America might have been okay with their first black president, but evidently not so when it comes to Santa. The internet is caught up in a heated debate this afternoon after the Mall of America in Minneapolis introduced its first black Santa Claus.
The mall recently hired Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army vet from Texas to serve as the establishment's official jolly man and spend four days at the mall listening to children's Christmas wish lists. Immediately, shoppers began lashing out about the initial reports, claiming that the original Santa from the old tales was always a white male. The commentary even got so bad that an editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed they had to shut down their online comments section because the dialogue became so offensive. Prior to be shutting down, many of the comments reportedly called for everyone to boycott the mall. "Incredibly stupid," one person wrote. "Santa is WHITE. BOYCOTT Mall of America. Maybe they should change their name to MALL of RAGHEAD LAND."
Not everyone shared the same sentiment however; some people jumped online to defend the Mall of America's decision saying that Santa was never black to begin with. "People are upset about Mall of America having a Black Santa but Santa is based off St Nicholas and he's Turkish so he's not even white," one person tweeted.
While it may seem a bit odd for people to be discussing the issue in 2016, this isn't the first time there has been public outrage about characters being portrayed by any race other than the original. Debate sparked earlier in the year after it was announced that Zendaya would play Mary Jane Watson in the new Spider-Man flick, a role that has previously been played by a white actress. The issue of Santa's race was previously brought up three years ago in 2013, when Fox anchor Megyn Kelly explained why both Jesus Christ and Santa could only be white males. Well, it looks like this Christmas, people are in for a surprise.