Category: Opinion Written by Dr. Boyce Watkins
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
If you’ve never heard of Felicia the Goat, you’ll know about her soon. Felicia the Goat is the main character in a recent Mountain Dew commercial, created in part by Tyler the Creator. The video shows Felicia in a line-up of criminal suspects, all of whom may be charged with a crime
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 06:56
Category: Opinion Written by Courier Newsroom
by Dion Rabouin
(RTNS)--I got the opportunity to go off on a lengthy diatribe to a friend this week about the harm of White Jesus when I found out that History Channel’s “The Bible” will soon be made into a feature film. The network, Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey will be bringing White Jesus, White Moses and the devil that kind of looks like President Obama to the multiplex to inundate a new generation of children with the notions of White privilege and White supremacy.
(If you want a better understanding of White privilege, the ability to recolor the Messiah and make him in your own image, despite prevailing and obvious factual impediments is a good place to start.)
At this point, most people agree Jesus was not the blue-eyed surfer dude that is consistently depicted upon cathedral walls and in pop culture. But whenever I start talking about the generally accepted notion that Jesus was not White, the typical response is, “Why does it matter?”
The answer to this question was perfectly answered last year when a movie based on a popular book series chose to stay true to its depiction of Black characters, at least the auxiliary ones.
When “The Hunger Games” debuted in theaters – to an insane $155 million opening weekend – in March 2012 with a Black Rue, Thresh, and Cinna, folks took to Twitter and Facebook to collectively lose their minds.
“EWW rue is black?? I’m not watching,” said @Joe_Longley.
“why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie,” said @maggie_mcd11.
“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself” said @jasphperparas.
“The posts go on and on and on. It's not just a coupe [sic] of tweets, it's not just a coincidence,” wrote Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart, who cataloged the tweets. “There's an underlying rage, coming out as overt prejudice and plain old racism. Sternberg is called a ‘black b*tch,’ a ‘n*gger’ and one person writes that though he pictured Rue with ‘darker skin,’ he ‘didn't really take it all the way to black.’ It's as if that is the worst possible thing a person could be.”
Feel free to look at the tweets yourself, there are literally hundreds of them.
You could call this racism or you could call it the shock of living a life full of White privilege and then going into the multiplex to see heroes that suspiciously don’t look like you. You’re angry, you’re disappointed and you’re just so full of apathy for these Black characters, because, you know, “EWW.”
This is the harm of a White Jesus. It’s part of a theme in American culture that internalizes the superiority of whiteness. That message is imbued to White kids and Black kids and everyone else through the etiolation of all things good and pure. The most well-worn agent of this message is the archetype of an inexplicably White Jesus.
There’s a fantastic examination of the history of White Jesus in the book “The Color of Christ” that looks at how the image worked in concert with slavery and ensuing notions of race in the U.S.
“The birth, growth, and evolution of White Jesus imagery dating from the antebellum era and exploding in the twentieth century coincided with the birth of an American empire founded, in part, in notions of race,” said Paul Harvey who wrote the book along with Edward J. Blum. “The assault on that sacralization of whiteness through the civil rights years has not, and could not, defeat it entirely, and the depth of religiously-fueled sentiment directed against Obama suggests that as well.”
Essentially, it’s a lot more difficult to justify overtly heinous bigotry, like enslaving an entire race of people, or even seemingly innocuous racism when the son of the God you pray to before every meal is a Black man and His virgin mother is a Black woman. Conversely, it’s much easier to justify when they’re not.
Ask yourself the question, why would Jesus be White? The only possible explanation is that a historically accurate Jesus isn’t palatable to greater (White) society. That should invite the follow-up question, why is that?
Portraits of White Jesus by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were created to “honor” the kings of their time who were White, but why have they endured?
“This logic is perfectly cogent,” writes Chauncey DeVega in a piece for Alternet, “a racial project of exploitation and enslavement of non-whites by Europeans, one legitimized by a belief in the natural inferiority of people of color, the pseudo-science of the Great Chain of Being, a belief in the Curse of Ham as well as other myths, must, for reasons of practical necessity, be predicated on the existence of a ‘White’ God.”
While I disagree that the paleness of Jesus can be held responsible for the historical misdeeds of centuries of Europeans, it can be reasonably asserted that a White Jesus allows for a spirit of antipathy and degradation of people of color. That spirit can be seen in ritualistic slaughter and inhumane enslavement of historical masses in centuries past or on Twitter today.
Admittedly, no one knows what Jesus really looked like. Despite the depiction of a man with hair of wool and skin of copper from the Book of Revelation, which is actually an ethereal remembrance of Christ after death, not a depiction of his living self, we don’t have any descriptions to use. But we do have common sense, which tells us that a boy who was born in the Middle East, raised in Northern Africa and was a member of a group of people that were predominately dark-skinned is probably not going to look like Diogo Morgado, Jim Caviezel or any of the other benevolent Caucasians who have played Jesus over the years.
So, does it matter what color Jesus is? Yeah, it matters a lot.
