The Crusader Newspaper Group

The impact and importance of images

German Nazi politician and chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels has been reported as saying, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”

I open with this despicable illustration from this wicked personality to illustrate dangers we are facing right now in this nation. There are those in this nation who are determined to both erase the facts of history pertaining to this nation, and to create a fabricated, diluted and poisonous version of history that covers up the sins of this nation against indigenous people and people of African descent, stolen and kidnapped to these shores.

Black media mogul Tom Burrell spent 45 years in the advertising industry and, along with his business partner Emmett McBain, built the powerful Burrell Advertising. In his book “Brainwashed, Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority,” Burrell wrote, “throughout my community, we Negroes were indoctrinated with the idea that we were unable to take care of ourselves, and that we needed help and handouts from Mr. Charlie in the form of government programs…the message was clear, consistent, ubiquitous, and loud. It was subtly broadcast by white mass media, and bluntly and repeatedly by its Black recipients…”

And there is no better evidence of this fact, of telling lies over and over again until not only the people believe it, but the liar also comes to believe the lie he/she has told, than the images presented to Black people in the mass media and in far too many Black churches.

It is amazing and disturbingly sad that we continue to see images of a white, blonde, blue-eyed, straight-haired Jesus in Black churches today.

It is even more depressing to know there are people in those churches who will fight to the death anyone who not only tried to take down those images but who would dare to replace them with an image of a dark-hued Jesus, with kinky hair and a broad nose.

However, what becomes even worse is that many people who claim to be followers of this Jesus, who was born and raised on the continent of Africa and belonged to a Black African Jewish community in the Northeast African region of biblical Palestine, don’t even want to know, study and research the facts of the biblical Jesus and his geographical and cultural context. The information is clear, available and begins simply with studying the holy scriptures.

What does the bible say about the image of Jesus? Truthfully, not a whole lot, but what it does say completely obliterates the propaganda and inaccurate images that are in far too many Black churches, on their fans, in the stained-glass windows and in the minds of Black people.

Revelation 1:14, as recorded by the apostle John while exiled on the prison island of Patmos, says that, “his [Jesus’] head and his hairs were like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace…”

That right there tells us that Jesus was very dark in complexion when he walked the earth in the flesh.

Images have impact and influence.

Images are powerful tools to manipulate the minds of people. Images were and are the most potent tool of oppressors to rob the people they subjugate of their agency and will to overcome the subjugation.

Racism is only a little over 500 years old. The propaganda that would use a hierarchal structure of top-down importance, that structure uses images to promote a social pecking order of its society.

When the moving press was created 500 years ago by Europeans who then quickly pounced on the image machine to pump out pictures of personalities in the Holy scriptures as of European ancestry, it was a strategy to not only oppress other people but make the false, misleading and inaccurate claim that even God is white, and if God is white then white people must be closest to God.

The use of the King James version of the Bible also helped to confuse people with its Elizabethan English, to give the false impression that biblical figures spoke using words like “thee” and “thou.” I have examined this dangerous phenomenon before in earlier articles and therefore I will not re-litigate the wealth of resources that refute the use of white images in the bible.

I only want to close with this thought. How many of our children have been irreparably damaged in their psyches by images they first saw in church, which were then reinforced by Maybelline, Max Factor, Look magazine, People magazine, Nadinola skin bleaching cream and the many commercials that pictured life in white America as more desirable than life in Black America?

How many Black children sat in church and studied images of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Aaron, Jesus and the disciples as European white personalities and thought to themselves that if God’s son is white and all the other biblical characters are white and even the angels are white, then I must be either a mistake or God is not pleased with me?

And how many of our precious Black babies, because of these false images of biblical characters promoted by their own people, grew up feeling damaged like the tragic character Pecola in Toni Morrison’s iconic book The Bluest Eye?

Finally, what will Jesus say when some of us get to Heaven and have Him ask, “did you not take seriously My command that knowing the truth will set you free?”

Images are important because images have impact and influence.

Be free today, Beloved!

Knowing The Truth - Part I
Rev. John E. Jackson

Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary, 1276 W. 20th Ave. in Gary. “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious, Christ-centered church, committed to the community; we are unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.”

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