Minnesota’s Mall of America is hosting a Black Santa for the first time but instead of celebrating, racists let their vile colors show. In a slew of Facebook comments, people deemed the non-white fictional character “disgusting” and called him the n-word.
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Dallas native Larry Jefferson spoke to WCCO about his history-making distinction as Santa Claus.
“It’s no big deal, I’m still Santa, I just happen to be a Santa of color,” Jefferson, known as Santa Larry, told the station. He also highlighted the importance of representation for Black children.
“It gives them something to identify with, but Santa is still just Santa,” he said. “Just Saturday, I was doing an event, and one child said, ‘Santa, you’re brown,’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am, but Santa comes in many different colors.’ He said, ‘Oh,’ so I gave him a candy cane, he ran off with other kids.”
Racist online commenters, however, had a predictably different reaction.
Crystal Lang listed a set of stereotypes negatively portraying the jolly figure, including a false argument that Black men are absent from their children’s lives. In actuality, a study by the Centers for Disease Control revealed Black fathers spend more time with their children than dads of any other race.
John Oakman evoked minstrel-like speech in his dissent.
Barry Sorretoa called for an eradication of Blacks, dropping a racial epithet for good measure.
John Hilsmeyer deferred to the colorblind approach.
John Armstrong thought Santa Larry was bad for children’s minds.
Anthony Bergamo called for a strike against Santa Larry.
Wendy Notaricola inaccurately described the portrayal as cultural appropriation.
Debbie Amaral attempted to use a historical argument about St. Nicholas’ whiteness.
But Bridgid Miller Kozik schooled Amaral on that claim. Atlanta Black Star reported the Santa story actually originated from a Turkish monk of the same name.
Two other commenters also backed Santa Larry.
Tyler Wolfe also provided a history lesson about another, albeit real, Christian figure. Religious scholars say Jesus Christ would have been dark-skinned.
And on Twitter, NMK said she wanted to get a photo with Black Santa.
Since MOA hired a black Santa, I think I want to go have pics taken – for the first time ever.
— NMK (@CokeOrCola) December 2, 2016