TR: How do people react when they see you, a black Santa Claus?
SD: I’ve noticed that babies and toddlers aren’t hung up about skin color. That attitude seems to change as they get a bit older. I’ve had parents who would dress their kids up to see Santa Claus, only to leave when they see me in the chair.
I do have white parents who have been bringing their kids to me for years. One family in particular has been coming for over five years, and they find me wherever I am. To them it doesn’t matter the color of the skin; they just want to make sure that they have the same picture of the same Santa each year.
For some I’m sure it’s a novelty. Every now and then, there are folks who come up and say, “Well, Santa is not black, but I’ll take the picture anyway.” I then tell them the real story of St. Nicholas in an abridged version. It seems that some people have a negative mindset about black Santa. Even when you Google “black Santa,” most of the time you get a black exploitation movie or something pertaining to negative stereotypes. I want to change the negative image that people have of black Santas.
Aisha I. Jefferson is a contributor to The Root.