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The Reason Why Only White Jesus Saves

August 27, 2014

After I wrote my article on the ideal of being White and Delightsome, one of my friends shared it on her wall, and one of her friends wrote the following:

Praise White Jesus!

To which I replied

White Jesus saves.

A Jesus of any other ethnicity probably would get himself killed by the powers that be. Oops

Obviously, there are many reasons why the portrayal of Jesus as a white guy is problematic — and not because he was killed by the powers that be. However, this Medium article: Face it, blacks. Michael Brown let you down got me thinking about the popular racialization of Jesus, particularly with its subtitle: “So instead, can someone just shoot Jesus Christ already?” and a particular paragraph:

From the article:

So maybe what all of these terrified racists need is someone that, no matter how hard they try, cannot be dehumanized. Someone beyond human. Someone Christlike.

Someone that can save them from themselves, and wash their souls of fear and hate and judgement. Someone that can bring them into the light of humanity and love and logic.

Maybe what we need is a 5’8, light-skinned, Harvard-bound, star tennis player/violinist/poet that volunteers at the local pet shelter, bakes amazing blueberry muffins, speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent, has a white name, who has never taken a photo with anything other than a thumbs up and a smile, and just recently published a groundbreaking cure for cancer in Science.

And we need him to die. Someone needs to find this boy, and kill him in public. It’s our only hope.

Just this past week, someone extremely near and dear to me employed a #NoAngel argument on me, as he was watching Mike Brown’s funeral on TV. He couldn’t actually name Brown (instead, he just referred to him as the “Ferguson guy that died”), but he started the conversation over a FB chat by talking about how he was watching the funeral (of the Ferguson guy that died)…and how “family [was] talking about how wonderful he was…and how he wanted to go to college.”

At this point in the conversation, I actually believed I could see the future, but like Cassandra, no one would believe it (not even me!). I feared the worst. I feared what he would say next. I hoped that he wouldn’t say it, but then came:

And [I was] just like…He robbed a store. He wasn’t a [expletive removed] saint.

I told him I was definitely not having the conversation. He continued, “He wanted to start shit with the police.” 

I reiterated I was definitely NOT having this conversation. He continued, “But how the police dealt with it wasn’t good.”

#NoAngel was an argument predicted by a comic panel also posted by Medium.

News reporter:

Except I guess I wouldn’t say predicted since really, this just keeps happening over and over.

I didn’t want to argue, and I didn’t. I thought about sending a link to FiveThirtyEight post There are Millions of Michael Browns in America. I thought about sending him the link to the Face it, blacks article. But I really didn’t want to go there. So instead I’m taking probably the most passive aggressive option of all time and writing a blog post here.

I don’t want to go into it, and even though I write these articles and leave the comments open, I do not really respond to disagreements or challenge. I am not going to argue on this issue. I’m just going to throw my points out and like and share articles from authors who have stated things more eloquently.

And I have to say that for how hyperbolic the title of the Medium post I linked up top is, it feels spot on to me.

And when someone shared that link and I read it, I had a miniature spiritual experience.

For a brief moment, I understood how Christian theology makes sense…if we have a white Jesus.

See, this world is profoundly full of injustice. As human beings, our nature is pretty rotten. This is “original sin” in the theological context, although even without a theological context, we can call it whatever ills that trouble us most (racism, sexism, etc.,)

The issue is we need to be shaken out of our ignorance to realize that this nature has to change. Because otherwise, we won’t do anything about the issues. At best, we’ll know we’re doing wrong, but will do it anyway. At worst, we will not even think we are doing anything wrong.

We can’t be reasoned into being awoken. Because we are so steeped in the injustice that we will rationalize it. If some black kid gets shot, it’s because he was a bad person. He was no angel. He was a thug. He was trying to start shit with cops. He was robbing stores.

We make these rationalizations regardless of confounding variables — plenty of people steal. Plenty of people are rude to cops. And yet it just so happens that the folks for whom these actions are fatal just happened to be members of marginalized groups. And yet, in our ignorance, we rationalize…it’s not about race. It’s not about injustice. It’s absolutely just and right.

Who can save us?

Only White Jesus. 

So maybe what all of these terrified racists need is someone that, no matter how hard they try, cannot be dehumanized. Someone beyond human. Someone Christlike.


Someone that can save them from themselves, and wash their souls of fear and hate and judgement. Someone that can bring them into the light of humanity and love and logic.

This essentially captures the essences of my previous two articles on being white and delightsome and avoiding the appearance of evil. If I had been thinking about it, I would have thrown in another Mormon concept: the Not Even Once Club. Because however guilt-laden and damning a standard of perfection is for children — the standard that they can’t sin, not even once — the sad fact is that there is this idea that maybe, if one simply avoided the appearance of evil…if one simply did all he could to never do wrong — not even once — he would be safe. 

But as I said in my earlier article: it was never the actions that were the evil or the appearance of evil. We cannot help but be seen as a dark, and loathsome, and filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

This is why we need white Jesus. We can’t just have sinless Jesus. We need to have sinless Jesus who is understood to appear sinless as well. 

Who am I kidding…even with a Jesus whom a billion claim to believe in worldwide (whatever his race was), we haven’t really changed much.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts. I find them very helpful in a number of ways. I am sorry that so many people are as clueless as the #NoAngel crowd.

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