Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Santa Isn't Black"!

(This is a re-post. I have writer's block!)

When's the last time you heard THAT at a Christmas party?

I heard it last night. Uttered by a 7-year old girl, embroiled in an argument with, you guessed it, a black Santa. Santa tried, in vain, to explain to her (over the raucous laughter) that there were, in fact, black Santas. "Just go out to East Denver".

She wasn't buying it.

I can't really say I blame her. I had to convince black Santa himself (as I was delivering my Santa suit a few days earlier) that there ARE black Santas. As proof, I showed him my Christmas ornament of a black Santa sitting at a piano.

He didn't buy it either.

Of course, until recently, no one thought that there would be a black President in the near future either. Which would lead one to think that times are changing, right? But change is slow, and racists never change their spots. (They just blot on a little concealer). But every woman knows that concealer doesn't work for very long.

I discovered a heavily "made-up" man at Friday night's Christmas party (which had no black Santas). We were having an interesting conversation about the First Amendment. Some of you might think that those are mutually-exclusive terms, but they're really not. (Previous readers will remember that I took a class in First Amendment Law taught by Archibald Cox).

Anyhoo, there was a small hullabaloo a while ago when a kid wore a t-shirt to school that said something about Obama being friends with terrorists. The school decided that the t-shirt was disruptive. They gave the kid the option to turn the shirt inside out, change, or be suspended. He chose to be suspended.

His father immediately alleged this was a violation of the First Amendment. So this guy at the party brings this up with a very strong belief that the First Amendment was, indeed, violated.

As someone who took First Amendment Law from the man who argued more First Amendment cases before the US Supreme Court than anyone else, and who had the most impact on how the First Amendment continues to be interpreted to this day, I explained to this man that kids in school do not enjoy the same First Amendment rights that the rest of us do.

This man was so annoyed that I felt I had to explain that this wasn't my idea. It's just the law. For a moment, I thought I had a real card-carrying member of the ACLU in my midst. But later, as he dismissed the notion of respecting others' religions, I realized that he was just another bigot.

I bet he would be surprised to know that Santa is black. (And God is a woman! )