Tuesday on Now with Alex Wagner, the host and her panel, Heather McGhee of Demos, Maggie Haberman of Politico, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine and David Corn of Mother Jones once again took up Megyn Kelly's comment last week that Santa Claus was white.
Alex Wagner set up the debate by implying that "people" are complaining that the criticism is simply race-baiting.
This is part of us versus them. We are claiming Santa Claus is white. Everybody needs to accept that because he is ours and you guys can have your other things like Kwanzaa, but Santa is white. And it does -- I think it's interesting how this sort of second day, third day of this, becomes people who want to talk about race are race-baiting us.
Heather McGhee commented that it is classic conservative racism:
Absolutely. I mean, this is the classic conservative sort of jujitsu here. It's first assert racial hierarchy, this beloved creature that children all across the country, our multiracial country, their dads dress up as Santa. He's not yours. Assert that racial hierarchy. He's ours. Your dad is actually ridiculous for dressing up as Santa if he happens to be Korean or black or something. And then, when someone says, hey, that's actually not the way we should treat each other and talk about each other, that’s race-baiting because you're actually surfacing that there is something different about the way that white Americans get to sort of own our cultural sort of language and then people of color have to sort of try to get a piece of the pie. It's really classic what we're doing right now.
David Corn added that complaints about political correctness was a Republican invention and defense mechanism:
This is a wonderful point. It really goes back a couple decades. Sometime in, like, the late '70s, beginning of the '80s, the Republican conservatives came up with this concept, political correctness. Like any time they said something was sexist or racist, you called them out and they said, oh, you want me to be politically correct. They used this as some sort of defense mechanism, like this invisible force field they would put up. And make you, you know the person doing the wrong, because you're questioning them.
There are a few problems with this discussion. For example; just who are these "people" Alex Wagner is talking about? Is Ms McGhee saying that one Fox News host represents all Republicans and conservatives? Ms. Kelly said her comment about Santa Claus was meant as a joke, how does that translate into all conservatives saying that Santa is not yours? And where is David Corn's proof that "political correctness" is a Republican invention?
Perhaps the biggest issue with the discussion is that, while Saint Nicholas the Turkish Bishop who the character of Santa Claus was based on was a real person, Santa Claus who Ms. Wagner has been talking about since Ms. Kelly's original statement last Wednesday is a myth - just as Alex Wagner's continual charges of Republican, Conservative, or Tea Party racism.