I hope you had a nice Christmas holiday and didn't have any strange old men trying to sneak into your house to offer presents to your children.
Given the time of year, it seems like as good a time as any to ponder the ethnicity of my homie Jesus Christ.
I was having a chat with a African fellow not so long ago, mostly about food and stuff, when he launched into an impassioned spiel about the whitewashing of history; in particular, how black people were responsible for the pyramids, and how Jesus Christ was a black man. According to this friend of mine, our minds have been brainwashed and we've been fed a Eurocentric version of history which erases black African contributions to civilisation. Which is true to an extent.
Now, let me start by saying a few things. Firstly, I'm quite open to the concept of a black Jesus. I think it would be pretty cool if the Messiah was a soul brutha. And secondly, the traditional image of Jesus as depicted by the church, frequently with blue eyes and blonde hair, is almost certainly not would he would have looked like. "Whitewashing of history" is no joke.
There is understandable resentment on the part of some black Americans, as well as some coloured people all over the world, regarding the image of a blue-eyed and blonde-haired Jesus. To them this image represents the white-is-best conditioning faced by peoples colonised by Western powers.
And wouldn't it just be a great mind-f*** to all the racist white Christian conservatives out there (who pretty much run the US and therefore the world) if their Lord and Saviour was a negro?
But really, was Jesus black? Hmm.
Type "black jesus" into google and you'll find a whole lot of material dealing with this, as well as claims that black Africans were developing civilisation while white folks were crawling around on all fours in caves. Some will tell you that Roman Emperor Septimius Severus was black, since he was born in Libya. Rapper KRS-One not only claimed Jesus was black but at one point seemed to think the (black) ancient Egyptians invented the motorcar. By the same token you can also find white supremacists who claim Jesus was clearly of Nordic stock. As were the ancient Egyptians apparently.
The evidence all this stuff is based on is pretty flimsy. A common Biblical passage used to support the black Jesus hypothesis is Revelations 1:14, describing a vision of the messiah by John the Divine: "... his head holy and his hairs were white like wool..."
It's amazing the extent to which people will be selective with information in order to support their argument. White and black supremacists interpret this same passage quite differently. White supremacists read the passage as saying Jesus's head was white, therefore he is a pale-skinned Nordic type; black supremacists see Africanness in his supposedly wooly hair. Personally I think anyone who puts that much importance on this stuff has too much time on their hands, but hey, that's just me.
If we look at the population of the Middle East today, there are certainly some people displaying clear African heritage, but the vast majority would certainly not be called "black". But you wouldn't necessarily call them "white" either, although some could certainly pass as such. You might refer to them as "Caucasian", but terms like that are woefully inadequate to describe a population, given the diversity that exists within it.
There are even some kooky Koreans out there (not many, mind you, but some) trying to claim JC as a Korean. I'm not sure if there is any evidence for this apart from a few paintings of Him created by a Korean, in Korean artistic style, which some take as "proof". Flimsy.
But like those claims that black Nubians built the pyramids (possible, but unlikely), or that white Tocharians from Central Asia introduced rice cultivation to the Chinese (extremely unlikely, but some white supremacists believe it), speculation of the race of Jesus ignores a simple truth. If Jesus was indeed white, does that mean white people are intrinsically better? Would a black Jesus mean that black people are more holy than any other? No. Certainly His representation has an important psychological effect, but a true Christian should undoubtedly follow Jesus no matter whether he is black, white, yellow or whatever.
So it doesn't matter. But for the record, he was light brown. Let us not forget that Christianity is a Middle-Eastern religion, no less than Islam is. So all you Christians, you worship a guy who was basically an Arab. I can deal with that - can you?