In recognition of Black History Month, Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is highlighting the critical gap in understanding the experiences of Black and African American service members, especially in their transition from military to civilian…
Diverse Santas Are Good for Us
Last month, the Mall of America announced that the cast of six Santas at The Santa Experience will include an Asian Santa for the first time. The cast of Santas included two Black Santas as well as bilingual Santas, one speaking Spanish and another Cantonese.
For Charisse L’Pree Corsbie-Massay, Syracuse University associate professor of communications at the Newhouse School, said that the increased demand for diverse Santas that reflect the society is because:
- “Santa is bigger than the narrow narratives that have been previously constructed,” said Corsbie-Massay. “But the opportunity to put characters in different bodies to tell different stories helps us understand the diversity of humanity.”
Corsbie-Massay, mother to a young son, says that she makes Black Santas part of her home decoration for the holidays.
- “I like to have our house filled with Black Santas because I need my son to know that Santa was from Myra, formerly Asia Minor. and now present-day Turkey. We do go see Santa but Santa does not come to our house because the historical Santa of Myra helped those in need. So that is an easy way to focus on the narrative of Santa without the expectations of Santa leaving you presents under the tree,” said Corsbie-Massay.
Corsbie-Massay, was recently interviewed on the topic by ABC News for the digital story: Diverse Santas seen as an important evolution for St. Nick.
- In the news piece, she said ‘”Santas that are Black or other minorities meets the community’s needs for self-representation. Santa as an idea is valuable. We can talk about Santa in different types of bodies can add value to us as a society,’ she said.”
In addition to her teaching and research, Corsbie-Massay is the co-host of the podcast Critical and Curious.
She is also the author of “Diversity and Satire: Laughing at Processes of Marginalization” (2022) that examines how satire in both traditional media and new spaces reinforces or disrupts issues of marginalization in the United States. Her previous book “20th Century Media and the American Psyche: A Strange Love” (2021), bridges media theory, psychology, and interpersonal communication by describing how our relationships with media emulate the relationships we develop with friends and romantic partners through their ability to replicate intimacy, regularity and reciprocity.
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