Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thick Lips, Big Nose Jesus

by Julius Kane

Have you ever visited a white church and seen a picture of a Black Jesus hanging in their pulpit? No, but I bet you’ve been to several Black churches that had one or more pictures of white Jesus in the pulpit. In fact, white Jesus is on the church bulletins, bibles, fans and key chains. He’s everywhere. But most importantly that picture is hanging inside their brain. Now, your mama or somebody is gone tell you it doesn’t matter what color Jesus was. Fine, tell her to let you hang a picture of Black Jesus in place of the one she’s got. I bet she’d be ready to slap the devil out of you. That would be simply unheard of. After all, what would the neighbor’s think? Some Black churches are outright scared to put up a picture of a Black Jesus because some white folks might walk pass and see it.

The first image of Black Jesus most of us ever saw was on the television show ‘Good Times;’ “big nose” J.J. had painted a portrait and replaced his mama’s picture of white Jesus with one who looked more like “Ned the Wine-o.” And as soon as he did good things began to happen to the Evans family. James hit the number, Wylona got a date, even little Michael got paid. But what happened? Florida got scared of all the blessings and demanded the picture be taken down. She said the only Jesus she ever knew had blue eyes and blond hair.

You see, she had been psychologically programmed to think inside the box and became fearful when other ideas were introduced into her environment. And she was determined to pass that psychological fear onto her children.

The question you have to ask yourself is; why can’t your God look like you? Who is it exactly that wants your God to look like anybody else but you; and why? It’s a legitimate question isn’t it? Think about Black Santa Claus. Black Santa only became popular in the last 20 years. It was only after Black parents realized since they themselves were actually putting presents under the tree, Santa Claus couldn’t look like anybody else but them. Fear and a blind loyal tradition kept them away from reasonable deduction. Its irrelevant weather Santa, or Jesus for that matter existed or not because the image in Black children’s minds was one of a white man bringing them gifts and being in charge of the most important day of the year.

Still, they look for white Jesus to save them. And white Jesus begins to resemble the face of every white person they pass on the street. Before long you find yourself subconsciously turning the other cheek. The main idea; if Jesus is white his father is white, right? To the slave whom this image was given to hundreds of years before you got it, the master was God; he controlled food, shelter, life and death. The slave master knew the importance of symbolism. Symbolism is very essential to the conscious as well as to the subconscious mind. Symbols come with rules; with likes and dislikes. Symbolism affects all of us from deep within.

Don’t pretend you don’t get a little pissed-off when you see somebody with a confederate flag on their car. I sure as hell do. But think about the American flag, the statue of liberty, the money in your pockets, the black fist, and the afro; these symbols speak without saying a word. And we all know exactly what each represents; hence the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words. “ Within every culture except for ours, their God looks like them. To be ashamed of Black Jesus is to deny your own image in the mirror; your own nose and your own lips.

Think carefully about this: The image of God is controlled. Therefore anyone who serves God is controlled by the people who control that image. Who’s controlling you?

Writer and Publisher Julius Kane is the author of 'The Fruits of Sarah Bartmaan' and 5 other novels. Visit him at, and

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