I would again like to thank the donors to We Are Respectable Negroes' annual fundraiser. Some kind and generous folks threw some money into the begging bowl today. I am grateful and impressed. If you can and are willing here is the link.
Megyn Kelly's effort to defend the Whiteness of Jesus Christ and Santa Claus is an example of stupidity in action by those who do not know how stupid they really are.
[I wonder, is this a version of the Dunning-Kruger effect?]
I am not one for name-calling. However, Kelly is, to borrow from the movie Casino, "one dumb white woman". It takes practice to be so dim while so passionately arguing about the racial identities of mythical and historical-fictional characters.
Fox News and the Right-wing echo chamber preys on low information, racially resentful, white conservative voters.
[Or is it more accurate to suggest that these folks "pray to" Fox News and the Right-wing propaganda machine?]
Megyn Kelly's matter of fact assertion that Jesus and Santa Claus "must of course" both be "white" is a perfect fit for a public that believes that "there is a war on Christmas" and a black communist, socialist, fascist named Barack Obama is President of the United States. Such beliefs are the gravity holding together the intellectual constellation that is the Fox News Right-wing media universe and its public.
When you confront madness and insanity there is the risk that you too will become lost. If you have ever had a relationship with a mentally unhinged person (a boss, relative, friend, lover, or the like) with anger management issues and a persecution complex then you have an intimate understanding of how the irrational can convince the heretofore rational person that it is the latter who is crazy. Alternatively, if you work in the mental health field, some delusions are so compelling that at a certain point a clinician has to sit back and ask themselves, "do they know something I don't?"
Kelly has no such gifted insight to offer. But, she does provide an example of the oft-discussed "teachable moment".
I often use the phrase and concept "the white racial frame" in my online writings about White supremacy and white privilege as systems of power and knowledge that influence social institutions, politics, life chances, etc. in the United States and the West.
I try to provide examples of the white racial frame in practice when possible. Megyn Kelly's defense of the Whiteness of Santa Claus and Jesus is a perfect example of the white racial frame as a real social practice.
The white racial frame is a concept developed by noted sociologist Joe Feagin. He describes it as follows:
In the books Systemic Racism and The White Racial Frame I develop the concept of a white racial frame holistically and comprehensively. Since its development in the 17th century, this racial frame has been a “master frame,” a dominant framing that provides a generic meaning system for theracialized society that became the United States. The white racial frame provides the vantage point from which European American oppressors have long viewed North American society. In this racial framing, whites have combined racial stereotypes (the verbal-cognitive aspect), metaphors and interpretive concepts (the deeper cognitive aspect), images (the strong visual aspect), emotions (feelings), and narratives (historical myths like “manifest destiny of whites to spread across the country”), and routine inclinations to discriminatory action. This frame buttresses, and grows out of the material reality of racial oppression.
The complex of racial hierarchy, material oppression, and the rationalizing white racial frame constitute what I term systemic racism. This white racial frame includes much more than the usual somewhat weak concepts most scholars and popular analysts use in the study of US racial matters, such as stereotyping, prejudice, and bigoted discrimination.
The white racial frame has long been propagated and held by most white Americans–and even, in part, accepted by many people of color. For most whites, the racial frame is deeply held, with many stored “bits,” including stereotyped knowledge, racial images and understandings, racial emotions, and racial interpretations. Not all whites use the dominant frame to the same extent, and in everyday practice there are multiple variations. By constantly using selected bits of the dominant racial frame to interpret society, by integrating new items into it, and by applying its stereotypes, images, and interpretations in many discriminatory actions, whites imbed their racialized frame deeply in their minds.Santa Claus is a corporate creation based on a Turkish and Greek myth. There is no "real" Santa Claus. There is much debate surrounding the existence of a "historical" Jesus Christ. Among serious scholars and thinkers who meditate on these matters for a living, the consensus seems to be that there is no definitive visual depiction of Jesus. And as I wrote over at Salon.com, Jesus most certainly did not look like a white surfer dude. If the "historical" Jesus lived in the United States today, and based on his origins in the Near East and Mediterranean, he would be racially profiled and harassed by the United States' national security apparatus.
White supremacy works through taken for granted assumptions about reality. White supremacy also works through mental conditioning which trains its subjects thinking about the world. Consequently, White supremacy, or alternatively if one wants to be more narrow, white racism and white privilege, manifest themselves on both a conscious and subconscious level.
Thus, on one hand Megyn Kelly and others who are similarly delusional can argue with great confidence that Jesus Christ and Santa Claus were/are "white". Then, they can offer up a deflection and qualifier that "of course it doesn't matter what color Jesus Christ is".
There is the lie; it is revealed by a moment of cognitive dissonance. For Kelly and others who are either overly identified with Whiteness, pathological white racists, or just ignorant and have internalized white privilege and the white racial frame as "natural" and "normal", Jesus Christ and Santa Claus must be "white". No other explanation is viable or possible.
I marvel at the following puzzle. Whiteness and white privilege are so powerful, yet its owners are simultaneously so anxiety prone about their hold on Power. Some of them will even argue about the "real" skin color of fictional characters.
Faith is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means or appeals to facts or empirical reality. Religion has no place in politics or public policy in a secular society for those reasons. In a free society, Megyn Kelly and other white folks (and a good number of people of color too) are allowed to yearn for a white Jesus and a white Santa Claus.
But, why must Jesus be white for them to believe in his message? Would their investment in white skin privilege and Whiteness make them less able to pray before him, to humble and submit themselves, to kneel before a man of color as their personal savior?
Given how racism and conservatism are the same thing in post-civil rights America, I doubt that many Right-wing Christians would be able to do such a thing. Is their faith so weak?