20 Years Ago, Zack de la Rocha Raged Against White Santa!

Categories: fresh nostalgia

zdlr_christmas.jpg
Photo by the late Andrew Youssef
"Fuck you, I won't tell you what I want for Christmas!"
With Christmas Eve a week away, is Santa Claus whiter than a snowstorm at the North Pole? The controversy over the tubby toy giver has been the latest salvo in the manufactured "War on Christmas" with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly recently declaring, "For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white." The comments were in response to Aisha Harris, who wrote the article for Slate titled "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore." Kelly has since claimed her comments were "tongue-in-cheek."

But long before this most recent flare up, Rage Against the Machine front man Zack de la Rocha raged against white Santa.

Back in December 1993, de la Rocha's band performed as part of the lineup for KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas concert. Rage Against the Machine took the occasion to deliver a half-hour set of acoustic versions of their blistering anti-establishment anthems and included rarities like an early, different version of "Testify" and "The House of Rage" featuring Maynard James Keenan.

It was during the band's rendition of "Take the Power Back" 20 years ago that its incendiary lead singer sounded off on Santa Claus. As guitarist Tom Morello provided a melodic bridge, de la Rocha preached:

"When I say 'no more lies' I'm telling you that we're not here to celebrate this lie that is Christmas with images of Santa, this prosperous white man bringing presents and good hope to the communities of our country is a fat lie," he ranted, "and is one installed only to legitimize the falsehood which is white supremacy!"

Listen to de la Rocha spread the good holiday cheer at the 6:14 mark:

See also:
10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die
25 Greatest Orange County Bands of All Time
20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time: The Complete List

Follow us on Twitter at @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
51 comments
P Verdin Jimenez
P Verdin Jimenez

Joe Reyes it has been said.. knowledge is good but wisdom is greater.. read hey Bible brother you might learn something... and it is written " every knee shall bow"

Joe Reyes
Joe Reyes

Boy are you lacking in Historical information. I also believe in elves and faries o yes and Santa Claus.

Joe Reyes
Joe Reyes

Your denial is my best proof of you static condition. An ancient religion that has proven itself to be about money and power. Just last week I witnessed a bunch of beautiful people carrying a mono around the streets like a bunch of little kids in awe of a toy. How primitive and regressive.

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

I believe in Santa Claus more than I believe in Zack's racist ranting.

P Verdin Jimenez
P Verdin Jimenez

Joe Reyes yes..I LOVE my Lord and MY GOD JESUS CHRIST and His CATHOLIC CHURCH!..for I am NOT ASHAMED to proclaim it, it's an HONOR ..hopefully one day you'll see the light..and no Joe, we don't "pray" to idols or "monitos de barro" as you call it...we PRAY to God..if there is a cross, an image, a status, its only a remembrance - just like when you look at your family's pictures Joe, do you look at them and worship the piece of paper their image is printed?..no!..you have the picture because you love and adore them..

Joe Reyes
Joe Reyes

SO then burn a candle at his mono de barro or wood and talk to it. Pretty schizo, o yes I forgot your holy leader told you it is ok. Pretty neandertal to me buddy. La rasa will always be a step or two behind until they see what this so Called Roman Catholic church is all about. Read some history bro. You can bring up all your Catholic scholars names, they are the reason you believe in saints and a supersticious act called mass.

Ric Brown
Ric Brown

Santa is an ELF, ergo he is GREEN. For crying out loud, people, does no one watch Keebler commercials?

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Interesting discussion. Personally, I'm more offended by folks who insist on depicting Jesus Christ as Anglo...and I'm white! How the hell does anyone know for sure what he looked like?

Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker

Once again, Alicia . . . cool. The point is that a prophet does go mainstream (such as Chavez or Huerta or Diego Rivera). I don't care if Rage is important to Ask a Mexican, the same way I don't care if Rage is important to my graduating class of '98. The point is that he is not a prophet . . . if he were he would be testifying for immigration rights or starting a rally or whatever . . . writing "Down Rodeo" is not a political statement that's affective. My point is that Zach is a useless voice, a poser, someone who uses politics. Not a prophet, just a singer of a band. Zach shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Chavez.

Jose Bermudez
Jose Bermudez

Please, the Catholic Church that massacred thousands upon thousands of Jews through Torquemada under Pope Sixtus VI and converted the natives of the Americas using their souls as bargaining chips are the the new Israel and the Spiritual Jews???? Wow Gunga Din, you sure know how to carry water for the Vatican. Hundreds of years of this kind of history built the modern church you can't go back and treat it like it wasn't all bad when MOST of it was.

