How We Unconsciously Demonize the Black Race


How We Unconsciously Demonize the Black Race

By Azuka Onwuka

It is surprising that Black Christians all over the world have not made a categorical statement denouncing the use of “black” for Satan and “white” for Jesus Christ, God, the angels and the apostles. Sometimes Jesus is even given blue eyes and golden hair, and you are left wondering how someone born in Israel 2,000 years ago would look like a European. If God had made Jesus Christ different in looks from other Israelites (as they were called then) before sending Him to be born by a Jewish woman, such a transformation of complexion and looks is not recorded in the Bible.

You are also left wondering how Lucifer (which means “shining one” or “morning star”), who was described as “the son of the morning” because of his dazzling nature, could be black, when it is not recorded anywhere in the Bible that after he was kicked out of heaven, he was turned black as a punishment. If Satan was not turned black, why then make him black and influence the world’s perception?

In truth, as the BBC showed in a recreation of Jesus Christ, given that He was born in the Middle East, He should not look any bit European as we have been made to believe. He should have a complexion that is darker than what is popularly associated with Him as well as black hair. But because the Europeans, through the Romans, were in control of the world for many centuries after the birth of Christianity, they transformed Satan into a black being to suit their concept of the Black race as evil and inferior, and made Jesus a White to suit their concept of the Whites as the superior and divine race. Regrettably, that racial injustice and falsehood have been sustained and promoted as the norm by even Blacks. Painfully, this derogatory perception of Blacks was what justified the use of Blacks as slaves and the subsequent racial discrimination.

In addition, this demonization of the Black race has continued in other forms, albeit subtle. For example, in Europe and North America, it is regarded as fatism to describe someone as “fat.” You are advised to call them “big” or “plus size.” It is regarded as sexism for you to use “mankind” to describe the human race or to use “policeman” instead of “police officer,” or “chairman” instead of “chairperson” or “chair.” In the Western world, when you are dealing with a woman, you must watch your words carefully or feminists would brand you a sexist and make life miserable for you. It is the same with the Jews. If you make any joke against the Jews or the Holocaust, the whole Jewish race, supported by human rights advocates and sympathizers, would go up in arms. You would be hounded for antisemitism and threatened with boycott of anything you are associated with until you apologize.

What about the Black race? Yes, if you make a direct racial statement against Blacks in the West, you would come under attack. But ironically, the same Blacks still allow the dictionary to be littered with anti-Black words and expressions like “black sheep, blackleg, blackmail, blacklist, black lie, black book, black spot, black head, the Black Death, black September, the Dark Continent, dark-hearted, etc.” Perhaps the only phrase with “black” in it that has a positive meaning is the “black belt,” probably because it came from Japanese martial arts, rather than from Europe or North America.

Surprisingly, Africans and especially the Blacks in the United States have not strongly campaigned for the categorization of these words as racist and derogatory. Some would say that they are just “mere words” with no racial connotation. No, they are not. If you call a man “a mad man,” the way you would treat him would be different if you had called him “a mentally challenged person.” In the same vein, your mental reaction to someone you call a “cripple” would be different from one whom you call “physically challenged.” When you describe someone as crippled or disabled, you treat the person with pity or disdain because you believe the person is not as good as you are; but if you describe the person as “physically challenged,” you show empathy and treat the person like yourself.

Words have force. They help to show our attitude and feelings towards people or things. They affect our response to people or things. Three people may visit someone’s residence with each describing it as “house,” “edifice,” and “shack.” These three words describe a building, but they also depict each person’s feelings towards the building.

For those who think that it does not matter whether black or white is used to describe some words, can they tell us why we don’t have “whitemail” or “whitelist,” as negative? Why is a “white lie” positive? Why is “blue blood” used for royalty when no human being has blue blood? That shows that these “black” words were consciously coined by people who had no regard for the Black race. Now that we live in a world of rights and respect for all races, they should be marked as racist words in the dictionary, and not allowed to be used anymore in sane speeches or writings.

The danger in the continued use of these racist words and concepts is that they help to form the attitude of other races against people of the Black race. Therefore, just as “negro” and “nigger” were rebelled against, these “black” words need to be discontinued.

It is sad that Blacks have adopted these words and assimilated them as normal. It is unfortunate that Black artists and publishers have also accepted the colour of the devil as black. Interestingly, I have seen a film in which the devil and the angels were all white. The film still passed its message. My point is that if the devil is made black, then let other Bible characters be made black too; if brown, let others be brown; and if white, let all of them be white.

In the same manner, Blacks must desist from using black for mourning. I remember that during the burial of our mother, we used white for the mourning. I have seen some people use white too. The practice used to be that for celebratory events like wedding, baptism, confirmation, and Holy Communion, Christians were advised to wear white, but for burial, it was black. Happily, many people are resisting that racist undertone. Death is not black; it has nothing to do with black. When people die, they don’t turn black. When people are sad, they don’t turn black. When people are angry or wicked, their heart does not turn black. Only those who have smoked for long may have darkened lungs and hearts.

Therefore, we must not allow, or help to promote, this racial profiling, no matter how subtle or unintended it may appear. William Shakespeare said that a rose will smell nice, no matter the name it is called. So, mourning will still be gloomy if we choose red or grey for it. People who are bereaved will not start jubilating because they are not wearing black. Lucifer will still be the devil if he was painted red or grey. Black is not evil. Black is just a colour among other colours. And it is the colour of a people.

To promote world peace and equality, let us consciously remove all vestiges of discrimination in the world, no matter how subtle.

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