Sunday, January 10, 2016

White Images in the Black Mind - The Color of Christ and White Supremacy


Wekesa O. Madzimoyo
Take a look at Roland Martin's take on the white Jesus issue. Here

"To whom much is given....”
This one is for my Christian family and friends who may have slipped back into the "color of Christ doesn't matter" thinking. I don't have this discussion much anymore. Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan settled it for me 40 + years ago, and I've not looked back since. (Dr. Ben's link at the end of this post.) In fact, I've moved forward. But this post isn't about me or religion, per se, and it's certainly not about getting you to change your faith.


It's more about "racial scripting" than scripture. It's about religion as a tool for white supremacy and the domination of our people - African people. It's about our believing that God's loves for us (and God's presence in us) is not dependent on us bowing to or ignoring images of white Jesus/God/angels.
It's about us caring about the psychological, social, and spiritual health of our children and people enough to blaze a different trail.

Over the years, I've seen the African-centered images of Jesus/God in Black homes and Black churches begin to fade. They are being replaced with the Nordic white male images.

THEY SAID NO!


I feel sad, and a little fearful of this slippage. Sad that we've lost ground. I had these conversations with the Tucker Family minsters 40 years ago - Mom, Daddy Garrie, Uncle Johnny. Uncle Percy was there too. We talked of many things; when it came around to the description of Jesus in the Bible, Uncle Percy argued that "hair like lambs wool and feet like brass set into a furnace" was a "spiritual description."

They all agreed that image didn't matter, instead the concepts, precepts, and teachings only mattered. I said "ok" and offered them free of charge large beautiful 20x30 pictures of Jesus as a Black man to place or advocate for them to be placed in their churches with all Black congregations.
Each one said "No." So, I said. "Hmm. looks like the color of Christ does matter!" I love them, I respect them, and learned much from them. Still, on that day, their fear of changing or their attachment to the white image proved that the image they held of Jesus/God DID matter TO THEM.

Fortunately, many other ministers admitted this and changed. Black images of Christ/God flourished. Unfortunately, over the years has been a slow fade to white at a time when our children need powerful Black images of themselves.

Saying that the color of Jesus doesn't matter is about a true as the statement that we're in a "post racial society." I am concerned that our chances of real victory diminish with each stained glass version of Obama's "post-racial" society delusion.

This is because our youth - and elders too - won't know how to call on God to help them defeat the white injustice that they face.

Doing for; instead of helping us do?
I fear that some will turn away from an God as irrelevant, while others will use God as what MLK calls a "cosmic bellhop" - a waiter - ordering Jesus/God, by prayer, to do the work that only we must do.

I fear that they'll pray only that God will change white people's hearts instead of praying for God to strengthen their own courageous efforts to make sure their words, fists or bullets land in the right place to stop the killing of God's people - Sandra Bland, LaQuan McDaniel, our daughters using cell phones in school or our sons playing in the park on a winters day.

If this sounds harsh, it's because that white image-idea is wrapped around morality so tightly that it's inconceivable to advocate for our defending ourselves with anything but prayer. That's a long way from home.

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass who gathered Black soldiers to fight for our freedom in the Civil War said: "This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both."

MY GRANDMOTHER'S WARNING

Family, please stay with me for a while longer. I'm one of you. I'm the son of Cornell Geddie and Maggie Lee Tucker-Wright. They taught me to seek the truth and to speak the truth - as I saw it and understood it. They knew there was more to life than what they'd been taught, and sent me out to find it and they made ways for me to share it.

Hettie Tucker
I remember when my mother arranged for two bus loads of people to come from Fayetteville, NC to UNC-Chapel Hill to see my performance of my original one man show: "I've Been Buked." After hearing the words and power of David Walker's Appeals, Douglass' Fourth of July Speech, and Henry Highland Garnett's call for us to overthrow the hellish captors, they applauded widely.

My father hugged me like he never had before. My mother beamed with pride. My grandma, Hettie, was proud too. She squeezed me with one of those tight grandma hugs, and whispered in my ear "Now, be careful that the white folks don't get you."

