OREGON (KOIN) – A family in a Bethany neighborhood had an inflatable Santa in their yard slashed and deflated by vandals.
The homeowners think they alone were targeted because the inflatable Santa was black.
Fritz Richard’s home is decorated with images of black Santas, Wiseman and a Nativity scene but it wasn’t until Wednesday that he decided to display that culture outside his house — including the inflatable Santa.
He said he was a little worried about displaying a black Santa but didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
Less than 24 hours later, someone had destroyed it. Richard said someone deliberately slashed it — several times.
Richard told KOIN 6 News he’s never experienced any racial incidents in the 20 years he’s lived in the neighborhood.
“There is a lot of neighbors who have Christmas decorations, Caucasian Santas, and nothing that we know of has happened to them,” he said.
Richard posted pictures of the ruined inflatable on Facebook and the social site Nextdoor where neighbors have since volunteered to put up black Santas in their own yards to send a clear message of solidarity.
“It’s exactly the opposite result I think they were looking for,” Richard said of the people who vandalized the Santa. “There will be hopefully a lot of black Santas around this neighborhood.”