tv The 11th hour CNN December 16, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm PST
piece of a holiday party and toy drive. where there is a will, there's a way to build an igloo. way to build an igloo. "the 11th hour" starts now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com i'm don lemon. this is "the 11th hour." this is what everyone will be talking about tomorrow and the next week or so is santa claus, st. nick, kriss kringle. another news anchor declared that santa is white. we'll get into that. i want to warn all the parents out there, i'm about to say something for adult ears only. take a minute to send your kids out of the room. the real santa is here. which one is he?
that was an awesome moment. let me start out by saying is that the one thing we all agree on is santa is not real. everybody clear on that? he's not real. and neither are the easter bunny and the tooth fairy, no one is questioning their race yet. santa is a symbol of a magical time of year. why are we arguing about the race of an imaginary figure? >> reporter: forget the weather on christmas. according to megan kelly it's santa who should always be white. a person claiming it is racist to be a white santa. santa just is white but this person is arguing that maybe we should also have a black santa. >> that person kelly is
referring to is a person who wrote this blog for slate. she argues that times have changed. she suggested making him a penguin. she wrote for one thing making santa claus an animal could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame i remember as a child. >> for kids it's important they don't have to feel bogged down that santa is always white. >> but it was kelly's declaretive that santa is white that captured the attention of late night television. >> the truth is out. i'm black as hell. >> the real st. nicholas is from the world that is now part of turkey and he probably looked something like this. >> according to the st. nicholas
center which is dedicated to the truth of santa claus. he was originally greek. >> kelly has since said her santa comment was tongue in cheek and has been blown way out of proportion. >> for me the fact that an off hand jest i made about whether santa should be replaced by a penguin has now become a national firestorm says two things, race is a volatile issue in this country and fox news and you your truly are big targets. >> for "the 11th hour," martin savage, cnn. here to talk about this is an author of a book called
"zealot." >> i want to play megan's response to her comments. >> this would be funny if it was not so telling. the knee jerk instinct by so many to race bait and assume the worst in people. >> bill you think she has a point but you say that santa is white? >> there is no question about it. he is st. nick. nick was greek. the last time i checked greeks weren't black. it is much ado about nothing. i never met a racist at fox or cnn in my life and god knows that megan kelly doesn't have a racist bone in her body. people need to lighten up. maybe they need to have a beer or something -- >> i don't disagree with you. smo no one is calling her racist and none of my guests are calling her racist. the controversy was about saying
that santa claus is white. jesus is white. no one is calling megan kelly a racist. >> for 87 years, macy's has had a thanksgiving day parade. they end it every year with a white guy. i used to work in spanish ha harlem. we had black santa claus. people just need to lighten up. >> i think he has a point. and what i said before is the traditional depiction of santa claus, the popular depiction of santa claus is a white guy. >> and he is fictional. and for all the children who might be watching, it is past your bedtime. you deserve to know that traditionally he is an obese
alcoholic elf with questionable labor practices and animal cruelty. >> oh, my gosh. amy. >> this is ridiculous that we are even having this debate. if you live in hawaii, santa claus has a tan. and everyone knows that santa is your parents. whatever race they are is the race that santa is. he is a fictional character we should be able to embra embrace >> at first i thought i can't believe i'm having this conversation. and as i have been doing this story people are saying that, we need to come to a consensus as to what color santa claus is. you may think it is a silly argument. i think that this says a lot about our society and our culture. >> that i'm absolutely in agreement with you on. i mean, white is more than just
a color. let's be honest with you. i don't think many greek people would be white in so far as the rosie cheeked santa that we are used to seeing. why is the cultural considerations that go beyond the color of your skin. i think that is what megan kelly was talking about. and it's true for 75 years the santa at the macy's day parade has been white. and that is because for 75 years we were majority white. we are not going to be majority white in this country. >> the original slate article to me was as equally silly. the original author was saying that this character was white and it ought to be a penguin. i contend to you that he is whoever you wish him to be.
