Many Black Americans point to Canaan’s curse to understand centuries upon centuries of degradation.
The story behind this belief has a long history - one deeply entwined with the history of slavery and racism in the United States.
According to many religious texts, Noah’s son Ham offended Noah. Ham’s exact transgression is debated by many, but the result? Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and his descendants.
It’s often referred to as the “Curse of Ham.”
Historian Benjamin Braude adds context: “Before the 16th or 17th century when slavery came to the Americas, the racial interpretation of Ham is absent.” But since then, the interpretation of Ham and his cursed descendants as Black has been widespread.
One of the most notable elements of the story, however, is God’s silence. GOD did not curse Canaan, Ham’s son. A drunken and emotional NOAH did! Which leads to another critical point.
Noah, too, was a guilty party. In his drunken stupor, he was far from innocent.
Bottom line: the curse of Ham is a flimsy excuse to justify the oppression of our people. God loves us, and our people WILL rise, overcome, and achieve liberation through collective struggle!
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