Thursday, December 18, 2008

Black Jesus: Speaking of Internalized Racism

This video is NSFW

I find this video disturbing on many levels.  We must keep in mind that Jesus in the western world is largely imagined as white, blonde haired and blue eyed.  When we consider the area of the world that he lived  the possibility of him being white is minute. Having a white deity alienates POC who were forced into giving up their traditional ways of worship at the slave owners bequest. 

Some would say that it should not matter what colour Jesus was, but my question is, if it does  not matter, why was it necessary to portray him as white?  The idea of colour not being an issue only seems to occur when the whiteness of Jesus is challenged.

The idea of POC reclaiming Jesus should be a racially positive experience.  When a black Jesus is portrayed with the word nigger coming from his mouth, it  just delegitmizes the claim  that he was a person of colour. Despite the mantra of word reclamation, nigger will always be a foul expression.  You cannot reclaim something that never belonged to you; furthermore no reconceptualization of blackness can begin with the word nigger being a starting point.

I debated whether or not to post this video when I first came across it at pikahsso, because of its disgusting nature; however hiding internalized racism will not make it disappear.  There comes a time when we must throw off the shackles of those that seek to demean us.  Casually referring to each other as nigger only affirms that this word is acceptable.  A word that has it origins in hate cannot be used to express love.

Creating videos like this is collusion with those that seek to construct us as less than.  It is admitting defeat.  Shucking and Jiving might give you fifteen minutes of fame, but respecting yourself and your ancestors battles will last a lifetime. If you want to play Jesus learn to love yourself as he loves you. 

It is this kind of internalized racism that keeps blacks down as a race.  When you refer to yourself or your peer group as niggers you are doing the Masters Work.  Whiteness does not want you to love yourself.  Whiteness wants you to despise every inch of your being.  Getting the prisoners to police themselves is the easiest way to run any jail and when blacks engage in internalized racism we make it easier to reify every single negative social construction that is attributed to us. 

It is just as easy to say nigger as it is walk down the street with head held high.  This is an active choice.  There comes a time when we all must decide what our worth is.  You can either choose to believe those that daily profit from dehumanizing you, or work towards uplifting yourself.  Remember that someone loved you so much that they survived on menstrual blood, feces and urine during the middle passage so that you could walk the earth today.  Remember that someone loved you so much that survived all manner of degradation so that you could walk the earth on this day.  Don't your ancestors deserve better than to have their struggle demeaned by your own hatred?


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