For the first time in its 24-year history, the the largest mall in the United States has hired a Black Santa, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas, named Larry Jefferson.
The Mall of America in Minnesota hired Santa Jefferson to bring holiday cheer to children last week. But for a nation founded on racist principles and plagued by deeply embedded racial inequities, the advent of a non-white Santa Claus was seen by scores of white people as unjustifiable, a prickly attack on their time-honored tradition of white supremacy.
And they came out in throngs online to condemn the Minnesota mall for the move.
@StarTribune if the Santa was black from the start and they changed it to a white Santa, that's be racist tho. What a damn joke
— Tom Rockstroh (@rockstroh89) December 2, 2016
@CNN Why? Let's have a white male represent Martin Luther King! See how the blacks blow up in rage. Disgusting.
— Republican Peasant (@RepPeasant) December 2, 2016
@CNN and I'm sure next year it will be the first one Islamic santa being Minnesota is overrun by Muslims
— patrick (@boater195) December 2, 2016
— Kenobi Joe (@JobianKenobi) December 2, 2016
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the story, and the responses online became so racist that the newspaper had to shut down the comments section.
“Looks like we had to turn comments off on story about Mall of America’s first black Santa. Merry Christmas everyone!” tweeted Star Tribune editorial editor Scott Gillespie.
Santa Jefferson, however, was hardly fazed.
“I really do not have any comments on it because I kind of ignore the negativity of anything,” he said. “I try to put my life around positive, energetic people, and as I portray Santa Clause, I’ve got to be around happy people who want to celebrate the holidays, whether it is Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Merry Christmas — I have to celebrate all of these holidays and I want to be around those people.”
“So people who are negative about it — I don’t pay any attention,” he continued. “Ho ho ho.”
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