With the election of Barack Obama, the first ever black President in 2009, the United States officially became post racial.
Adut Akech, a refugee from South Sudan triumphed over the likes of Kendal Jenner and Gigi Hadid to be named model of the year 2019.
In Britain shock waves went through the Royal family and the rest of the world when Prince Harry changed the history and the bloodline of the 1,500 year British monarchy by marrying a bi racial woman.
Walt Disney which has been showing films since 1923 got it’s first black Princess a few years ago.
Tarana Burke, a black Human Rights activist from the Bronx founded the #Me too campaign leading to the begining of the end of sexual violence against women and girls and the downfall of Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein. Racism is over, and we now live in a nirvana of acceptance and racial equality. Or do we?
Racism is not over
Unfortunately we are far from a world of equality and racial acceptance. The above examples are the exception not the rule.
Anyone who has seen the followers of the MAGA campaign will see how racially divided America still is. The Jewish people are reporting higher rates of anti-semitism than ever before. There are more black man in jail than there are white even though statisfically there are fewer black people than white. You are more likely to get arrested and shot dead by Police if you are a black man. Asian-Americans are attacked and spat at for bringing the coronavirus even though many have never been to China. There are more black people and ethnic minorities with mental health issues.
Don’t Mention The N Word
African Americans like to argue that unless you have one ancester who was a slave, you have no right to use the N word. Yet despite this, The N word has become so prevalent it’s almost a term of endearment. “My n**** ” is a word you will hear all kids calling each other.
Blacks Go Back
The model of the year 2019 may be black but black models have less casting calls and are more likely to be turned away from jobs than their fellow clothes horses.
Megan Markle is a Duchess but she was hounded out of Britian with racist slurs leading to her and Prince Harry making an abrupt exist to Canada and soon the U.S.
Africa is considered as the dark continent even though the sun shines 365 days of the year.
Internationally, the U.S sends millions of dollars to Israel and recognises her right to exist and bear arms but not Palestine.
Europeans can live in the States but a border will be erected to stop the U.S’s closest neighbour by 15 miles – the Mexicans.
President Trump, stoked racial division by attacking the four Congress women of color and asking them to go back ‘home’. Only one of them was born outside the country.
Pale skinned nordic people from Norway are welcome to the States but borders will be closed to Nicaraguans, Syrians, Asians and Africans.
The Superior race.
Why are we racist? What makes one race more ‘superior’ to another when logic dictates that every man/woman was born of the female womb, naked, and helpless?
To understand racism, we need to go back 2000 years. There is no record of the first case of racism but it didn’t help that, in Medieval Christian exegesis God was said to have a race of ‘chosen people’ who were presumed to be white and that the black people were cursed for a ‘transgression’. Their skin ‘blackened’ by sin. It was called the curse of Ham.
This ‘curse of Ham’ which was not refuted by early Biblical scholars or the Torah was used in medieval Europe as justification for exploitation of African labour and slavery.
Colonialists and early Missionaries brought the Bible and a distorted racist belief of superiority and continued to Perpetuate this inferior race/superior race fable which for centuries has gone unopposed.
Come, O Thee White Saviour
Another myth which went unopposed by mainstream Christians was the white washing of Christ. Jesus Christ was depictated by early Roman artists as a blond, blue eyed white European even though he was a brown Jew, ethnically Middle Eastern.
Incidentally, Islamic Hadith refers to Jesus as being a very handsome man with long hair and dark skin.
To add to the confusion were theological claims that Jesus was made in God’s image. An image of a white Jesus who is said to be the Saviour of the entire world whom resembled the white people. There was no room for the black people except to accept their inferiority as a cursed race. This contributed to racism and to the marginalisation of black people. Even God had been made out to be a white man. Where did the black man fit in?
Racsim a wider issue
Racism is not an American or European issue, it is also pervasive in the Middle Eastern, Asia and some African countries where the white skin is equated with superiority.
Pagan Arabia was not without it’s racism, tribalism and slavery.
The Prophet and Racism
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had a wish to create an egalitarian and inclusive Islamic society where there was no existance of racism.
Discounting the wrath of the Quraish, the richest and most powerful people in Arabia, the Prophet (SAW), gave the honour and the highest rank of the Muezzin to Bilal Ibn Raba (RA), a black African former slave. The first man to stand in the minbar and call humanity to Islam was not an Arab of noble birth but a black African former slave.
The Quran on Race
“That there are in the mountains layers of white and red of various hues, and jet black; that there are various colors among human beings, wild animals, and livestock too? It is those of His servants who have knowledge who stand in true awe of Allah”. (Quran Chapter 35, verse 27-28)
“And to him belong whoever is in the heavens and the earth“.
“And of his signs is the creation of the Heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and colours“. (30 22)
“And it is He who produced you from one soul and (gave you) a dwelling and of storage”. (Surah Al-An’am 6:98)
“O mankind ! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not despise (each other). verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with (all things)“. (Surah Al-Hujurat 49)
“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them.”
The Prophet’s Last Sermon
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) warned his followers one last time about racism in the last sermon before his death in 632 AC.
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.”
Orthodox Islam prohibits racism in all its forms.
The Quran teaches that there is no race or color that is ontologically superior to another. That Allah created different colours to show off the Beauty of his creation. HE created diversity as a favour to humanity. It would be a dull world if we were all one indistinguishable color and all the animals were one color.
Whereas there are black only churches, white only churches and Filipino only churches, any Muslim of any race or color can go to any Mosque to worship including the Prophet’s own mosque.
Racism is the ugly scar on the beautiful face of humanity. The perpetuation of stereotype and negative portrayal of black people has, as we have seen been around for 2000 years and shows no sign of ending.
This Easter, let us imagine how the world and our attitudes might have changed if we were to come to the the realisation that there is only one God, who created all people. Nobody knows what HIS image is or what HE looks like. That there is no curse on any race. That Jesus was whitewashed by early European artists who had never seen him but imagined what he might have look like.
That Allah has no favourite race. That the only criteria HE judges us on are our deeds and actions.
There is no superior race. There is no inferior race. There is no white race, black race or brown race. These are just colours of people. There is only one race, the Human race.