Jorhey NoEffin Güey
Jorhey NoEffin Güey

Chicano prophet?! Gtfoh. We dont have any. Cheech n chong r closer to that just bc they have touched more lives. Like homegirl said, until they pop up in mainstream... You are a poser

Alan Vega Butron
Alan Vega Butron

Santa Klaus is a fictional character based on the Turkish; Saint Nicholas. Santa Klaus was first conceived as a person of white complexion, but he is also a fictional character that in my opinion can look different according to whoever believes in him. I celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, but Saint Nicholas is also the Saint of giving and charity so I pray to him as well.

Yvonne N Carlos
Yvonne N Carlos

From what the article stated, it was Europe/German... Anyway- like I said, people can make him whatever color they want... It's the spirit that counts...

Martha Oliver
Martha Oliver

Christmas is Jesus birthday. Nothing else matters...

Alicia Rizo-Lopez
Alicia Rizo-Lopez

"20 years ago, Zack de la Rocha Raged Against White Santa" ? I know that they weren't, I was listing impotant/influential Chicanos. Firstly, maybe they are a person to the admin of this page. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean that their opinion is invalid. You don't necessarily know that, unless you look at grassroot organizations youre never going to find another one like Chavez. Heck, maybe not even then. My point is, you don't know that for sure because I garantee you that until they pop up in the mainstream media youll most likely never hear of them. If you really believe that, you must be completly blind, especially with all the immigration-reform groups and protest that are going on which are heavily latino populated. It was the same thing with Chavez, no one even knew who he was until he founded National Farm Workers Association. Zack is not the voice for all Latinos, but he is the voice of many people, older and younger generations, Latinos and non-latinos alike.

Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker

Cool. Can you please go back and read the headline to this post? I get that we're not of the same generation, but the post is referring to people who are of a certain generation (i.e., 25-45 year olds). That generation is a cultural void. None of the people you list are in the Rage Against the Machine generation. I get what you're saying, our people have had a seismic impact on US culture. What I'm saying is all that none of that impact has been directed by a singular figure for a very long time. (And that Zach is not that figure for my generation.) Calling someone influential and calling them a prophet are not the same. Zach is not the voice of a generation of Latinos. There is no Chavez on the horizon.

Alicia Rizo-Lopez
Alicia Rizo-Lopez

Gary, who are you to say who a "true irish" is?? Also yes, his mother is German/Irish. His father is also Chicano. Does that make him any less Chicano? Not really. So picking at his race doesn't help validate your point. There are plenty of people who "rail" about the injustices, and they are from every race not just Latinos. Also, if youre Mexican or Mexican decent, guess what? Unless you grew up in a Indigenous community, then you are considered to be White anyways. lol it wasn't a "fable", Santa is supposed to be the Saint Nicholas, a patron saint. He was not German, he was Greek. I agree, there are more important things to be worrying about, however you should check up on your facts before you start to put anybody "under a microscope" so that you don't look like a total douche. Also, racism/classism is in every state, not just where ever you are.

Alicia Rizo-Lopez
Alicia Rizo-Lopez

Not everybody on here is in the same generation Anthony. I disagree, Zack de la Rocha was/is influentual and there are plenty of other chicanos such as Rudolfo Anaya, Gloria Anzaldua, Alma Lopez, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta who have made a impact in the US and our culture wether it be politically or artistically.

P Verdin Jimenez
P Verdin Jimenez

Joe Reyes..La RAZA has to UNDERSTAND that the Catholic Church (Christianity) DID NOT come from Europe, DID NOT come from Mexico, it came from JERUSALEM..in ISRAEL, the MIDDLE EAST.. we as Catholics are "Spiritual Jews" to be precise..the Catholic Church is the NEW Israel of God...and to correct you on our Blessed Holy Mother, when She appeared to Saint Juan Diego, she appeared by the Grace of God with the colors of AZTEC ROYALTY, meaning only them wore the colors of "blue-green" that is another sign. To this day, not ONE scientist on planet Earth has EVER been able to explain the mantle of My Mother Mary. Pray to our Lord that He may open your eyes, PRAY that our Blessed Mother help you..Peace brother

P Verdin Jimenez
P Verdin Jimenez

Joe Reyes..SORRY to bust your bubble, but Saint Juan Diego IS A CANONIZED SAINT, therefore, do your homework brother. A very FAMOUS Catholic Father/Bishop/Saint is popular this time of the year..his name? well, it's good old Saint Nicolaus/Santa Claus! Also, Christmas is also CATHOLIC - meaning CHRIST MASS ...learn Catholic Apologetics! Check out Tim Staples, Dr. Scott Hahn, Jesse Romero, St. Joseph Communications and Catholic Answers..God Bless ! :)

