Friday, November 03, 2006

Black Jesus and Modern American Racism

Hello readers. Just wanted to say hi. I'm actually in a good mood as I launch into this... again, bear with me.

One of the more interesting aspects of my recent move to Baton Rouge is exposure to new talk radio stations. Namely, WIBR 1300 AM. It is decidedly focused on catering to a Black audience, as there is a large population of Black people in Baton Rouge. I hate using the term "African-American" because I think it is pointless. Most Black Americans are at least 6-7 generations removed from their African ancestors. I probably have more right to call myself "French-American" or "British-American"... but who cares? Be who you are today, not what your ancestors were 150 years ago. It doesn't do anyone any good to wallow in the victim mindset that festers from Liberalism.

Well... one of the featured hosts is a nationally syndicated host named Michael Eric Dyson (MED or Dr. Dyson). I had seen him before on Bill Maher's show, so when I heard him on the radio I knew I had to pay attention. (My favorite part of both his and Al Sharpton's shows are the use of the terms "brother" and "sister" in addressing one another. Somehow "Brother andTim" just doesn't roll off the tongue right. Go figure.)

Dr. Dyson brought forth the topic of Black Jesus, in short- the idea that Jesus could've been a black man. This was brought up through discussion of a new movie coming out called Color of the Cross, in which Jesus is depicted as a black man. Let me say this up front- it's probably a good flick and I hope to see it. I am all for positive artistic creativity. If this movie brings even one (1) person closer to God then it has served an inestimable worth.

But the idea that Jesus could have been black is stupid. It is EQUALLY as stupid to say Jesus was a white man. Jesus was a Jew, and probably looked more like Saddam Hussein than George Bush or George Foreman. In fact there was a good article several years ago in Popular Mechanics about this. I know, I know- this picture is pretty funny, but it makes you think. Sure, God could have made Jesus of any race he wanted- but there is nothing in the Bible to say that Jesus stood out as different.

Dr. Dyson posed the following question to his listeners "Is America Ready For A Black Jesus?". Which is a fair and interesting question- if approached objectively. (This isn't exactly a new question- look into Madonna's video archive for some quality Black Jesus action.) My problem? MED pushed the argument absurdly and let it become a race issue. I hate this. I don't think MED is a racist, but he is obsessed with race- which is as superficial a topic as any that Paris Hilton has dared to debutantely diatribe about.

The vast majority of callers on his show are black and most of them gave predictable responses. "Yes, America can handle it....", "No America can't handle it...". UNTIL- one guy took the andTim, and dare I say- reasonable human being position that Jesus probably is misrepresented by anything short of a likeness to the PM picture of him. At this point Dr. Dyson couldn't take it. Who was this fellow black brother on HIS show asserting that the idea of a Black Jesus was misguided from the start? (At least historically- artistically, anything goes of course.) At this point Dr. Dyson did everything he could to say that Jesus was at the LEAST a man of COLOR! This flat pissed me off. WHAT AM I? Do I get nothing? I can't even be WHITE? What am I... CLEAR? I don't get to have pride in ANY color? I just could not believe that MED was lumping people together by SHADES of skin. He had drawn a line... and that line was White People vs. Everyone Else. (I wonder what he would say about Asian cultures, Filipinos, etc.) Maybe if I go to Planet Beach 3 times a month, I can be part of Dr. Dyson's elite group of Colored people. And here I am thinking that "colored" was an antiquated racist term... I guess we'll just group that in with the "N" word as stupid things that persist in American culture.

To conclude- The iconography of Christ can be traced back thousands of years. Most of the recent "White" images of Jesus came from the Renaissance, etc- where the majority of artists were Anglos. I am sure that you can even go into some Black churches in America (I hate classifying people that way- and don't get me started on Black Fraternities and Sororities...) and see a picture of a White Jesus. My overall point: WHO CARES! To Dr. Dyson it must seem simple and convenient for me to say that.. I'm white. But for him to assert that Jesus was closer to Black than White is stupid. Just dumb. I'm not saying HE is dumb, but the idea is DUMB. And for those that listen to his show and allow themselves to be influenced, it does just a little bit more to divide the races in America. Multiply this out day-by-day and it becomes a chasm. Dr. Dyson- I don't want a chasm. I love my Black brothers and sisters the same as anyone, and I would love it if we could stop this divide. You have been given a powerful position as a radio host- use it responsibly.


At 11/04/2006 09:24:00 PM, Anonymous maidofclay said...

Interesting commentary on the iconography of America. I even chuckled a little to myself picturing this MED man and Paris Hilton having a debate. I think the entire shades of colored debate merely perpetuates the divide in our country. Every time I have to mark a box as being white/Caucasian I feel the blade of separation drive farther into our country. I don't need that label and I certainly do not want it. I'm not from the Caucus mountain area, nor is anyone in my family. My family is from West Texas. We are in fact 7th generation Texan. Can I have a box for that please!?

Instead of the ridiculous top 10% admittance criteria for Texas Unis we should let everyone check their Texan box, look at their grades and service, and let the chips fall where they may. Until we do, we continue to deepen this tragic divide in our country through the very machines set up to dismantle it.

Sadly, It would seem that America, driven by our viciously humanistic media, deems herself no longer ready for ANY Jesus, much less a Black, Filipino, or other one. Perhaps MED should engage in that debate with you Brother andTim?


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