, universal categorical labels.
If the descriptors regarding skin tone or race go unnamed, are not dwelt upon or are not pointed out they are simply not part of a child’s growing vocabulary and play no role in judging whether a person is naughty or nice.
Whether Santa Claus has rosy cheeks and a ruddy nose or of a swarthier complexion matters not to those children living in the magical Age of Belief.
The question is: Are you naughty or nice?