At first glance you may think the bulletin board above is something from a high school or middle school classroom, but it was part of Indiana University’s Community Education Program (CEP).

The CEP placed three bulletin boards in the Foster Residence center asking if,   “Can Santa Claus be a black man?”, “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?”


Although a university spokesperson said the display was created as part of a diversity program to “raise awareness and promote discussion on issues such as race, gender and sexual identity”, not everyone was pleased with the artwork.

“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.”

Due to the backlash the artwork received, the university took down the displays.

“(We) apologize if the images offended anyone – that clearly wasn’t the intent,” Land wrote.


Clutchettes, what do you think about the bulletin boards? Do you think people were overreacting? 

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    “If Santa was a black man, would you let him come down your chimney?” Considering what has been in the news lately, a young black MAILMAN in D.C. was shot and killed while DOING HIS JOB. He was shot by someone who thought he was a burglar. Three young black boys were arrested in NY for standing at a bus stop(waiting for a school bus) for “disorderly conduct”. These are two examples at the top of my head right now. This university had “good intentions” but executed it poorly. There are more and more terrible stories that are coming out about black men or women who are murdered just for being black in a white zip code. It seems like whenever white people attempt to discuss race, they TRY to grab people’s attention but because the message lacks any sensitivity or real understanding of the problems in the black community, it comes off as half assed and fails. Just like that movie that came out a year or so ago with Ben Stiller about a neighborhood watch and it was released around the murder of Trayvon Martin. Inconsiderate.

  • http://gobrook.wordpress.com gobrooklyn

    What in the entire f*ck? Santa Claus shouldn’t be used to teach or start a discussion on racism. It’s just…weird. They should talk about Jesus not being blond and blue eyed.

  • stef

    i could have told you this would backfire even if it was in a black school it would just become a huge joke. one my fav family guy issues was when they said santa claus cant be black why? cause we dont fear him

  • Eva

    Trayvon died in February. The movie was released in July.

    But I feel you on every other point.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe


    Yeah, this is getting ridiclous, a mailman really, people just standing at a bus stop.

  • http://theunsungstoryteller.com theMuseintheMirror

    I actually go to Indiana University and I’m attending a discussion about this board later today. I am the president of our NABJ chapter and yesterday we had a meeting where we discussed the purpose and the underlying message of the board. Although, I think I understand the message that the person was implying (African Americans being seen as “other” filled with stereotypes and never looked at as a human being), they poorly executed their mission. People are talking about it on campus. The 4% of us, that is.

  • Jim

    It seems like you are assuming the creator of the board was a white person, and she is not.

  • Tina L

    The mail carrier was shot in Landover, MD – a black neighborhood and Postal Inspectors and local law enforcement are looking at robbery as a possible motive. It’s not true that he was a suspected burglar.

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    @Eva: okay i got the timing mixed up, but the case was top of the news in july

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    @Jim: well WHOEVER did it, i thought it was poorly executed.

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    @Tina: okay thank you for the correction.

  • Simone L

    poor execution kills any positive intentions.

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