She didn't want to shut me up or tone me down; she just wanted me to be safe. After all, it was her shot-gun totin' energy that was coming through.
My brother, now Elder Dr. Randy Geddie, to whom God gave the singing voice, was embarrassed, and wished that his older brother hadn't tried to sing "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." I had no illusions about my singing. I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. He has long since realized that I wasn't singing for popularity or praise.

I was singing with our ancestors who resisted captivity - even through song - and with those who knew that this oppressive place was not home. They knew that the captor's religious teaching were to make them surrender and submit to captivity. They knew that the those teachings were a long way from home.

A white image of Jesus/God still is a long way from home.

You see, along with the blond hair, blue-eyed white man image, we get Eurocentric ideas, values and culture associated with it.

IMAGES > IDEAS > EMOTIONS > BEHAVIOR


Images communicate without words!
You already know the power of image-ideas. That's the reason we want our children to dress a certain way - because the image that others see (suit and tie, shined shoes, drooping pants, African clothes, a priest's collar, etc) conjures up ideas in the viewer's minds - ideas about their worth, their intelligence, home training, temperament, etc. To police officers today the image of a Black person breathing conjures up ideas and emotions that direct them to shoot us, restrain us, abuse us, control us.

Images evoke associated ideas, emotions, and behavior.

The white male Jesus/God image evokes ideas implanted is us from white culture. These ideas promote the white agenda (domination) at our expense. Some of these ideas - they:

  • Are beautiful like Jesus/God 
  • Are God-like
  • Are God's chosen people
  • Have God-like authority
  • and more...

Most white people and most of us are not aware of these ideas. That is what makes them all the more powerful! Both follow the image's direction without question.

White supremacy image-ideas promote our surrender to and acceptance of those ideas as if they are our own. It's less resistance that way.

Of course, we don't experience them as surrender to white supremacy, we experience them as "enlightenment," "salvation" "transcendence" "equality" "morality," "intelligence," etc.

It's a very slick system that has me feel joyful and think myself enlightened, when I'm actually surrendering. You see, there's no internal conflict that way. They supply the illusion; we the matching delusion, and the dance is on. It's easier for us to believe that THEIR ideas are OUR ideas if the illusion/delusion seem resolve internal and relationship conflicts. The irony is - most of those conflicts are created by the very system pretending to offer relief. It's a very slick system.

It even encourages us to adorn it with our cultural clothes. We'll believe that it's our image-idea when they are served with things we value like: family, peace, love, collard greens, call and response, truth, fried chicken, Mahalia Jackson, loyalty, the power to make a way out of no way, and even Kinte cloth.

As an aside, this implanting so we believe that THEIR ideas are OUR ideas applies to more than Christianity. That's a discussion is for another time.

LIBERATION VS. PROSPERITY THEOLOGY


Have you noticed that today, too many churches have replaced "liberation theology" with "prosperity theology" at the very same time that young Hip Hop artist are paid royally to promote materialistic, domination-over-others music instead of liberating, unifying, racially empowering "we" music.

Coincidence or white agenda?

Black liberation theologist, Jeremiah Wright had to be sacrificed for Obama to ascend. Coincidence or white agenda?

Some other churches steer clear of both liberation and prosperity theology. They, like too many self-help, new age, spiritual gurus, focus on individual healing, cleansing, salvation and self empowerment with little or no connection to racial group empowerment or to individually challenging oppression. Self-actualization, and personal spiritual transcendence; not Black Power.

That's a change from Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, Rev. Howard Thurman, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Dr. G. Murray Branch, Rev. Dr. Charles Chopher and many, many others. This change was not directly instructed.

Instead this attitude and behavioral change came more by association. It creates less resistance from us that way. There's an African proverb that's fitting here: "It's the calm and silent waters that drown a man."

White image-ideas are the calm and silent waters. Think about it, when you see the image of a white-male Jesus/God are you inspired to say or feel BLACK POWER, are you inspired to work harder to develop us as a PEOPLE? I think not. The image has other purposes.

