New Mexico teacher tells black student he can't be Santa 'because Santa is white'

"He was embarrassed," says student's father.
By Evan Bleier  |  Dec. 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM
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During a holiday dress-up day at Cleveland High School in New Mexico, a teacher allegedly told a student that he couldn't be Santa because Santa is white.

Christopher Rougier, a freshman at the school, had his Christmas spirit crushed when his teacher disparaged him for wearing a Santa hat and beard.

"He was embarrassed," said the boy’s father, Michael Rougier.

"He needs to be fired," Rougier said of his son's teacher. "For him to make a comment like that, there has to be at a minimum prejudice in him, and we don't have room for that."

The incident comes on the heels of a widely-viewed Fox segment in which anchor Megyn Kelly reacted to a piece written by Aisha Harris about wondering why Santa Claus was white while she was growing up.

“And, by the way, for all of you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is arguing maybe we should also have a black Santa,” Kelly said. “But, you know, Santa is what he is."

Harris responded to the remarks on Sunday.

"To me, (it) just spoke to the reason why I wrote the piece, is that there are a lot of people out there who automatically assume that Santa must be white and there's no way -- it's laughable that he could be anything else," Harris said. "The point I was trying to make was that I think that we have, the world has changed a lot over the last 50, 100 years, and Santa Claus is a fictional character."

She added:

"He is nothing like the original historical figure he was based off of anymore. We've kind of evolved him into this magical mythical figure, and for kids, I think it's important that they don't have to feel necessarily bogged down that Santa is always white, and that's the way he should be."

Though the unnamed teacher has reportedly been disciplined, the school district has yet to comment about the situation or the nature of the discipline.


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