Chris Kennedy of North Little Rock, Arkansas put out a Black inflatable Santa Claus decoration to bring some cheer to his neighborhood and was instead met with a racist letter. The letter demanded Kennedy, who is Black, take down his "n— Santa Caus yard decoration" and told him to not "try to deceive children" into believing Santa is Black. The person who wrote the letter pretended to be Santa, claiming the character has been a "Caucasian white man" for 600 years.
Kennedy told THV11 it was the first time he received a letter like that in the three years since he moved to the community. "I started to read and of course the first word that sticks out is n—," Kennedy said. The letter was sent through the USPS and had the Lakewood Property Owners Association (LPOA) logo on it. "I saw that something was coming from the Lakewood Property Owners Association, but I thought it was kind of odd," Kennedy said, adding that he did not think they sent the letter.
LPOA executive director Evan Blake said they did not send the letter and told Kennedy they want him to stay in the neighborhood. They offered Kennedy a membership and said they do not want the person who wrote the letter to be a member. "We don't want the people that wrote that letter in the neighborhood. That's what we don't want," Blake told THV11.
Kennedy shared the letter on social media and with Fox16. He said this was the first time anyone had any issues with the 8-foot-tall Black Santa. He put the decoration up on Nov. 1, and received the letter from someone posing as Santa on Monday. "Please remove your n— Santa Clause yard decoration," the letter read. "You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a n—. 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." At the end, the person wrote that Kennedy was "making yourself the laughing stock of the neighborhood." The author included a photo of a white Santa with his thumbs pointing down.
Kennedy does not plan on moving the Santa and has received plenty of support from his neighbors. "We love your Black Santa," someone yelled to him while Fox16 interviewed him. "We just drove from Sherwood to let you know, that I hope and pray that you do not take him down because children around here need to see him," another woman said.
One neighbor, Dennis Smith, told THV11 Kennedy's display did "my heart good" in the last three years. "I hate it that their family's having to go through that but we've been praying for him," Smith added. Kennedy also had a message for the author. "If I'm a laughing stock by trying to provide joy to other families' children down the street going to school by having out a Santa Claus and decorating for Christmas, so be it," he said.