Atlantic Archives: Black Santas in Brazil


I’m going to keep it light and festive today with some Black Santa vibes from Brazil. With a history of fighting for representation and the growing recognition of Black spending potential, images of Black Santa and stories of the winter holidays from non-white have become a growing norm.

We may even take it for granted that each Christmas we know which mall is going to have the Black Santa and that so many of us have a childhood photo with him.

Despite having the second-largest black population in the world, this is still not the case for Brazil. A few factors include a virtual absence of representation in the largest, conservative media monopolies, Globo Network; and the lingering social fallacy of “racial democracy” which, since the country’s origins, has propagated the idea that Brazil is a racial paradise where everyone has blended into one unique race and there is no discrimination.

Obviously, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The opposite is true and everyday Black Brazilians struggle for power and equality on the highest levels and in their day-to-day lives.

The end of the year holidays actually commences at the very start of summer in this part of the southern hemisphere. It is truly a sight to see the iconic winter imagery in front of a hot beach backdrop. What’s more heartwarming is to see Black Santa (Papai Noel).

Each year, you see more Papai Noel pretos (Black Santas) at the local malls and making appearances at youth organizations.

“Hey guys, I am so happy! A Black Santa!”

The photos on social media speak for themselves:

“My mother wanted to go to the mall today just to take a picture with black Santa Claus, I loved it”
Today was a busy day, but I still have a smile on my face because I took a picture with Black Santa Claus

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