- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A bulletin display at one Indiana University residence hall didn’t go over so well — a ‘black Santa’ posting that was aimed at revealing cultural and racial stereotypes among students — and campus heads were pressured to apologize and remove it.

Fox News reported that the bulletin items posted at the Foster Residence Center included a picture of a black man in a Santa suit, above the text: “Can Santa Claus be a black man?”

But the display provoked further. WTHR-TV said the posting also asked readers to consider if a black Santa would be allowed to go down the chimney, a la white Santa tradition, or if he would be confined to visiting only those homes in poor neighborhoods. One question also asked: “Did you ever play with a black Barbie doll?”

The display sparked more than thoughtful discussion, though, and facing angry comments and outraged pressure, the school took it down, Fox News said.

IU spokesman Mark Land said the display wasn’t meant to offend. It was part of the campus CommUNITY Education Program, to foster discussions about sensitive race, gender and sexual identity issues, Fox News said. But even though he said the intent was positive, he admitted the result of the display was “misguided.”

He also said, to IndianaPublicMedia.org: “If you didn’t know any of the context — you just saw the bulletin board — it looked like someone had created a poster that had negative stereotypes about African Americans.”

In a tweet, a campus spokesman also said: “The intention was to educate, not offend, but we recognize the problem and apologize to everyone [a]ffected.”