blacksantaMall of America recently hired its first black Santa. In the year 2016, one wouldn’t expect that to be anything more than a feel-good story (though, one supposes, in 2016 we should expect anything).

A backlash ensued on social media after word was circulated that the Star Tribune had to shut down online comments on the story. In fact, the story never had allowed comments, but the swirl had already become unstoppable.


Former NBA player Baron Davis agrees that it’s sad. Davis, you see, is the mastermind behind the Black Santa Company. In a recent piece at The Undefeated, Davis explains it thusly:

For African-Americans, Christmas is probably the biggest time we all get together and feel good about who we are and our families. But it’s also a time where we do all we can to make sure that holiday is fulfilled. For me, if we are going to put that much emphasis on the holiday from a religious standpoint or not, we should have some type of representation, content and brand where someone is speaking for us. Every Christmas has the same Santa Claus and he looks different from us. My argument was there has to be more than one Santa Claus and there has to be a Santa Claus that represents black people.

Davis also weighed in on the Mall of America controversy by saying, “It’s senseless and ignorant for people to try to create negativity out of something that brings people together.”

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