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Disney Parks Makes An Important Move By Featuring Black Santas

In my lifetime, I've witnessed the first Black woman to ever win an Academy Award for "Best Actress". I watched as Barack Obama became the first Black President of the United States. So why am I yet to see a Black Santa Claus?

The Santa Claus myth has been around since roughly 280 AD, and in that time he's hardly changed one bit. Now, in a truly groundbreaking move, Disney Parks seeks to remedy all that by introducing the parks' first Black Santas.

Disney theme parks are home to some truly unforgettable characters.

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It's the only place on earth where you can run into Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Darth Vader all within a 100-meter radius. And once a year, another iconic figure visits the park — Santa Claus.

Santa has been a secular figure in Disney lore since the company's earliest days.

Santa Claus made his Disney debut all the way back in 1929's Silly Symphonies. He visits both Disneyland and Disneyworld theme parks every year to spread cheer and listen to what the children want for Christmas.

Now, for the first time in Disneyland's history — a new Santa is coming to town.

His name is Saunders Claus and he's Disneyland's first Black Santa Claus. At a recent park meet-n-greet, Saunders Claus was there to visit with all the true believers, both young and old.

The children were overjoyed and the adults couldn't believe it.

Saunders described an emotional interaction with a grown man, one who'd been waiting his whole life to meet him:

"All he wanted to do was see me. He’d waited 35 years to see a Santa that looked like him,” Saunders Claus said.

"The emotions he expressed were just very powerful and very Christmas-spirit."

When Saunders Claus asked what he wanted for Christmas, the man answered that he wanted nothing — that Saunders Claus had already given him the greatest gift he could've possibly asked for.

Saunders Claus explained to The Huff Post that he will be one of four Black Santas featured at the parks.

Disney's decision to include Black Santas is in line with the growing demand for diversity and cultural representation. Children's author Nancy Redd, author of "The Real Santa", is applauding Disney for their efforts.

“I don’t think magical creatures should be limited in expression,” Redd told The Huff Post. “And I think that the world is finally starting to agree.”

The fact is that diversifying Santa's race matters and it matters a lot. Kids learn about representation through the toys that they play with, the content they watch, and yes even through their Santa Claus.

Development experts assert that racial bias and prejudice can become inedible as early as our tween years.


This means that there is only a small window of time to teach kids the proper ethics and values surrounding representation. And while there have certainly been improvements in diversification over the years, Santa remains as constant as he ever was: fat, red, and White.

Redd says she can understand how Black Santas weren't around in the '80s, but in 2021 — there's no excuse.

It's what motivated her to write her book in the first place — so that she could give her own children the Santa story that she'd always longed to hear as a child.

Nancy is also quick to clarify that she isn't trying to make a statement about what Santa's race is or should be.

She says that it's all about broadening our minds and perspectives on what Christmas means for everyone. It's about teaching children to understand and to empathize with others around them.

It's on this point that Nancy Redd and Saunders Claus agree.

Claus echoed that Santa is the symbol of the Christmas spirit. Therefore, it's important for him to be embraced by all the children of the world who seek to know him. Saunders Claus says that he considers himself a trailblazer not just for young black kids — but for all kids.