I realized in the wake of the Jeremiah Wright-Barack Obama bruhaha that there are simply somethings black people in America can’t say. One of my professors put it this way: Many of us who identify as Black or African American (I REALLY need to do a blog about that foolishness) are the descendants of slaves, and our thought processes were passed from generation to generation, and how to shape our consciousness as a people not living in our native land was passed mother to daughter and father to son. By the same token, the descendants of slave masters passed down the consciousness of white privilege to their children.
Some things the slave can NEVER say out loud.
It has always been politically incorrect for black folk to bring up certain topics–for some reason it always revolved around race. I wonder whyyyyy?
I think the Jeremiah Wright instance was one of these taboo moments. I had one friend say that none of this has to do with Barack Obama or his comments about the government, but really that one comment about “Hillary aint never been called a nigger” because, we in this country REFUSE to look at the similarities of Jesus and his fellow Jews of 1st century Palestine and black Americans. The taboo thing that Jeremiah Wright did was make Jesus a black man. Which will be number one on my list.
Jesus Was A Black Man. By saying that we’ve discounted all of the Michaelangelo artworks, and all of the yahoos that have claimed to see Jesus in a pinwheel or in the swirl of the cream of their coffee. I mean I had an uncle that said he had a vision of Jesus, and my father asked what did he look like and my uncle replied, “Like in the pictures.”
Granted that I’ve grown up and associated myself mostly around black people, not necessarily on purpose, but just as a matter of course, I wonder why is it that a good chunk of black people have a problem recognising Jesus as black. I have a family member who was quite angry at the fact that her home/birth church removed the images of a skinny, pale, white Jesus clearly being crucified on a cross with that of a risen black Jesus with open arms. And the thirteen stations of the cross were also replaced with images of black people. I mean, this family member was livid and said that they “Took my church that my daddy paid for away!”
I’ve also heard black people try and sound all deep when they say, “What difference does it make what color Jesus was? We all serve the same God?” Aside from the doctrinal issues I have of trinitarian versus apostolic, I think Jesus’ color is very crucial to understanding historical Jesus.
Okay, maybe he wasn’t black in the sense of me or the person you see standing in front of the barbershop on Martin Luther King Street in whatever city or town you live. But his skin color and his heritage were very crucial to his life’s choices and how he was crucified. That’s why a Jeremiah Wright included in his sermon the fact that Jesus was lynched or crucified, however you choose to see it, by the Italians. Are they not the descendants of the Roman empire, was not the seat of Roman Empire in Rome, which is in Italy? Or is my geography and world history that off the mark?
But Jesus definitely wasn’t this blonde hair, blued eyed, weak, wimpy, I-go-to-gay-pride events lil’ white boy. (DISCLAIMER: The reference to Jesus looking gay was from a friend of mine, who is a lesbian and white, so, she said it, not me!) And for anyone to hold onto that image, you REALLY need a reality check. How is it that black people especially have so much attachment to it. The image of our oppressor, is the same image as our savior? That’s doing some serious damage to the psyche of our children and to ourselves as older individuals.
So, I ask, how is it that black people aren’t allowed to make this assertion aloud lest risk being called divisive or (wait for it…) racist? No one has EVER questioned the reason why it’s okay to see the image of Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes. For what it’s worth, no one alive today, or even back at the start of the Roman Catholic church was alive to really see what Jesus looked like. Probably some yahoo had a dream of whom they personally thought Jesus looked like, and it just stuck. So now in modern times, everyone who has a dream or a vision with Jesus 9 times out of 10 looks like someone you know, either and uncle, a father, a pastor or even that oogy and creepy picture that hangs over your bedpost.
We all interpret Jesus through our own ethnic lens, or at least we should. Its nothing wrong with viewing Jesus as a black man, particularly when there are clear parallels between the lifestyles if one takes the time to do the proper research. So, don’t let someone else or something else dictate to you how you want to interpret Jesus, particularly if you’re black living in America.
But, again, it still baffles me why is it that white America can get so offended because of the things that black people say. Even I had thought we’d come farther than this, but maybe even I was wrong.
Keep it uppity, and keep it radical, JLL