Santa's ethnicity in US evolves over years

RUSSELL CONTRERAS
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In this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 photo, Dee Sinclair, who bills himself as the real black Santa, delights 4-year-old Joe Morris IV, in Atlanta. Fusing the icon of the long-white beard and red suit from American artist Norman Rockwell and later Coca-Cola, in recent years the new Santas incorporate their own ethnic take on the Christmastime figure with various interpretations. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Claus may be popularly known as a white-bearded benefactor with Dutch-English origins.

But multiethnic versions of Santa are making the rounds out there, too.

Malls and community centers now see black, Latino and Native American Santas regularly.

Last week, Fox News host Megyn Kelly sparked a debate after she declared Santa Claus was white. That same week, a high school teacher in Rio Rancho, N.M., was disciplined for chastising a black student dressed as Santa Claus.

Dee Sinclair, who is black, has played Santa for 12 years in Atlanta, posing with children and adults of all backgrounds.

He says kids don't see color. They just see a fat guy in a red suit giving toys, and he's got the big white beard to prove he's the real deal.