there are jewish santa clauss and all of this is much ado about nothing. and santa claus from the 1800s was also a smoker, a drinker and binge emotional eater. >> what did santa claus ever do to you? >> he was good to me. when we discover that he doesn't exist are we supposed to have this crippling distrust of older white men with beards? >> listen, i don't think it's ridiculous. because obviously we are talking about it. it struck a cord with a lot of people. and to say the original article was trying to say, listen, even little black kids need to be reaffirmed that santa -- that santa could be like them. look at the kid who went to school in new mexico and told he couldn't be santa because santa is white. that affects kids' self esteem. >> that teacher was an idiot and
he was -- >> we're making huge leaps here. before you are hearing the other guests saying in a serious tone that maybe megan had an agenda is what he is applying. you need to lighten up, sir. there is nothing wrong with megan kelly. she is having good fun. but when you get serious that when you lose most americans. most americans regard anyone taking this too seriously. >> i think what people are saying is white as a default in this country when the demographics of our current are changing that's the issue. >> he is half white and -- >> i think the president is black when most people see him. >> his mother was white. >> the world sees him as a black man.
>> you don't say your mom must have been white. my grandmother is white. they don't see me and go, don, you are one quarter white. it's not that way. >> i'm an irishman. i don't identify as white. >> rezza go ahead. >> how do you know that? >> another issue is megan kelly's assertion that jesus is white. >> do not be give my next segment away. thanks to you guys, stand by we'll talk more if you think -- >> i'll come back to you. if you think this is controversial what about jesus? >> i want you to listen to is this song. this is from my childhood. we heard this every year.
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and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what? . i'm don lemon. this is "the 11th hour."
santa is one thing. but what about jesus. was jesus white? back with me is reza aslan and bill donahue. reza, you are a biblical scholar and written about the history and origins of jesus christ. you believe he was emphatically not white? >> gjesus was mediterranean and middle eastern. he had brown skin. he was probably hairy and had a larger nose. but the point i was making earlier was that what megan kelly is talking about is jesus the christ. the christ is white as far as megan kelly is concerned. he has been an infinitely
malleable character. when crow go to china, the christ is chinese. when you go to india i have seen pictures in which christ is blue as though he is a hindu god because as a character, as a spiritual character, he is always fit himself into whatever a particular community of faith wants him to be. if you are a white suburban american, then your christ is white and suburban and american. but the jesus of history was most definitely not white. >> so listen, bill, same thing. when i say the popular depiction of jesus is a white guy with the beard who looks like he is crunching granola. i put that on social media and said look who is selling christmas trees in my neighborhood. don, jesus is not white. is jesus white? >> jesus transcends color.
i'll agree with you on. that so that's why -- this is a multicultural moment. but let's face it the great artists did not turn him into a chinese person -- >> european artists. so -- >> in american movies. >> you are getting too serious on. that if you want him to be black or chinese or puerto rican, that's your business but he is depicted traditionally as being white. >> i was making a joke about this guy, jesus is selling christmas trees in my neighborhood, a light moment and i got serious responses. >> when it comes to religion it is personal and jesus as a pathway to personal salvation reflects the culture that is worshipping him. if you look at russian art he
looks russian. if you look at italian art he looks italian. he reflects the cultural values at the time. but as a point of historical fact i'm not an anth poll gist, he was bosh in trn in the middl not in scandinavia. >> most scholars are saying that jesus is not white. i feel like i let you off easy. if you are talking about historical fact what do you believe? >> you know the term, oh, jesus? he is irish. he is oh, jesus. jesus transcends color. we know he is a man. i imagine someone will be upset
about that too. maybe when we have martin luther king day he will be a white guy. this idea that everybody has to be included is meritless. >> you are saying that -- you know that martin luther king jr. was not a white guy. he is a black man. scholars are telling you that jesus is not a white man but you won't concede that point? >> i'm saying that hollywood has depicted him that way and the great artists have for hundreds of years. if you have a problem take it up with them. >> hollywood in american movies have made him look american and european artists made him look european. but there is something larger here that connects megan kelly's comments. >> how did megan get into this again. >> what she saying and what a lot of people mean when they say santa or jesus is white is that santa or jesus is mine.
