Santa Don't Have Brown Elves: Normalizing Color For Kids Around The Holidays


By Jashima Wadehra

My first experience of what I️ like to call “innocent, unintentional racism” was when I️ was 15 at my very first job. I️ lived in Arizona, and despite the excruciating heat and palm trees decorated with lights I️ was determined to invoke a little NYC Christmas spirit into my life. I️ decided my first job would be as an Elf on the Santa set at the mall. It was great, my boss let us work as much as we could, we snuck pretzels under the register, children screamed, vomited and snotted on me, and overworked and underpaid parents screamed at me but I️ loved it.

One day, during a busy Saturday evening, I️ stood in my red apron guiding the kids to Santa and placing them on his lap. As one child is up next, I️ hear him telling his mother that he knows that this is not the real Santa and that she’s lying. The mother, doe-eyed asked, “Well, honey why on earth do you think he’s not Santa,” and the sweet boy responds, “Because Santa don’t have brown elves!”

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