The Farce is strong in this one:
To be clear, Christmas in the United States, despite the name, has very little to do with Jesus Christ and everything to do with consumerism and gift giving.
However, side by side with Easter, it’s also the time when we are most likely to see depictions of Jesus used as tools of white supremacy.
In Atlanta, I see them everywhere I go. Jesus as a blond-haired, blue-eyed baby and his blue-eyed supermodel mother are ubiquitous and done without even a slight hint of humor. It’s preposterous. It would truly be no different from depicting Christopher Columbus as a dark-skinned African or Thomas Jefferson as a long-haired Latino. People actually look a certain way.
Jesus was not a European.
Shhhh! Don’t tell Shaun that Jesus was a Jew!
Even if you believe Jesus is a myth and the Bible is a myth, please understand when mythical baby Jesus and his parents needed to hide, they didn’t flee to England, but to Egypt — where scripture suggests they blended in well. Two thousand years ago and in virtually every generation since, blending in with the everyday people of Egypt has always meant dark hair and dark features.
Choosing to depict Jesus and his mother in a way other than reality is strange at best and nefarious at worst.
Actually, the entire Mediterranean region has always been a multi-ethnic melting pot.
When the man who is deemed the central figure of a religion and indeed the savior of the entire world is consistently portrayed to look like a Scandinavian sailor when he more likely resembled a Syrian refugee, it’s being done to advance an Anglo-Saxon, white supremacist agenda.
It’s hard though to stereotype certain people from the Middle East as terrorists then call a man who looks just like someone from that region your savior. I’m pretty sure governors of 30 American states banned people who actually look like Mary and Jesus from taking refuge in their state.
Furthermore, it’s hard to put a man of color, any color, at the center of your faith while simultaneously advancing racism every chance you get.
A white, Eurocentric Jesus may be convenient for millions, but he is a lie designed to maintain the very systems of government and religious oppression that the biblical Jesus actually spoke out against. We forget he was arrested and executed by the state.
Because baby Jesus probably looked more like Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian refugee whose body washed ashore and became a symbol of the migrant crisis, than a blond-haired boy, I have a hunch that the truly ethnic Jesus would have a pretty hard time around here nowadays.
Apparently our ancestors from Northern Europe in the Middle Ages were prescient to create a white Jesus so that later generations could use that image to oppress and enslave
colored people People of Color.
Several of you have mentioned being bullied into saying “Merry Christmas” to people instead of “Happy Holidays.” Fox News is behind it, of course. The Fox News audience is so sloshed on eggnog spiked with spite and self-pity that they’ve deputized themselves as a national holiday language police squad. The irony is that the effect is so un-Christian it would make Baby Jeebus sit up in his manger and spray all three wise men with projectile vomit.
I’ve experienced this phenomenon myself this season, albeit in mild form. There’s a local grocery chain that I just adore, but I did some work for them years ago at their corporate headquarters, and they are an exceptionally conservative, Jesusy outfit (or were at the time). This year, I suspect the word has gone out to their staff that they are under no circumstances to wish customers “Happy Holidays” but instead an emphatic “Merry Christmas.” Or maybe some staff at my local branch are just freelance language policing — I honestly don’t know — but it’s noticeably different this year.
Anyhoo, most staff are perfunctory about it. But I can tell when the “Merry Christmas” is truly meant as a cultural marker rather than a sincere expression of holiday cheer. How? I’m not sure I can describe it, but there’s a malicious gleam of anticipation in the speakers’ eyes as they mouth the words, as if they are just salivating to catch you out as a fellow Christian who will respond with your own triumphant “Merry Christmas!” or as a hell-bound heathen Happy Holidayist at whom they can sneer.
At first, I wondered if I was just being paranoid about this. But an encounter at the checkout line yesterday convinced me it really is a plot. I usually just say “you too!” in response to “Merry Christmas,” but this time, I said “Merry Christmas” back. The cashier leaned in and whispered mock-confidentially, “At least it’s not illegal for us to say that. Yet!”
I wanted to rump-pah-pah-punch him in the junk. But I settled for rolling my eyes instead.
The struggle is real.
And no, that wasn’t Riverdaughter.
Happy Holy Days!