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Really White

The flap over Megyn Kelly declaring both Santa Claus and Jesus white has made its way through Colbert Nation and the Daily Show so what more need be said?

Well, thanks to Commonweal reader, Julian Irias, there is one more thing to say: Kelly should have used the correct word, "albification," meaning--well you Latin scholars will know. If she had, no one would have known what she was talking about.

From Websters' unabridged: Albification
Al`bi*fi*ca"tion\, n. [Cf. F. albification: L. albus white + ficare (onlyin comp.), facere, to make.] The act or process of making white.[Obs.]
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

As Mr. Irias observes, the obsolesence was a bit premature. Thank you Mr. Irias.

Now we can all dream of the albification of Christmas.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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I like Megyn and not because she is pretty. She is one of the more sensible people at Fox News.  Though I thought she ridiculuously gave Ted Cruz credit for being clairvoyant about Obama Care. I did watch live the famous election night walk to the Fox analysts which made Carl Rove look dumb and captapulted her into fame. She is different and does try to look at things and not be outright partisan as too many at Fox and even MSNBC are.  Here is her response.

^Wow, that was pathetic.

Her damage control was a little odd, too.  She says she now realizes it is not entirely clear that Jesus was white. 

Bill M: Far be it from me to question your preference for Megyn Kelly, but if not her looks? Not her defensiveness, I assume...roundabout explanations? Blue eyes?

Now now Peggy. It is enough that I have Abe to deal with. Did you read my link. She was quoting a black writer who objected to the present depiction of Santa as fat and obvously not that great a health model for kids. Pick on Santa. Not on Megyn. I have taken the time to listen to her a few times. Have you? She is not just a pretty face. Gerelyn!! Where are you when I need you!!!

  She is not just a pretty face. Gerelyn!! Where are you when I need you!!!

I'm not just a pretty face, either.  

(I expected to see a Margaret blog today, but I thought it would be about the "scholars" who are boycotting Israel.)

The American Studies Association has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities, said Curtis Marez, the group’s president and an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable, but he said, “one has to start somewhere."

I like Megyn too, partly because she is pretty.   Sue me.

Why were the Gospel writers so indifference to their characters' physical appearance? Why did they not tell us whether Jesus was tall or thin, fat or short, light-skinned or dark-skinned, right- or left-handed? Why did they not tell us more about his features?


Maybe Jesus looked like the Shroud of Turin,

You mean, very short?

Albification. Sounds like something you do with laundry bleach. "I'm albifyin' me undies."

People tended to lose sun-blocking melanin and become whiter as they moved into northern latitudes where lower levels of sunlight reduced vitamin D synthesis. So that would work for Santa, toiling away at the North Pole. But Jesus, out and about on the roads and hillsides of semi-tropical Palestine, would need all the melanin available to avoid skin cancer. In those climes, of course, people tend to cover up with totally albified robes and headdresses.

Then again, maybe Jesus got his color from his Father, which also does not settle the question.

Everyone was shorter then.  And in that region, particularly short.  But strong as an ox from doing carpenter work.

Here's a picture of him from Bridge Builder icons.

I don't think he looked like that.  He would have been stockier, no sloping shoulders.  And hairier.

Why were the Gospel writers so indifferent to their characters' physical appearance?

We know that Zacchaeus was short.  We know what John the Baptist wore coming out of the desert, and what Jesus wore on the day of his crucifixion.  Beyond that, I'm not thinking of any physical descriptions.

I bet Jesus looked nothing like the movie Jesuses who are mostly kind of sappy; he probably  looked like one of the cool Sabra guys you run into odd places; in biblical dress, though.


Never for a moment did I think you were just a pretty face.

Another albification?

“We’ve seen several red lines put forward by the president, which went along and became pinkish as time grew, and eventually ended up completely white,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia. “When that kind of assurance comes from a leader of a country like the United States, we expect him to stand by it.”

Methinks the Prince protests too much! Wasn't he the Saudi ambassador on 9/11? Who hustled all those Saudi's home?


I found Turki (or the reporter attempting to interpret what he said) hard/impossible to understand.  Even this bit:   

 “The game of hegemony toward the Arab countries is not acceptable,” the prince said. Just as Arabs will not dress as Westerners do, he said, “we won’t accept to wear Iranian clothes, either.”

Though it does sound very Obama-esque you must admit. 

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