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TODAY   |  December 16, 2013

Anchor stirs flap for saying Santa is white

A comment from Megyn Kelly, a popular personality on Fox News, declaring that Santa Claus is white has spurred controversy about race during the holiday season. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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12/31/13. walmart.

>>> we're back at 7:44 with a christmas controversy tied to santa claus . what does he really look like? kristen welker has more on that.

>> good morning to you. this debate is focussed on santa claus but it's about a much larger issue in this country. the issue of race and it started when a popular cable news anchor declared santa is white. santa claus is coming to town and on a lot of kids' minds. but now he's at the center of a heated debate which started when the african american blogger wrote a column last week arguing santa should be a penguin instead of a white man insisting the switch could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that she remembers from childhood. megan kelly seized on the comments last wednesday.

>> this is so ridiculous. yet another person claiming it's racist to have a white santa , you know? and by the way for all of you kids watching at home, santa just is white.

>> reporter: words that got her on the naughty list of news organizations and pundits and comedians. she responded. her initial words are tongue and cheek.

>> race is still an incredibly volatile thing in this country and fox news and yours truly are big targets for people.

>> i thought she was sort of angry about the fact that i suggested he couldn't be white.

>> reporter: a high school teacher in new jersey was recently disciplined for telling this black student santa is white. both incidents underscoring just how prevalent the imagine of a caucasian santa continues to be. but at this los angeles mall, old st. nick is latino and african american . diversity that makes a difference to these parents.

>> we hear there's a korean santa and hispanic santa . we want every year for him to take a photo with different santas.

>> it matters only because the hooks and tv, they show it as being one race. so i want him to be able to see that there's more than one.

>> nbc news contacted fox news for comment and they declined saying that kelly had already responded to the criticism, matt.

>>> all right kristen welker, thank