At the University of Indiana there is a bulletin board on display at one of the residence halls that’s intended to spark discussion.But some students recently complained that the most recent postings on the board were too racially charged, resulting in the board being taken down.
The University of Indiana ordered the display be taken down after some students complained about the “Can Santa be a Black Man” board.
The display, which featured a black Santa playing a horn, caused some students to express concern that both the image and the posted discussion questions reinforce negative stereotypes.
“If Santa is a black man, would you let him come down your chimney?” one discussion topic read, while another asked if a black Santa would “only visit the ghetto.” And a more offensive question even went so far as to ask if all the gifts would be stolen if Santa were black.
“I was completely appalled with it,” said student Alexus Johnson.
A university spokesman said the display had been part of a diversity effort to spark discussion on race and gender.
“The aim of this was to start a discussion around racial stereotypes, and while the intent was good the execution was misguided,” said Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Mark Land. “This program has a good record of fostering debate among students on important issues, but this effort missed the mark.”
The group which posted the display, CommUNITY Education Program, will meet with administrators to discuss the issue.