Santa Claus is His Name

Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus is his name and making children happy is his game; That is, until adults try to over complicate the issue. This guys name is not actually Santa Larry, Santa Clarence, or Black Santa, all of which undermine the notion that Santa Claus can legitimately include a Black, Brown, White, or Yellow representation.

I personally feel a bit put off with all of the ways that our cultural language choices reveal our underlying cultural beliefs about who is and who is not legitimate in terms of social roles.

Santa by no means is our only highly sanctioned social role. We have been known to socially make clear who is doing what work in specific circumstances by using language such as female president, male nurse, Black hockey player, White rapper, female trucker, and male administration assistant, to name a handful of examples. In short, we appear to result to legitimizing or delegitimizing (depending on context) language when we believe that someone is in a questionable social role. And while any group can be included in legitimizing language choices, women and people of color seem to be explained with legitimizing language at a far higher rate than other social groups.

If you would not describe people in terms of a male president, female nurse, White hockey player, Black rapper, male trucker, or female administrative assistant, you probably should not identify specifically who is doing any of that work. That should be the litmus test for your language choices.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could see that president, nurse, hockey player, rapper, trucker, administrative assistant, and Santa Claus are enough of a description?


3 thoughts on “Santa Claus is His Name

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