One of the most beautiful Santas that I have ever seen in my life was a Black Santa. He was at The Mall West End in Atlanta, Georgia. He had this beautiful gray beard and this long beautiful gray hair (I think they may have been dreadlocks if I am recalling correctly.) It’s been a long time since I have seen him. But I have not seen one as beautiful as that Santa…he just left that kind of impression on my mind. (By the way, they still have a black Santa at that mall.)
My mom has black Santas all over her home and we have a Black Santa tree topper. So my kids are used to seeing both white and black Santas. And I think many African American kids are also accustomed to seeing both Black and White Santa Claus.
The Community Education Program at Indiana University (that promotes diversity at the school) put up a billboard depicting a Black Santa. The billboard showed a Black Santa playing the saxophone. And it asks: “Can Santa Claus Be a Black Man?” The school took down the billboard after receiving a backlash. As reported by theGrio:
According to NBC-affiliate WTHR, the billboard was posted with the intention of prompting students to think about difficult issues – instead, it left much distaste and disapproval.
“I was completely appalled with it,” IU freshman Alexus Johnson told the local news station.
Follow-up questions were posted on cut-out paper stockings and asked: “Would he only visit the ghetto?” “Would you let him come down your chimney?” and “Wouldn’t all the presents be stolen?”
The follow-up questions that were on the paper stockings on the billboard (about Santa stealing and visiting the ghetto) were definitely offensive to me. And I think they could have sparked a conversation about diversity simply by making the Santa black and seeing what response the students had to the Black Santa. Here is what the University had to say about it on twitter:
If they really want to see a revolt…then why don’t put up a Black Jesus. But I will save that topic for another post.
BMWK – what are your thoughts on this? Did you grow up seeing Black Santa?
Featured Image: This is the billboard that was put up in a dorm at the Indiana University (This photo is courtesy of IU Student TV/WTHR)
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