An Arkansas man is speaking out after receiving a racist letter calling him “the laughing stock of the neighborhood” for putting a seven-foot tall Black Santa Claus display on his front lawn. Chris Kennedy, who is Black, apparently angered a racist neighbor with his Christmas display including the Black Santa who is joined by a Christmas tree and a massive sign that reads “Joy.”
Kennedy says he has received nothing but praise and compliments until recently, when a disturbing letter arrived in the mail and the anonymous sender condemned the decorations, CNN reports.
“Please remove your negro Santa Clause yard decoration. You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a negro,” the letter said, WCNC-TV reports, which was signed ‘Santa Claus.’
The letter continued, “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. Besides that, you are making yourself the laughing stock of the neighborhood.”
Kennedy read the note during a live stream on his Facebook account (which has since been removed.)
“I am trying to be as nice as I can in this very moment because I am actually filled with rage,” he said during the broadcast.
The letter also had a picture of a white Santa Claus with two thumbs down. The envelope’s label resembled the logo of the Lakewood Property Owners Association’s (LPOA). The LPOA has condemned the letter.
“The real thing that angered me was the fact that the person who wrote it suggested I move out east where I guess they feel all black people live,” Kennedy told CNN. He first moved to the North Little Rock, Arkansas, neighborhood in 2017.
“We don’t want the people that wrote that letter in the neighborhood. That’s what we don’t want,” Evan Blake, executive director of Lakewood Property Owners Association told WCNC-TV.
Kennedy says the Black Santa Claus will remain on his lawn because “the children love it and that’s what Christmas is about, it’s about children,” he told Fox 16.
It’s not only the children who love what Kennedy has done for their community. Several of his neighbors have shown their support by purchasing their own Black Santa displays to join in on the diverse lawn decorations. In fact, even the LPOA is getting in on the festivities by promising to display a Black Santa in their office as soon as the one they ordered arrives.
While Kennedy is appreciative of the efforts made, he told CNN that he would rather see folks donate their money to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, which services children and families in need.
“There are still loving and caring individuals out there. I know that my neighborhood has definitely lifted us up,” said Kennedy.