And you know I’m not talking about the snow, honey.
The holiday season is a tough time for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. I tweeted about this a little while back, and this post is to flesh out just what I was talking about.
Now some of the stress and difficulties during this season are universal. Especially in the USA where if you have television – I thankfully do not anymore – you are bombarded from around November 1st through December 25th (and sometimes even further) with just exactly how you are supposed to be celebrating the season.
Gathered around a crackling fire, with stocking hangings from the mantel, family and friends at your side, huge amounts of food and holiday treats, stacks and stacks of gifts. Oh and of course SNOW. It does factor in so many special ways – all of which I probably will get into during this post.
Now how many of us can live up to all of that? So many of us are estranged, or family is scattered far and wide across country and even the globe in many cases. Do you spend the holidays at home or do you spend it with the in-laws? Who has money for all that food, and all those presents? Plane tickets? And woe unto you who doesn’t give a gift to everyone you’ve ever known! There were times – quite recently I might add – where I could barely scrape together enough to give anything to my immediate family, much less anyone else.
It is stressful. And I also learned a new word watching a show on hulu – the only place I am subjected to ads during my TV watching: OutGift.
Yes. We are supposed to “outgift” everyone. What the hell is that?? Forget giving gifts for the normal regular reasons: I dunno love, care, thoughtfulness, tradition, thankful etc but no, you have to compete (with who exactly??) to give the best gifts or whatever. And also how military some of these shopping ads are. Moms kicking ass and taking names as they go down the aisles at Walmart scoring the perfect gifts. Makes my skin crawl.
Suicide is also common around this time of year. Years ago, my own cousin took his life after spending one last Christmas with his family. Also, those, like myself with mental illness also need to take more care with yourself, and bolster up those support systems and make sure you are ok during this time of year.
If you need help with hotlines and/or outreach and help in your local area, hit me up in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. I’m happy to help out. I got your back.
Now on to some stuff that is not so universal. Some of the stress making stuff that maybe you are not too familiar with, or maybe never even thought about.
For POC, this season is particularly stressful due to everything being white white white white white. Everything. I’m not kidding. Santa is white, the elves are white, the prerequisite snow notwithstanding. Holiday ads and the general theme of the season in the USA likes to hark back to yesteryear (cue Bing Crosby singing White Christmas if you dunno what I mean) – never mind “yesteryear” wasn’t such a lovely time for POC in this country – and damn near ALL the holiday entertainment fare is white as a Minnesota blizzard
Apparently POC do not celebrate Christmas. Even the animals are white. Right now, the majority of people in America are white people. But the percentage break downs are no slouch for the other folks either. And this chart is from 2007. Lots babies were born in the last 7 years, and according to the census not a lot of them were white.
Yet you barely see anything close to %14 Black representation, or the %16 Hispanic representation or even the %35 block of all POC combined. White Christmas.
There is only one exception that I won’t ever include in all of this, because well BECAUSE: It’s A Wonderful Life. A trailing second would have to be Polar Express because they tried, they really did.
The leads were called Hero Boy and Hero Girl and the little girl was a little Black girl. How often do little Black girls get to be heroes? And in a Christmas movie no less?
But it was very much White Male Lead syndrome and a little scary how God-I mean Santa was portrayed
I kept expecting angels to float down from on high and light the star on top of that tree. And WOE unto thee little child if you did not
Forget coal in your stocking, you might end up burning in hell. But like I said, they did try, and I get to see a little Black girl being awesome every time I watch that movie. AND I believe it spawned THIS. Yes a real life “polar express” train that every year caters to 600 or so “underserved” children, complete with Santa giving out gifts to the excited passengers
Who are much more multi-cultured than the movie’s passengers I’m Just Saying. But every year these kids get a thrill of a lifetime and I’m good with that.
Santa Claus, Saint Nick and Black Pete
The call him the coca-cola Santa Claus around these parts, and you all know who I mean. That jolly fellow! Rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, hops down chimneys, gives out gifts, has cute lil helper elfs and lives at the North Pole. Chris Kringle, Pere Noel, SinterKlaus, Father Christmas, Jolly Old Saint Nick.
Every year something happens about Santa’s race. There is a recent kerfluffle if you care to Google about it, but I only mention it in passing. See, I really don’t care. In my view you can dress up as Santa no matter what race you are – go for it!
But a lot of people do happen to care. Because like with Polar Express, they keep trying to squeeze Santa in a close as as possible to the religious part of Christmas – oops did we forget that part? You know, the birthday of Jesus and all that. So Santa becomes god-like, and we all know God is a bearded white guy in the sky so it’s tantamount to sacrilege to have Santa be anything but white.
And sorry to rain on your snow blizzard but scholars – religious and otherwise – have put the birth of Christ to anywhere but anytime near December. March or April I think are the likeliest months for his advent. Like most major Christian holidays – Holy Days – they were tacked on or near existing pagan celebrations, in order to make it easier to convert.
