Hey Everybody– The Grinch Was White!


“Santa just is white…Santa is what he is.”–Megyn Kelly of Fox News

It is a verifiable fact that our beloved Grinch, the curmudgeon on the hill we all love to hate and, ultimately, love to love, was originally white. As white as Cindy Lou and the rest of the Whos. As white as the paper on which this very real fake character was illustrated. So white, in fact, it makes me wonder if perhaps his name is short for Newt Gin-Grinch.

That’s right, when the original version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! was released in 1957 by Random House, Dr. Seuss depicted Christmas’s favorite antihero without any distinguishing color. Except for, it seems, the red of his eyes, whose bloodshot nature might explain why the Grinch was content being a hermit.

Then, suddenly, our Grinch was green, which I’ve been told, is a color it ain’t easy being. (I’m not sure when exactly the green was introduced. I didn’t care enough to research it.) So how could this be? How could a color just… change? Did the good Doctor intend the original version as a coloring book to be filled at the discretion of the individual child? Had he misplaced his paint palette? Or maybe we’re to believe the Grinch ripened over time? Or that he stumbled across the same gamma radiation that transformed Bruce Banner into The Hulk?

Or, is it possible, that nothing happened to him? That legendary characters can simply be revised, reshaped, and reinterpreted through the retelling of their stories?

I’m beginning to think the latter might be true, because I always thought Spiderman looked just like Tobey Maguire. Now, well, Spiderman has thicker eyebrows.

But what really boggles my mind is that nobody has resisted this kidnapping of a holiday icon from the race of the Whos to the race of the Yodas. Why aren’t we debating this? Why don’t the Whos fight back? How can they let the Grinch’s ethnicity be stolen, in much the same way he attempted to steal Christmas? Et tu, Cindy Lou?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. In fact, I’m almost done with my coffee. And I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe it’s because The Whos of the world know more than the humans. Maybe The Whos know that the color of the Grinch doesn’t change his story. They know that, just as Santa Claus represents faith, love, and cheer, the Grinch represents forgiveness, transformation, and celebration—universal themes that are not bound to any one color, and perhaps being territorial or demanding over his depiction defeats the very spirit of Christmas that the character was designed to teach you.

Maybe we, the humans, are the three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwiches with arsenic sauce. Maybe our hearts, too, could use to grow three sizes.

So, with that: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight.


4 thoughts on “Hey Everybody– The Grinch Was White!

  1. Very funny and truly made me cogitate on why and how the Grinch could change ethnicity over the years. Who knows what he’ll look like when Hollywood decides to do a remake…..my guess…..he’ll have numerous tattoos and piercings while sporting grillz on his crooked teeth. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. It’s funny, now that you point it out, it’s obvious. After a childhood of excitedly gathering around the television when the original cartoon movie made it’s yearly debut just before Christmas, all I knew was a green Grinch. Because of this, I saw green when looking at the original illustrations where he is obviously very white. My brain has always filled in the blanks with green and I never realized that it was not there. Thanks for the post, enjoyed reading it!

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