It’s probably the only blog post being published on the internet today written from the perspective of a professional Santa on the topic of race relations in the United States of America. You will be the judge of its profundity.
Let me just define the issue for a moment: race relations includes anyone who isn’t me. It seems to be the popular definition in the media today, as you’re probably a racist no matter what you say if you are different than the person you’re talking about. Religion has now been thrown in with skin color/ethnic background. Just wanted to be clear on my perspective.
Down to the nuts and bolts: each and every one of you, on all sides of the issue, need to lighten up and follow Santa’s lead on this item. Not me, Santa. You see, I get to portray a great Christian from another era. He was a Turk or a Greek, depending on which side you ask. He was white, or he was dark. None of it mattered. Nicholas was the man on the side of the child. We’re all children of God. (Perhaps you can see where this is going?)
The other night I worked a large party and took hundreds of photos with people. My photographer was a young man from Northeast Minneapolis. Born and raised there, he still self-identified as a Palestinian. Okay, that’s his choice. His partner was a fellow of his same age who was about as Wonder Bread as they get. During the course of the evening we were involved in taking pictures of Christians, Jews, Muslims, men, women, children, white, black, yellow, red, and a few shades that I wasn’t familiar with even at my age. I don’t know if any of them were from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, because I didn’t ask. I did notice color. You have to set the lights up differently to get the right picture depending on skin tone.
That’s what it came down to: honoring the skin tone so the picture showed up legible. Other than that, our goal was to get great pictures with good smiles. My personal goal was to say a prayer for each of the people who took a picture with me.
I met my goal. And I did something else: I felt that love for each of those people that Jesus feels for all of humanity. We’re not different under the skin. We have the same hopes, loves, phobias, dreams, and concerns. Some of us are hurting in the heart, some have broken limbs, others have money problems. But all of us are simply children of The King. (And, I don’t mean Elvis.)
If each of us would just back away from the television for a few minutes and think like rational beings we’d all be better off. I won’t go through the tired litany of “Not all…” for the millionth time. But I will point out that Martin Luther King Jr. had the thing nailed when he hoped that one day we’d judge based on character not skin color.
Have there been issues in our past? Absolutely. But to blame a 28 year old for something that happened 200 years ago is pretty sad. We don’t visit the sins of the forefathers in my tradition. We start clean when we meet and treat each other with respect until that has been proven to be wrong.
Go forth today and look anew at your coworkers, fellow students, neighbors, and casual acquaintances. Judge them for who they are, not what they are. Because the latter only matters to get the color balance and light levels right when you’re sitting with Santa.
Let’s stop hating because of appearance. Because that lets Satan win the battle. Try it Christ’s way and love your neighbor.