Bleaching Jesus

DEVON DICK: A couple weeks ago, on my way to the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI), I heard a newscast about the billion-dollar skin-bleaching industry in the United States. This obsession with having a lighter skin tone is an issue among people of colour in the US, Jamaica and Asia. It is based on the belief that a lighter skin looks better and helps in getting a desirable mate, job and recognition. Tomorrow is celebrated as Christmas Day when Christians worldwide remember that God appeared as flesh in Jesus the Messiah. By becoming flesh, God was affirming that flesh is wholesome, noble and has dignity. Furthermore, all human life has worth and all are equal before God. White a symbol of purity However, there has been a bleaching of Jesus, in which Jesus is portrayed as a Caucasian, when chances are, He was a person of colour. In addition, 'white' people were seen as superior and white was a symbol of purity, innocence, civilisation, rationality, modernity and industry. Professor Orlando Patterson, renowned sociologist, showed that, in the West Indies there was a pattern of marrying lighter, with the aim of upward social mobility. Many Jamaicans have been brainwashed concerning images in the Bible. However, in 1973, Bishop Alfred Reid, then rector of St Jude's Church in the suburbs of Stony Hill, had a bronze Negroid crucifix which depicted Jesus as a person of colour, commissioned and erected in the church. This Christopher Gonzales piece was removed form the church some two decades later as it was claimed to be inappropriate. Jesus should remain bleached. This bleaching of Jesus is partially responsible for our self-hate, disregard for things African and persons of colour, and lack of self-belief in dealing with our serious socioeconomic problems. For many, Black is a symbol of evil, wickedness, backwardness and superstition. It might be sheer coincidence, but on the same day I heard the results of the skin bleaching industry in the US while on a visit to UTCWI, I noticed that an exhibition at the library on the significant events in the history of the Baptists in the last 400 years there was a failure to mention the African American George Liele who started the Baptist work in Jamaica in 1783. Baptist history is still Eurocentric! In fact, the society is regressing in matters of social equality. A couple months ago before Tiger Woods' transgressions, I heard a church leader saying he hopes that Usain Bolt gets married to someone resembling Woods' wife. And no doubt there are others in Europe who would love that. How else could you explain a BBC article with a caption about Bolt liking Jessica Ennis, British world champion? Outstanding men of colour In a long article there were two sentences that Bolt fancies Ennis while 98 per cent of the article was on Ennis' career but the caption gave the impression that Bolt is romantically inclined to Ennis. This type of writing is demonstrating that there is the need for outstanding men of colour to be validated by identifying with a Caucasian. Instead of this obsession with lighter skin tone what is needed is to recognise that because God appeared as flesh it means that Jamaicans have the ability to deal effectively with the problems we face. It is not necessary to have a different skin tone to succeed in life. And we need to change the societal values in which persons are judged by skin colour rather than character and is valued based on skin colour rather than the values of truth-telling, just dealings and compassionate actions. Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church and author of Rebellion to Riot: The Church in Nation building. Feedback may be sent to THE DAILY GLEANER Bleaching Jesus Published: Thursday | December 24, 2009

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  • Chicago-Midwest
    Low self-esteem, no love. The caucasian race realize, that they are becoming the minorities (that they are), in the US, and world. So, more of they are seeking original people, to intermix.
    • Europe
      Devon Dick is not really an established or a very good writer or it seems a very good researcher of the Bible. How else can one explain how there is not a single relevant quote from the Bible in his article?

      First, note that the Bible refers to persons constantly based on their origin of birth and not on their skin color. So for instance Saul of Tarsus describes the great Apostle and Jesus of Nazareth describes the Saviour. Partly because of historical psychology dark skinned persons have come to refer to themselves by color...strangely calling themselves black while simultaneously accepting the negative meanings applied to the color black. It is so hard for smart persons to accept and even comprehend the simple concept that black is a color and should not therefore be used to define what a person is especially when those very persons accept the negative meanings of the color black. To accept the negative meanings of black and to refer to oneself as black is by substitution to say that a black skinned person also accepts those negative meanings as applied to himself or herself. This is simple mathematical substitution. If black is the color of sin and if black means something negative and I am a black person then I must be sin or I must be a negative person! This is the psychological negative reinforcement we use on ourselves each time we call ourself black. But why do Ph.D historians and mathematicians at Harvard and Yale find such simplicity so difficult to comprehend?

      Second we need to understand the simplicity with which humans can be brainwashed or as Herman Goering the Nazi said, "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the government. That is easy." The African American community in the USA demontrates how such a process is amazingly easy. All one have to do is read "A History of Reconstruction" by Dr. Eric Foner and then ask how come 90 percent of them are in the Democratic Party. And so it has been very easy to have brainwashed dark skin persons to call themselves black which they now defend fiercely. Once you offer someone aid in what ever form you open them up to receive your message and if that message is repeated it is almost a foregone conclusion that it will be accepted. Other methods of brainwashing includes the use of the media images perhaps the most potent of all. It is not difficult to understand why dark skinned persons will gravitate towards lighter skinned personalities considering that the media they feed off reinforces the negatives attributed to dark colors and the positives to lighter colors. So for those persons who seem surprised at the skin bleaching come out from under your rock please.
  • DMV
    This is a sickness, our people seem to be acquiring around the world. It's called self-hate, hatred of all things Black, including hating our skin color, our race, our culture, and anything else that is about Afrika and her people. Baba Olatunji
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