Images matter.

Still think not? Then what kind of cell phone or electronic tablet do you have - Android or IOS? What purse? Are those the new Jordan's? You get the point. Images matter.

When I've talked about this in the past, some people with white friends become distressed as if ending white supremacy and domination is against their white friend. That is true if that white friend defines himself/herself based on your or your people's subjugation. Too often they have been carried for so long, that they determine how much you care and how human you are based on how much you carry them you and your children's expense. Trying to prove your humanity to them is to your detriment.

You see, it doesn't matter whether your white friend or co-worker is aware of this white image-idea and domination agenda or not. It doesn't matter whether they too are catchin' hell on the job with you or not, it doesn't matter whether they "love" you or not, the white agenda to dominate us (and others) is being executed on their behalf, with their acceptance and approval - even if their personal hands aren't dirty.

Just compare Dylan Roof's treatment with that received by Tamir Rice, and you'll see what I mean.

Images are symbols. Symbols speak to us and affect our thinking and behavior. The Confederate flag is a powerful symbol. That's why many want it down. The cross is also powerful symbol.

Two pieces of wood crossed -just so- evoke thoughts, feelings, behavior. Emperor Constantine noticed it, created his version of Christianity, "converted" to it because he needed a religion to unify his empire, then told his soldiers: "By this conquer." He was referring to the cross, but he just as well could have been talking about the symbol of a white man as Jesus/God. They've been conquering ever since.  The symbol draws its strength from this historic white conquering brutality and fear it engenders.

FEAR AND DELUSION:


Overt racism, police brutality, white militancy, racist legislative and judicial rulings rekindle the fear. Obama and Michelle being in the White House signal our long sought after white acceptance - a delusion. 

Eight million people watching Kerry Washington get second-hand sex and execute second-hand power on national television signals white approval - more delusion.

These two: fear and delusion alternate to convince us that the racial image of deities don't matter.

The fear of white reprisals and the delusional shelter of white approval powerfully shapes our choices about what's beautiful, good, and "proper" to who and what is Jesus and God."

I understand. 16 bullets - I feel it too.

Like it or lump it, we have to fight white domination, oppression and aggression directed at our people. Those multi-syllable words -oppression, domination are just abstractions and mean nothing without white people (and their agents - who are sometimes us) to execute them.

So, we'll need to challenge those PEOPLE, policies and practices. Fact is, we CANNOT worship white male image-ideas and defeat people who mean us no good too!

And make no mistake about it, we will have to kick butt. You can choose your venues - in courts, in schools, in the legislatures, in the classrooms, boardrooms, in the struggle for customers, in the media, on the police stops, and even on the streets (Remember Zimmerman?).

You can choose your comrades (including ethereal ones), and sometimes even your battles. You CANNOT choose the WAR, 'cause it's being brought to us everyday.

And if you think that it is "just the work of the Devil," as my mother, Rev. Maggie Tucker Wright, used to say, then you're probably right!


TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN...

I understand. Cutting a freedom path is often painful and lonely. It's the true path. It's worth it, and you will never be alone


I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I'm not a young man, and may have "called things up short" when a longer explanation might have been warranted. Forgive me. I am close to the age of my parent's passing. Today, in the face of surging and subtle racism, they call to me.

They remind me "to whom much is given, much is required." They gave me courage to search for truth. They gave me the confidence to fashion solutions. They gave me the wisdom to know that I have never, nor will ever be alone. They gave me love. It is required that I give - first to my people, then the world.

Finally, I leave you with the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

"On some positions cowardice ask, "Is it safe?" Vanity asks, "Is it popular?" Expediency asks "is it politic?" But conscious asks, "Is it right?" There comes a time...

Please listen to the rest... He can say it better than I can type it....


Doc Ben: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhzgO4UeshY)
PS:
I welcome your responses - praises, criticism, other views - to my words and the video clip. If you think it worthy, please also pass this on to others."