Winter, MidWinter, Winter Solstice etc. Why also do you think All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween/Samhain) and All Saints Day are jammed so close together on the calendar?
And speaking of Saint Nick. That holiday celebrated in the Netherlands and other places in Europe usually night of December 5th/day of the 6th. In many places it all but takes precedence over Christmas, if that is even celebrated at all.
Which brings me to Black Pete.
People get up in arms every year about Black Pete. I, myself don’t give a heck. There are many more incidents of Blackface right here in America that could use our attention. If these white white nordic people want to keep doing their Blackface well good on them.
If you wiki it up on Black Pete, you’ll see that these people would rather DIE then give up their Black Pete. Reminds me of a lot of white supremacy goings on in this country. People would rather DIE than give up their power and privilege.
The Netherlands and all them are not going to give up their Black Pete thing anytime soon, if ever. Cold dead hands, pry etc. Move on to something closer to home if you want to tackle some racism issues.
I’d rather work on the issues here at home, than worry about some problems some lily white country has with their own racism. America can start pointing fingers once it’s own act is cleaned up, and not before.
And I’m tired of us being the World Police. Especially when our own country is in such a sorry state of affairs. Remember we were the ones who allowed a handful of nutjobs to shut down our government and cost this nation billions because the President is Black. Yes, that’s what it all boiled down to, and if you don’t know, ask me in comments and I’ll tell you.
This is the country that would rather take food out of the mouths of the poor, the children, the elderly and our veterans rather than touch a dime of the trillions and trillions set aside for our military.
I love charts! Here is what I mean:
That is for 2011, but the percentages are pretty much the same year to year. See that tiny little teal blue slice near the 11 o’clock position next to the pink slice? That is the %1 set aside for the Farm Bill which happens to have SNAP benefits attached to it. THAT it what was targeted – and accomplished for “saving money”. Didn’t want to touch that BIG BLUE SWATH that is our military spending, nossir not THAT.
And before you start crying about how “weakened” we would be if we touched a penny of our “defense” budget take a gander at how the rest of the world shapes up to us in that regard
We MIGHT be in trouble if everyone else and the rest of the world banded together. Like THAT is ever going to happen. But lets starve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens before we ever consider stopping building more tanks and missiles.
Merry Christmas. No stress. Try feeding your family now. No money left over for gift giving? Sorry not sorry, we had to cut SOMETHING. Just in time for the holidays. Falalalala!
Psst! Wasn’t a bunch of white guys in Blackface over in the Netherlands who cancelled Christmas, it was bunch of white guys right here at home in the hallways of your own government who decided that was the good and the right thing to do.
It isn’t the cold that makes me shiver around this time of year. And really, not everyone gets snow for Christmas. I grew up in East Africa and didn’t see my first snow until I was over seven years old. The holidays were the hot season there, and we’d always go to the coast and spend Christmas in a beach house. I associated the holiday season with hot sand and warm turquoise water, not the cold and the snow.
But what makes me shiver is the excuse of the “White Christmas” that some
white folks take so much glee with. And I don’t even know if it is conscious or not. But they get to let their freak flag fly white flag fly and not be ashamed, or even worry about it – because it is CHRISTMASTIME and WHITE is the COLOR OF CHRISTMAS: Snow, and candles, and Santa, and angels, and little white baby Jesus and SNOW!
White people going on sleigh rides, white people sitting by the fire sipping on wine and entertaining family and white friends for the holidays, little white children opening presents, and all the Christmas movies, ads and show depicting those exact same things over and over and over.
There was a time when I celebrated Kwanzaa every year for awhile just to have something Of Color in my environment. And that is another thing about the race of Santa Clause I don’t care about. His origins are Western, European ie white. I don’t try very hard to squish myself into or associate myself with such whiteness. I really don’t. But as I said, if you want to be a Black Santa or an Asian Santa: go for it! Anything to add some Color into the Blizzardly Whiteness of this season.
I personally had wonderful Christmases growing up. My parents did the whole nine yards. Our season looked like the television version. There were also some not so wonderful holiday times. Like when my brother broke my father’s nose in some argument. Well, you can’t coop up extended family in a cabin in the snow for weeks on end and not have something happen. But they always tried, and I have tons more happier memories than sad ones about the holidays.
So my ire about this season comes not from some Lifetime Family Special about something horrible happening around this time of year in my childhood. No, it comes from everything I’ve just said about it. At least that’s what happens in America.
So if you are universally stressed around this time of year: I feel you.
If you are specifically stressed around this time of year: I feel you.
Recommended: The Retroactive Erasure of the Black Madonnas of Europe.
Black Madonna and Child
Eight or so months late but happy birthday lil Black baby Jesus!