|Just doing his part in bringing back chimney sweeping|
It is a well known fact that many of the eighteenth century chimney sweepers in New York City were free men of color. And by “free men of color,” we mean Black people. Regrettably, this vocational practice has gone out of vogue in the Black community as the time honored tradition of apprenticing and training to sweep chimney’s for a living is borderline dead.
Is it because homeowners fear having a Black person in their house? Is it because Black people grew tired of wiping soot and ash from their clothes and body? Is it because of pernicious impact of White Privilege and the continued usage of the white Santa Claus paradigm, instead of embracing a move toward inclusion by crafting a new myth around a Black Santa?
Regardless of the reasons, chimney sweeping – as a profession for employing Black people – is on life support. Until 17-year-old Renaldo Jack (of the increasingly unlivable Gwinnett County) made a bid to restore luster and prestige to an occupation that is known to give white people who perform the task a culturally-unacceptable blackface:
If Santa knows whether you’ve been bad or good, he knows 17-year-old Renaldo Jack is part of the former group.
The Atlanta-area teen was charged with burglary after trying to break into a Norcross home through the chimney.
He got stuck, and was trapped for nearly half a day.