Things That Matter

A Family Received A Racist Note After Displaying A Black Santa But Their Neighbors Rallied In Support With Powerful Gesture

Many of us love to put up decorations for the holidays. Especially this year, thanks to COVID-19, many are going the extra mile to salvage some sense of holiday cheer and normalcy amid a year that has been anything but.

One man from North Little Rock, Arkansas also loves putting up decorations for the holidays, including a light-up sign that says “Joy” and a statue of a Black Santa Claus that he hoped would set a good example for his 4-year-old daughter.

But his happy tradition was tainted by an anonymous racist letter he said he received in the mail last week.

Neighbors put up their own Black Santas to show support for family who received a racist note.

An Arkansas man is speaking out after receiving a racist letter calling him “the laughing stock of the neighborhood” for putting a seven-foot tall Black Santa Claus display on his front lawn. Chris Kennedy, who is Black, apparently angered a racist neighbor with his Christmas display including the Black Santa who is joined by a Christmas tree and a massive sign that reads “Joy.”

The letter that Kennedy received said: “Please remove your negro Santa Clause yard decoration. You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a negro. I am a Caucasian white man to you and have been for the past 600 years. Your being jealous of my race is no excuse for your dishonesty. Besides that, you are making yourself the laughing stock of the neighborhood.”

The letter also included an image of a white Santa Claus who had hand gestures with two thumbs down. Kennedy told CNN, “The real thing that angered me was the fact that the person who wrote it suggested I move out east where I guess they feel all Black people live.”

“After three years of having no problems from anyone with our decorations it happens this year,” he said. “We have been very active politically this year so we both feel that that might have played into this a little bit.”

However, despite the incident, Kennedy says that the Black Santa Claus will remain on his lawn because “the children love it and that’s what Christmas is about, it’s about children,” he told Fox 16.

Many of his neighbors have addressed the racist incident by showing their support in a very special way.

It’s not only the children who love what Kennedy has done for their community. Several of his neighbors have shown their support by purchasing their own Black Santa displays to join in on the diverse lawn decorations. In fact, even the home owners association is promising to display a Black Santa in their office as soon as the one they ordered arrives. 

“The rest of the neighborhood has been awesome since hearing about the letter,” he told CNN. “If we are outside they often stop by and share kind words of encouragement. Some have brought us over cookies and other treats. One even brought us a yard sign that says ‘Love your neighbors Y’all.’ We have gotten gifts of Black Santa yard flags and a Merry Christmas flag with a Black Santa on it. Our neighbors have been absolutely amazing.”

One neighbor of the Kennedy’s told CNN that “Racism is something that we do discriminate against and we will not stand for it.” He added, “It’s done my heart good to see his displays for the last three years especially given who he lives next to. I hate it that their family’s having to go through that but we’ve been praying for him.”

While Kennedy is appreciative of the efforts made, he told CNN that he would rather see folks donate their money to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, which services children and families in need. 

“There are still loving and caring individuals out there. I know that my neighborhood has definitely lifted us up,” said Kennedy. 

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