Protests and campaigns have followed the murder of George Floyd who was murdered when Derek Chauvin (a White police officer) who knelt on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes. Floyd was lying down, handcuffed, and repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe”, the same words said by Eric Garner who was also murdered in 2014. The protests that started as a campaign for George Floyd has reawakened the need to fight and kick against racism against the black race has aggravated into the call for the total abolishment of institutional/systemic racism. Consequently, lots of changes have been made. Monuments that are connected to racism have been damaged and destroyed, schools and buildings have been renamed and for many organizations, the display of the confederate battle flag is prohibited.
In the United States, memorials to Christopher Columbus and the conquistadors were targeted, because their colonization of the Americas resulted in the genocide of Native American people. In the United Kingdom, memorials were removed and names changed in connection with the Atlantic slave trade, British colonialism, and eugenics. In Belgium, monuments to King Leopold II were removed, and many were defaced. In Australia and New Zealand, attention was focused on the effects on British colonization on the indigenous population.
In our world of today where people have become more critical, terms and symbols are being questioned and so many changes are being effected. For the feminist movement, words that suggest patriarchy have come under intense criticism. Likewise, straight, gay, fundamentalism, etc. have different connotations.
It is against this backdrop that we would be looking at why the colour of Jesus is very important and may not be inconsequential as some would argue. Without doubts, Jesus Christ is one of the most consequential figures in history. His race, ethnicity, and how he should be represented have been subjects of debate for centuries and has been a matter that interests historians and artists. This article will not focus on proving the colour of Jesus – He was dark-skinned (objections can be sent to the author via ucassamson24gmail.com). The intent is to suggest that the Black Lives Matter campaign is an opportunity to put an end to all form of systemic racism.
Political activist, Shaun King sparked outrage when he tweeted,
“The statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.”
“They are a form of white supremacy,” he said. “Tear them down.” And tear down all the “murals and stained-glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends, too, King added.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England as also suggested that the Church should reconsider its portrayal of Jesus Christ as a White man.
“We’re going to be looking very carefully, and putting them in context and seeing if they all should be there,” he said.
The Eurocentric depiction of Jesus has social, historical and theological implications. The images of a White Jesus should go down with objects that are linked with racism- it is a form of White supremacy. We are in the 21st Century, there are millions of people who would be flabbergasted to know that Jesus was not White. The need to put an end to a White Jesus image is further buttressed as we ask the question,
“If Jesus was white, would we ever draw a black Jesus?”
#BlackLivesmatter #GeorgeFloyd #rewritehistory #Jesusblacknotwhite