Reprinted from the Atlanta Daily World
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 18:17
Category: Opinion Written by Raynard Jackson
(NNPA)—Once again the Black community has been shown how irrelevant they have become in the U.S. Most of the blame can be laid at the feet of the media appointed Black leadership for selling out their people. And we’ve gotten nothing in return. At least Judas Iscariot had sense enough to get 30 pieces of silver when he sold out Jesus Christ.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 April 2013 11:45
Category: Opinion Written by CNN
by Bob Greene
(CNN) -- How much do you hate it when some meddling boss is leaning way-too-close over your shoulder, micro-checking and second-guessing every bit of work you do?
Last Updated on Sunday, 28 April 2013 20:03
Category: Opinion Written by Marian Wright Edelman
MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN
(NNPA)—The United States Senate’s failure to pass common sense gun safety measures—the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks to keep guns away from underage or dangerous people, and amendments to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines designed only to kill as many human beings as possible—is a moral failure of great magnitude. Once again, the safety of children has been sacrificed by political leaders in service to the gun lobby. As Americans do we value guns more than the lives of children? Do we really want to continue to have political leaders who kowtow to the threats and money and half-truths of the gun lobby and who think their political jobs are more important than the right of children to live and learn and grow up in safety?
The fight to protect children, not guns is not over because:
Ninety percent of Americans want a universal background check. This includes 94 percent of North Dakota voters, 89 percent of Indiana voters, 89 percent of New Hampshire voters, 84 percent of Arkansas voters, and 79 percent of Montana voters—all states where at least one senator went against the will of their constituents and of the American people. Getting 90 percent of Americans to agree on anything is extremely difficult.
No one elected the National Rifle Association to be in charge of our children’s and our nation’s safety. We have elected federal, state, and local governments, a national defense department, and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to perform this crucial function. The NRA represents less than 10 percent of gun owners and is a minority view. Their stance against universal background checks defies not only 90 percent of all Americans, but 88 percent of those with a gun in the household and 74 percent of the NRA’s own membership. The NRA claims up to 5 million members but there are many more Americans who are not NRA members. We must lift our voices and use our votes to protect children over guns.
Lies and misinformation must not rule the day in a democratic society. The NRA claimed that the Manchin-Toomey Amendment would prevent people from transferring guns to relatives and lead to a gun registry. Neither is true. As co-sponsor Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), an “A” rated NRA member, said: “That is simply a lie . . . You can loan your hunting rifle to your buddy without any new restrictions…You can give or sell a gun to your brother or your sister, your cousin, your uncle, your co-worker without a background check. You can post a gun for sale on the cork bulletin board at your workplace or on your church bulletin board without a background check.”
Senator Manchin also said, “[Anybody] that has read that bill that would think that would allow or entice the government to begin a registry is misleading and lying.” The NRA may have won the first round by spreading lies and confusion, but they must not and will not win in the end. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “However difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because ‘truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ How long? Not long, because ‘no lie can live forever.’”
Our children have a right to grow up in a caring and decent society that protects their right to live and learn in safety. That right must take precedence over anyone’s right to own assault weapons or high capacity magazines that have nothing to do with self-defense or hunting and have no place in the hands of non-military and non-law enforcement personnel. Without these weapons of war applied to our children, how many would be alive today? How many Newtown or Aurora or Columbine victims would have survived?
There have been 166,562 children and teens who have died since 1965 from guns on American soil, while 52,280 U.S. soldiers were killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined. On average during that period, 3,470 children and teens were killed by guns every year—174 classrooms of 20 children. This is intolerable in a decent and democratic society. When will the number of children killed by guns in our country be sufficient for enough of our Congressional leaders to pass common sense gun safety laws to protect them as Connecticut, New York, Colorado, and Maryland have recently done?
I hope that everyone who believes in protecting our children’s right to live and grow up will become as vocal and passionate and organized as those who seek more and more dangerous weapons of death in a nation already saturated with more than 300 million guns. We must stop this relentless war against our children and dethrone the NRA whose reign obstructs what 90 percent of Americans want.
I woke up the morning after the Senate votes thinking about Sojourner Truth, one of my role models, a brilliant and indomitable slave woman who could neither read nor write but who was passionate about ending unjust slavery and second-class treatment of women. At the end of one of her antislavery talks in Ohio, a man came up to her and said, “Old woman, do you think that your talk about slavery does any good? Do you suppose people care what you say? Why, I don’t care anymore for your talk than I do for the bite of a flea.” “Perhaps not,” she answered, “but, the Lord willing, I’ll keep you scratching.”
Some of our Senators have just told us that they don’t care what 90 percent of us want and have closed their ears to the pleas of those who have lost their children and family members to gun violence. But we must be determined and persistent fleas until we move them either to change their minds or kick them out of office. I hope enough of us will bite them, bite them, and bite them until they do care about the children whose lives have been cut short and those at risk of the same fate. Enough fleas biting strategically can make the biggest dog uncomfortable. And if they flick some of us off but even more of us keep coming back and biting with our calls, emails, visits, nonviolent direct action protests, and votes (the most important nonviolent protest)—we’ll win.
(Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.)
Last Updated on Friday, 26 April 2013 06:14
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