BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – According to a university spokesman, it was created as part of a diversity program designed to “raise awareness and promote discussion on issues such as race, gender and sexual identity.” The controversial display was posted on a bulletin board for the Community Education Program in Foster Residence Center, and poses the question “Can Santa Claus be a black man?” The university has since taken it down after the display sparked outrage on social media.
In addition to its main query, the display also asked students to ponder the following: “If Santa is a black man, would you let him come down your chimney?” and “If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t he only visit the ghetto?”
“The aim of this was to start a discussion around racial stereotypes, and while the intent was good the execution was misguided,” said IU Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Mark Land in a statement. “This program has a good record of fostering debate among students on important issues, but this effort missed the mark.”
“(We) apologize if the images offended anyone – that clearly wasn’t the intent.”