“If Santa is a black man would you let him come down your chimney?”
“If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t he only visit the ghetto?”
“If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t all the presents be stolen?”
These are a sampling of the questions asked in a seemingly racist Christmas display at Indiana University in Bloomberg, Ind. The hotly contested display featured a banner headline that asks students, “Can Santa be a black man?” The type is all white — except for the word “black” which was colored black to drive home the point.
The stockings are emblazoned with highly-inflammatory questions stenciled across them. One slaps your senses with, “If Santa is a black man, would you let him come down your chimney?” Another blares with the needle-sharp question, “If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t he only visit the ghetto?”
The fourth question was: “Did you ever play with a black Barbie doll?”
Below each question is white space for passersby to enter answers.
The racially charged bulletin board was erected by people associated with the school’s CommUNITY Education Program, reported Indiana Public Media.
The display case created a blizzard of backlash from students and faculty members. The IU administration has since apologized and taken it down. But why was it up in the first place? And what message were the creators attempting to convey.
Apologists within the administration tried to rationalize the display as an effort to “raise awareness and promote discussion on issues such as race, gender and sexual identity,” according to a statement. “The sign is being removed. The intention was to educate, not offend, but we recognize the problem and apologize to everyone effected,” the university said on Monday.
“While the intent was good the execution was misguided,” Indiana University spokesman Mark Land said. He added that the display was meant to provoke provocative discussion about race.
Land somberly complained the masses of students misinterpreted the “context” of the display and said he understood how people could get the “wrong” idea and think it is racist.