"Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless," Kelly said, referring to last Wednesday's show, in which she very matter-of-factly told the kids of America that both Santa and Jesus are "just white."
"This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society," Kelly continued, "in particular, the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful Fox News Channel."
[Pause for laughter]
Kelly went on to blame her image of Santa not on "racial fear or loathing" but on "a lifetime of exposure to the very same commercials, mall casting calls, and movies" referenced in the article that started it all: Aisha Harris's "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore."
"We continually see St. Nick as a white man in modern-day America," Kelly said. "Should that change? Well, that debate got lost because so many couldn’t get past the fact that I acknowledged, as Harris did, that the most commonly depicted image of Santa, does, in fact, have white skin."
Here, again, is a reminder of Kelly's exact quote from last week:
For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it.
"The fact that an off-hand jest I made during a segment about whether Santa should be replaced by a penguin has now become a national firestorm says two things," Kelly concluded. "Race is still an incredibly volatile issue in this country, and Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people."
To quote Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas: "Good grief."
Harris was on CNN's Reliable Sources yesterday to respond to Kelly's response.
She acknowledged that Kelly was laughing, but not because she was joking when she said Santa was white.
"There are a lot of people out there who automatically assume that Santa must be white and there's no way," Harris said. "It's laughable that he could be anything else."
[video via Fox News]