Sunday, July 01, 2007

“To my [white] boyfriend, Jesus.”




A few weeks ago, I gave a seminar on Black male/female relationships at a Black church. At the close of the workshop, I was signing my books and overheard a conversation between two Black women in their mid 30s or so. I admittedly caught the tale end of their conversation, but heard one of them state emphatically, that, “her boyfriend was Jesus.” I was at first amused by what she said but then started thinking about her expression of love for the Son of God. Why this conflation of the divine with the romantic? How did she depict her “boyfriend” racially? Was he the misleading image of Jesus who has been drawn for centuries as a thin, white, blue-eyed, effeminate male, or did he possess the Black features of the man described in Revelation 1:14,15?

Given the bits and pieces of the conversation, I’d say it was the white boy image of Jesus.

I thought about how so much Black churchianity has become feminized. A few months ago, I participated in a men-only workshop at a Baltimore church entitled “Why Black Men Don’t Go to Church”. It was refreshing to hear Black men tell it like it is regarding their church attendance. I noticed that whenever race or racism was mentioned, howerver as a reason for non-attendance, it was frequently counterbalanced by “true believers” who claimed that Black men were “just sinful” and that the “devil had got a hold to Black men.”

To say the least, these are conversation stoppers and I’ve noticed that church-going Afrikans such as these drive in a race-neutral gear when it comes to talking about Jesus, the church, or anything dealing with their faith. This is especially true when it comes to discussing the social justice ministry of the Black church that historically lead the way for challenging white supremacy in the U. S. and the world. These believers' religion is deracinated and their uniqueness as Black “Christians” obliterated by a culturally gray and colorless profession of faith.

“I don’t care what color Jesus is; I just love him!” is usually followed by shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!”, and once again, Afrikan culture which is deeply rooted in Christianity and particularly in the Black church is neutralized. I’ve asked Black Christians that if it is true that it “makes no difference what color Jesus is, why not make him Black? Why not remove the white “Lamb of God” from sanctuary walls and replace Him with an image that looks like you and your children who invoke His name.?” These, of course are troubling questions for Black people who swallow hook, line and sinker, the Europeanized version of churchianity that has dominated the world and the minds of people of color for the past 1500 years.

And so I wonder about the Sister I heard at church the other day who asserted that her “boyfriend was Jesus.” Was he white, with pale milky features and stringy blonde hair the way white masters gave him to us on the plantation, and if so, was this her “ideal image” of who a lover should look like? Or, to paraphrase my Sister Gladys Knight, I wondered if she does get a real Black man as a boyfriend, will he be “second” to her idealized image of a blue-eyed skinny guy who has been branded in her brain as the “best thing that ever happened to her”?

I don’t know, but it my wondering is only half correct, it just shows the pernicious damage that a white supremacist view of Jesus has on the minds of my people…

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:53 AM

    I applaud your efforts to raise our level of awareness of white supremacy.

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  2. Anonymous1:46 PM

    The notion of white supremacy is dead however, many black folks refuse to let it die and move on to the next objective. As a nation and as a race we’ve climbed a huge hurdle by electing a black man to the highest office in the land. However, we as race keep reminding ourselves that our ancestors were slaves! It is good to know where you came from so you can gauge how and where you are going. It is time to move on and to continue to make progress and achievements. Let’s start by reducing black on black crime. The last set of stats reported a trend of a murder rate of 53% of all people killed in America are black; unfortunately of that 53% killed 92% were murdered by black assailants.

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  3. Anonymous1:40 AM

    In order to reduce black on black crime we will have to get to the root of the problem. When you look at the statistics it becomes clear that our main problem manifest itself through drug use, the crime is a fallout of the prevalence of drugs in our communities.

    White on white crime is slmost as high as black on black crime. The only types of homicide that we lead in our drug related. It is such a problem that it makes us lead in the overall statistic. Looking at the other areas of homicide we appear to be a more peaceful people than whites.

    I believe that our drug problem is driven by the need to escape some of the harsh realities of living in the dominate culture, financially and spiritually. We need to focus our resources on solving this problem, immediately.

    Take a look at the data:

    www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homocide/race.htm

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  4. Anonymous11:17 PM

    The immediate problem is black on black murder! The harsh reality of living under a dominate culture is a reality many cultures faced both past and present. While many draw on the excuse of drugs as the catalysis for this type of violence…the reality still remains blacks are still dying at the hands of other blacks. Time for the American branch of our race to mature and take charge of its own density and become the dominate culture; however, this will never occur until we as a race stop making excuses. African Americans such as: Governor P.B. S. Pinchback, George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass, as well as many others are evidence of individuals who lived under an extremely oppressive society/culture and managed to accomplish great things. Let’s follow their example of excellence by first stop making excuses; learn to work with what you have and then to accomplish great things. Don’t forget the fact that the African culture is rich and diverse and for thousands of years it was the dominate culture. Some things can’t be evaded but they can be conquered.

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  5. Anonymous12:02 PM

    What excuses are you refering to?

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  6. Chris Cager12:04 PM

    Dr. Amos N. Wilson stated, "if you plan to stop black on black crime, you're gonna have to stop the police first..!!" Think about this statement for a minute before you answer.

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  7. Jawanza5:49 PM

    We must keep on talking about slavery and white supremacy because we haven't really and truthfully addressed them yet.

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  8. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Part of this blog really bothers me. So what would be wrong if the black woman did want a blue eyed blonde boy? Maybe she is into that. Just like some blue eyed blonde white girls like tall dark black men. Seriously. There is nothing wrong with that.

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