White Jesus, White Lies and Black Liberation
by Min. Paul Scott
I remember walking out of church thinking that I should reverence every white woman that I saw because she might be an angel in disguise. But as they say, in the church, "When I was a child, I thought as a child."
I cannot help but wonder, how my life, as well as the lives of countless other Black boys and girls, would have been changed if someone had told me that Judaism was one of the many religions originally practiced by African people. If someone had only told me that what is called "Christianity" was the recorded history of a Black Revolutionary named Yeshua (Jesus is derived from a Greek word, Yeshua was not Greek) who rebelled against the Roman Empire and tried to teach the Black Hebrews a clearer understanding of the word of God.
But no one took time to tell me that the picture of the blue-eyed, blond-haired "Jesus" hanging from the wall in my parents living room was actually the family member of some European artist from the 16th century who was commissioned by the leaders of the white church to paint the Son of God in the image of a white man in order to enslave and dominate the original people of the scriptures. So I grew up thinking that I was God’s little nappy headed stepchild.
When our African ancestors were enslaved and brought to America, they were taught a slave theology that made most of them docile and submissive, however a chosen few of them saw through the lies of the white man and embraced a Liberation Theology and shouted, "Before I be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave." Because it was forbidden for the enslaved Africans to read, if "massa" sent a preacher to tell them that God was white and they were a cursed people who had no soul, or if he told them that they were blessed to have been enslaved because if it wasn’t for slavery, they would still be "heathens" who never would have gotten to know "tha lawd"—they believed it. Most damaging was the teaching that to rebel against slavery was to rebel against God.
What is most tragic is that this mentality is still in the hearts and minds of Black people today. Instead of seeing the Bible as a book to be read and understood, many see it as a magical good luck charm and if we place it under our pillows at night, we would learn "the word" by osmosis.
Because many of us use the King James version of the Bible, written in Old English, many feel that if "Jesus" talked like that surely he must have looked like one of those Shakespearean actors from TV. Hollywood has also pushed this lie that the people of the Bible were European, by allowing white actors to play Moses and Jesus but making Black actors play muggers and junkies.
As we look at the condition of Black people today, we can attribute the drugs, the Black on Black violence and poverty to our being brainwashed by European "nationalism" under the guise of religion. How else can you account for our perpetual misery? How else can you account for the state of mind of our young Black boys who think that they are thugs and gangbangers. Or our Black girls who think that they are "hoes" and "chickenheads" unworthy of respect. No one has told them that they are the people of God. No one has told them that the "Jesus" that they hear about in church was the same color as the one that they see staring back at them in the mirror. Can we really expect to reach out for the Hip Hop generation with one hand while clutching a figurine of a lily white "Jesus" with the other?
How else can you explain our inability to respond effectively to the problems that have faced our people for the last 400 years. Why do we accept racism, economic exploitation and racial profiling? With all our fancy jobs and college degrees, we still cannot find a way to stop crack from coming into our communities or AIDS from spreading at an alarming rate. The reason that we tolerate such injustice is that we are looking for a white man to come down from heaven and save us and if we can’t have "Jesus" right now, any white man will do.
What we need is Afrikan Liberation Theology; a theology that reveals the TRUTH that will make us free. Afrikan Liberation Theology gives us a theological foundation to fight the battle for the upliftment of Afrikan people. This theology teaches that the fight for Justice is not against God, as the white man has taught us, but is your religious duty if you are truly a follower of Yeshua, the Black Revolutionary Messiah.
Afrikan Liberation Theology recaptures the scriptures from the white supremacist system and brings it back home to the African people upon which they were based.
Most importantly Afrikan Liberation Theology challenges us to finally confront the question, "Can a white Jesus save Black people?" Our current condition answers that question loudly and clearly.