>> how would you know what megan kelly thinks? how do you know about megan kelly's motive? how do you know that? >> what i'm saying -- >> you -- >> you just answered the question. what i'm saying is that in the very terminology of the way that we define these icons, whether they be spiritual icons like jesus or cultural icons like santa is it's deeply engrained in our sense of identity. it's about who we ourselves are. so we define these icons in the way we define ourselves. so you want your jesus or your santa to look just like you. to feel just like you. >> can i jump in here? >> i just thought santa was giving me free stuff and my biggest contention is that he might be a liberal. >> listen, santa and jesus people asking them for things all the time.
i think reza has a point when he says that. it's a time of year where you ask for things from both of them. and you all three have been naughty. >> a lump of coal. >> who better to settle the santa question than santa himself? actually, four santas. it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. >> ho-ho-ho. [ female announcer ] thanks for financing my first car. thanks for giving me your smile. thanks for inspiring me. thanks for showing me my potential. for teaching me not to take life so seriously. thanks for loving me and being my best friend. don't forget to thank those who helped you take charge of your future and got you where you are today. the boss of your life. the chief life officer. ♪
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i'm don lemon. this is "the 11th hour." we went out on the stories to ask the experts what they think about this santa controversy. >> do you know what santa looks like? >> he has a really, really big beard that's white. and white hair. and he has -- he has, um, white and red clothes. >> do you think of him in terms of what or race he is? besides he has a white beard.
>> i think he can be anything to anyone. >> why do you say that? >> everybody has a different visualization of santa. >> from the mouths of babes. you're awesome. thank you. give me a hug. merry christmas. >> she was very sweet. and we thought we would go directly to the big man for comment. we have more than we bargained for, not one or two or three but four santas. latino santa, we spent a lot of times debating white versus black, we haven't heard from you. what do you have to say? >> it doesn't matter what santa looks like. kids enjoy santa. they don't care. santa could be hispanic, african-american, filipino, they
love santa. >> filipino santa, raise your hand. we have heard less from you. what do you have to say for yourself? >> when kids see me, they love me. they don't think of me, why is he asian or why is he short? it doesn't matter if you are from african and believe in an asian santa claus or believe in a white santa claus, you know? it matters what santa claus does. it gives happiness and joy to kids. doesn't matter about the race. >> here's the thing. you're a good dancer. so i think that supersedes anything. you are the hip hop santa claus. now to black santa. where's the brother? so we have heard a song earlier declaring that santa claus is a black man. i have always known that. do you think that most people know that? >> no. most people have their own believes of santa.
santa could be anyone. it's based on you. >> so when you go out and dealing with kids does it matter that you are a black santa? >> no, it doesn't matter. they have no discretion. >> so white santa. last but not least. >> i feel left out. >> you hog everything, the history books and all that. does santa's ethnicity matter to kids? >> it depends on the parents. but the kids in general will meet a santa claus and because they have such love they will embrace him no matter his race. but there are types where i have been -- >> we are having -- >> is that his mic? >> i think my ear piece is going out. >> do you guys ever have any negative experiences especially the santas who are not white
with kids or do kids mostly love you guys? >> because i'm a hip hop dancer they love me. >> if there is a problem it comes from the parents, not the children. >> time now for the moment of truth, okay? are you ready for this? will the real santa claus please raise your hand? there we go. that's a real santa claus. i told the viewers we would come to a consensus about whattet ethnicity he is. santa is white. santa is black. santa is latino. santa is asian. and there is even a jewish santa claus in the newsroom and santa claus is even a cnn anchorman. so there you go. thank you, i appreciate it.
>> merry christmas. ho-ho-ho. >> so please don't listen to the next part. i don't want to get coal in my stock. tomorrow we will be talking about words specifically. are there some words you can't say. is the "n" word ever okay and who decided? brooke baldwin and "in case you missed it" starts right now. >> good evening i'm brooke baldwin and welcome to icymi, showcasing the best news all day. we have a lot to get to including the school shooting in colorado. for the first time we hear from the parents of the boy who brought a rifle into arapahoe high school and opened fire. also day after day of stifling heat, no power and the