Sunday, October 28, 2007

Santa and Religion

I chose to do this political cartoon with Santa Claus. In the cartoon Santa first tries to say “Merry Christmas” then he is told that he can’t say that. Next he tries to say “Happy Hanukah” but he is also told that he can’t say that. Again he tries to say Kwanzaka and Ramadan and he still is told that he can’t say that. The reason he is not allowed to say these things is because it would be privileging one religion over the others. Due to the fact that Christianity is dominant and the majority of the people celebrate Christmas, he wants to say that but that is not politically correct so he is told he can’t say that. He then ends on his fourth try by just saying “Yo”.
The reason I chose this cartoon is because after seeing it, I realized the privilege I have as a Christian that Merry Christmas is the dominant term used for the holiday. Also in the cartoon, I saw connection of him following the path of least resistance by ending by just saying “Yo” and it also got me to thinking about why Merry Christmas is the most common term used.
In this cartoon, Santa is trying to wish people a Merry Christmas, but he is corrected each time he tries to say something because by wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukah, it is leaving out people of other religious backgrounds. In our society, Merry Christmas tends to be the dominate way we address the holiday. One reason for this could be that the majority of people are Christians and therefore celebrate Christmas. As stated in chapter six of Johnson titled What it all has to do With Us Johnson states, “In the end, the default position is to adopt the dominant version of reality and act as though it’s the only one there is” (80). Therefore, we use Merry Christmas as the term to address the holiday and act as though it’s the only way to address it and just turn a blind eye to the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. This is not the correct way to address the problem, but we have been doing it for so long that it is hard to change.
In the end, Santa just ends up saying “Yo”. This shows that there really isn’t a way to address the holiday without offending another group of people. By just saying yo, Santa is taking the path of least resistance because no group can object to that. As stated in Johnson, “By comparison, the path of least resistance is far more appealing, which is why it’s the one we’re most likely to choose” (80). Due to the fact that no one will object to him saying yo, Santa is avoiding any confrontations that he may run into with other religious groups and therefore taking the path of least resistance.
So is there really a correct way to refer to the holiday? I don’t think that there is a way that we can refer to the holiday without making another group of people mad. I think that it is something that has become such a large part of our culture that it would be really hard to change. The fact that we refer to it as Merry Christmas definitely gives privilege to a certain group of people but I think that the other groups have come to accept it as being referred to it as Christmas and it would be really hard to change.

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