Black parents hoping to snap a photograph of their child on Santa’s lap can now download an app that shows them the nearest location to find a Black Santa Claus.
Jihan Woods created the app after she struggled to find a Santa that resembled the skin color of her twin boys. So Woods launched a Kickstarter campaign called “Find Black Santa: A Mobile Black Santa Directory.” The Dallas psychiatrist raised $5,000 in 30 days and now the app, available in the App Store and on Google Play, lists Santas in 35 states and Washington, D.C., according to CBS News.
“I really wanted my children to see a Santa Claus that looks like them. It’s important to me that they experience diversity in all aspects of their lives, Santa included,” Woods wrote on the website that promotes the free app and the rationale behind it.
To back up the importance of her initiative, Woods cited studies that show how positive racial identity leads to better school performance and less negative behavior.
Historically, parents who live in the suburbs have had to drive to urban areas to see Black Santa. Terri Lipsey Scott has seen it firsthand. Scott said parents drive upwards of an hour so their kids can take a photograph with a Black Santa at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Scott serves as executive director.
“The turnout is incredible — there are so few options as it relates to the availability of having an African-American Santa,” Scott told CBS. “That self-esteem element even in the holiday season is so important.”
The app is the latest to hit the market that attempts to expose children, especially kids of color, to Black Santa. Last year, the Ravenel Agency developed a Black Santa app so that children could video chat with a Black Santa Claus.