Why Were We Taught That Jesus Was White?

“[The] white man has taught you and me to worship a white Jesus, and to shout and sing and pray to … the white man's God.” – Malcolm X. Does it matter what color Jesus was? And if not, why have white people insisted for centuries, despite all available evidence, that Jesus was white?

Why Were We Taught That Jesus Was White?
Via Wikimedia Commons

What did Jesus look like? The image is often the same: white, brown haired, bearded, sometimes even blue eyed. But where did this image come from? Because it’s clearly not the truth.

The story of Jesus is set in the Middle East in what is now Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria. The Bible doesn’t describe his appearance, but Judas had to point him out to soldiers because he was an average-looking guy (Matthew 26:47-56).

What did an average, Jewish, Middle Eastern carpenter back then look like?

A scientific study in 2002 used skulls and historical data to reconstruct an average man in that area then: brown skin, brown eyes, and curly hair. Like many Middle Eastern people today.

And that’s not all.

Before whites took control of Christianity, many paintings were created depicting Jesus that show him with brown skin and short hair.

It makes sense; most religious people consider themselves “in the image of God,” and thus create images of God that look like them.

But when white Jesus was used to oppress us and argue we’re NOT created in the image of God, then there’s a problem! We’ll never truly know what Jesus looked like. But we do know this: ALL human beings are children of God!

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