Joe Reyes
Joe Reyes

La Rasa has to understand that every Christian tradition we celebrate is of European origin, and yes even La Virgen De Guadalupe. That being the biggest deception perpetrated to convert the Indians. Juan Diego has never been canonized and yet He is the one that supposedly had direct contact with the virgin Mary. That is because the church knew and knows to this very day that the whole thing was a religious and economical deception much needed to make their job easier in the conversion of the Indians(Native South Americans). We have taken the European propaganda hook line and sinker. The majority of the religious figures that Latin Christians embrace or look up to are of different cultures, languages and races. So don't be surprised if Santa is white and Jesus Jewish and Christianity European. The only good thing about Christmas and its celebration is that it is loosing its so called Holiness due to the commercialism it has been contaminated with, thus exposing the true character of Christian religion. It is about MONEY, using fear and superstition as the main weapons to enslave the mind and spirit. So Santa can be white or whatever, Christmas to me is just another reason to party with family and friends. SALUD!

Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker

Sad fact: no one. No poet, no literary figure and no politician of substance arose from my generation. It's sad.

Joseph L. Romero
Joseph L. Romero

Racism, santa.claus, It all cost me cash or headaches liste.ing to people whine.... Im of Irish and Mexican blood a mixture "mestizo".... Wait isnt that what mosg of our raza has a mixture of sangre from soooo many? Racism or Sancho Claus who gives a frijol about it all? We have all shades "color" in our raza soooo those who cant accept the truth well QUE GACHO I live and work as a man of great pride in myself, not fairy tales nor do I watxh black and white television! Yo soy Mestizo and i walm that with my head up and forward..... I know my history, I speak engleeeesh and the spanish that derived from spain "anglo" language, but still Yo soy Chicano to the hueso and blood that ru. Thru me evwryday! Forgwt santa whether its a she hanging with nina and pinta, or some thief sneaking down the chimney, or maybe sancho sneaking in my room at night..... Tell me what does all of this have to do with bei.g mexican? So my question is where the efi.g tamales frijoles arroz y posele? That my poor razas meal yet many pay to enjoy it today! Thats Mexican bro

Danny Bigelow
Danny Bigelow

He grew up in Irvine? The cops must have hassled the hell out of him.

Treysea Tate
Treysea Tate

having watched Megyn's clip a few times now, Steve, I'm inclined to believe that that is her ideological leaning - expressed as an "opinion."

Gary Summers
Gary Summers

Robert, true irish dont have red hair. The Celts have darker features more akin to the Spanish, french etc. How do you know what does/ Doesnt affect me? i live in a state where racism/classism is all around and a part of life. Its ugly and it is a part of every group. But i dont see how this stupid debate helps relations in any way. But if you want go find a fat white dude in a santa suit, go yell at him for carrying on with this Yuletide injustice. I'm sure the world will be so much more fair. FYI i grew up in dire poverty in the late 80's in one. Of the most prosperous states in the country. Good call looking at my last name and guessing i'm a well off Anglo.

Steve Lanzi
Steve Lanzi

Megyn's just an example of what happens when you let a newsreader share his/her opinion.

Mark Antonation
Mark Antonation

How does railing against white Santa advance racial equality?

Robert Towers
Robert Towers

Yeah, he definitely looks like your typical redhead Irishman. Yes there are wars going on, but the war against racism in America has been going on longer. I guess maybe it doesnt affect you.

Joe Provino
Joe Provino

I wish they would re group and make another album.

Alvaro Aguirre
Alvaro Aguirre

Due to the fact that the audience was already hard of hearing thanks to the noise produced by this "artist," let's just say that 20 years ago this moron's yapping fell on deaf ears, literally!

Joe Becerra
Joe Becerra

I don't care what the white man say.....Santa Claus is a Black Mon.....

Treysea Tate
Treysea Tate

Oh brother!! "Santa" as we Americans know him was a figment if Coca-Cola's imagination to sell more soda; he (Santa) ain't about white supremacy, though I imagine Megyn may be.

Gary Summers
Gary Summers

Well, Let's put zack under the microscope. His mother is German/ Irish ( yuup, white), He rails about big corporations abusing workers in latin america but thanks addidas ( who are notorious for use and abuse of child labor) on the Evil Empire album, And face it, we are talking about a damn make believe person!! this whole Santa biz started in Germany as a fable so peoples pain in the ass kids would keep quiet. who gives two ballhairs what color he is? We have wars going on, people going hungry and this makes news. Whats next to report, the tooth fairey might be a lesbian? snow white was a hoochie? C'mon!

Yvonne N Carlos
Yvonne N Carlos

Thing is SAnta started in Germany.... Make him whatever color you want....

Alberto Pineda
Alberto Pineda

I'm pretty young growing up with RATM so it applies to my generation

Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker

Our generation's Chicano prophet? You are fucking kidding.

Steve Lanzi
Steve Lanzi

RATM was way overrated. Now Ministry OTOH... ;-)

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Events

Loading...