Activist and writer Shaun King is getting a lot of mixed reaction over his tweet yesterday in which he called for the removal of images that depicted Jesus as a white man.
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Experts have long since said this is likely the most accurate depiction of Jesus. White Americans who bought, sold, traded, raped, and worked Africans to death for hundreds of years in this country, simply could not have THIS man at the center of their faith. And so what I am seeing is that as I say we should tear down your white supremacist idols, a lot of you who practice Christian-whiteness feel like I am attacking the faith, or Jesus. Nope. I’m saying that for hundreds of years you have abused the faith, and religion as a tool of oppression and that we must call it out. It was literally at the root of slavery. White Jesus is not innocent. White Jesus is an oppressive scam to advance white power. Always has been.
King tweeted yesterday, “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been. In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went? EGYPT! Not Denmark. Tear them down.”
His remarks come as more statues are removed around the country. While people first took down confederate statues, activists are now removing statues of George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. Activists say their participation in slavery is reason enough to have their states removed.
King, whose activism includes supporting Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter movement (though isn’t directly linked to the organization), received tremendous pushback on both sides of the argument.
“Shaun King trying to do more decolonizing of the US than your movement favorites,” one follower said.
Shaun King, cops and white jesus all walk into a bar…
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) June 22, 2020
“Shaun King is trying to take down White Jesus statues while knowing that he himself is White,” another said. “Sit your White behind down and mind your business, Shaun.”
King updated his followers by saying, “Received about 20 death threats in the past 12 hours since I said that statues of white European Jesus are a tool of oppression for white supremacy and should be taken down. It pretty much proves my point. Your religion is actually whiteness with a Christian patina.”
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He added, “I am a practicing Christian. I am an ordained minister and was a Senior Pastor for many years. If my critiques of the white supremacy within the Christian world bother you to the point of wanting to kill me, you are the problem. Christian whiteness has ALWAYS been dangerous.”
The Bible notes several references to Jesus’ skin and hair. Jesus, who was a Jew from Israel, had “burnished bronze” feet and “the hair of his head like pure wool.”
The majority of images of Jesus depict him with light skin, flowing brown hair, and blue eyes. But how can that be the case, especially when you consider the bible references and where he was from.
“We don’t know what [Jesus] looked like, but if all of the things that we do know about him are true, he was a Palestinian Jewish man living in Galilee in the first century,” Robert Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa and editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, said in History.com. “So he would have looked like a Palestinian Jewish man of the first century. He would have looked like a Jewish Galilean.”
What do you think? Should we remove images of white Jesus?