Minnesota’s Mall of the Americas hired an army veteran to be Santa Claus this year, but he wasn’t good enough for conservatives just because he’s African-American. Now, they’re demanding a boycott of the mall and filling up message boards and comment sections with racist bile.
This week, for the first time in the Mall of America’s 24-year history, a black Santa will greet families for annual Christmas photos. “This is a long time coming,” said Landon Luther, co-owner of the Santa Experience, which has run the intimate photo studio at the mall for 10 years. “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”
Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas, was the only black Santa Claus in attendance. The jovial actor agreed to sign a four-day contract to work in Minnesota, after which he’ll return home to work the seasonal circuit in Dallas.
Fox’s Megyn Kelly claimed with a straight face on television, that Jesus was “white” and so was the fictional character Santa Claus. The real St. Nicholas was ethnically Greek and lived in an area that’s part of the modern country of Turkey, which means he likely had olive or dark colored skin. For the record, Jesus was a Jewish man of Semitic descent, and most likely not of pale or white skin, but in 2016’s post-fact world none of that matters. What matters more to conservatives is the purity of their own opinions, and that their superiority is confirmed by what they see and hear on Fox News from Bill O’Reilly that Santa is a white man.
The Minnesota Star Tribune’s readers reacted nastily, their message boards overflowed with race hate, so decided to shut down the comment section. The local CBS News affiliate broadcast a story about it that was flooded with angry racist comments, and those are still piling up:
Angry racists also took to twitter to blast the Mall of America’s decision in reply to news reports by mainstream news outlets like CNN, the AP, and an article by the entertainment website BuzzFeed:
blatant race baiting. Again.
— Austin (@Austin_WBarden) December 2, 2016
oh no! Now he gonna get charged for breaking and entering these holidays.. #blacksantasmatter
— Oh Rare One (@splinemode) December 2, 2016
A great many non-racists took to twitter to say that dark skinned mall Santas are completely normal, and as the story notes, Larry Jefferson is a working Santa in the “red-state” of Texas.
One commenter perfectly summarized the true meaning what it means when racists decide to boycott a business or mall during the holiday season because they can’t stomach a fictional character being played by someone with dark skin:
.@RawStory I love reports about places racist want to boycott bc it makes it easy to know where to have a more pleasant shopping experience.
— Supreme Tweeter Fa'Reed Blackman (@FareedBlackman) December 3, 2016
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.