Why Do We Care If Jesus Was Black?

Mashaun D. Simon, The Grio, December 25, 2011

Was Jesus black?

It is the age old question that has generated years and years of debate. But according to most scholars, the answer is not a difficult one.

“Jesus was definitely a person of color,” said Rev. Dr. Mark A. Lomax, pastor of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Lithonia, GA.

The question has been discussed for centuries. And it prompts another debate: Why does Jesus’ race matter?

According to Lomax, who is also an Associate Professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center, there is no historical matter that gives a clue of Jesus’ phenotype.

“But one thing that is known for sure, Jesus was not European. His people came from Egypt. Egyptians are dark skinned,” he said.


It cannot be argued that these people were African, said Reverend Derrick Rice, founding pastor of Sankofa United Church of Christ in Atlanta, GA.

“As contrite as this statement has become, we have arrived at a point where anthropological evidence shows these people were definitely African,” Rice said.

He references John’s description of Jesus in Revelations as substantial support to the argument of Jesus’ race.

“We have been conditioned to water it down. But you get these descriptions of wooly hair and feet of brass,” he said. “It might not hold up to scholarship, but what John dreamt was clear. You must wrestle with that.”

The debate over Jesus’ race dates back to the late 60s, around the civil rights movement, according to Lomax. He said individuals like James Cone and other liberation theology architects began a “Jesus is black” push, but they were not referring to his phenotype.

“They were suggesting that Jesus is where black people are,” he said. “Cone, former AMEchurch Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, and Marcus Garvey began asking ‘where is our black God?’ when whites were saying their God is white and Asians were saying their God is yellow.”


But should we care? Should it matter what Jesus’ racial identity was?

The experts say yes.

Lomax suggests knowing Jesus’ race helps all of us, not just members of the black community. Possessing this truth, he believes, allows the black community the freedom to see that their skin color is not an issue for God.

“So why is it for us?” he asked.

Rice said he cannot “hate on those” who don’t think it’s important, but thinks we all should.


Vincent L. Wimbush, professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University and director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures, suggests something more. He thinks it is important, but also believes the focus should be shifted.

“Sometimes without knowing it, we project our own collective selves on a figure, whether it is a religious deity or even a heroic figure,” he said. “Projection has always been a part of human history.”

For the sake of peace, he said, it is important for us to understand what we are doing. Projection and mirroring is perfectly okay and psychologically healthy, he argues.

“If something is more like you then you feel better about yourself,” he said. “The problem would be when one community’s image is forced upon every other community.”

As is the case of Jesus’ racial identity.


Lomax believes the truth is simple.

“Jesus was minimally a person of color,” he said. “That’s just the reality.”


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  • Anonymous

    Fools. This is Jesus: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/jesus.jpg

    Warner Sallman knew who he was painting.

  • Lance

    Yes, Jesus was black. Along with Hannibal, the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Israelites, and Beethoven. I’m so proud to have such a great race with not only such current great intellectual presence in our communities but also with such great past accomplishments as well. Articles like this continue to reaffirm my non-biased liberal mind of both their past and present importance.

  • Anonymous

    Why do blacks care what color was Jesus? Because everything is about color to them – they have race consciousness ad absurdum. Like the notion of “class” to the Marxists, there isn’t a single issue of more than individual interest into which they can’t or won’t inject some theme of race.

  • Conrad

    Jesus is clearly not a Northwestern European. The real question might be, did Jesus ever truly exist. See here, http://www.truthbeknown.com/

    In this current age making Jesus a non-white is just a means of supporting white genocide. That area of the world was the crossroads of the nations, Jesus could have been anything, if he even existed.

    Be loyal to your race first & foremost. Don’t get all tripped up in the Quaker Disease. See Wilderness Empire by Allen W. Eckert.

  • je suis paganisme

    All of this is absurd:

    1) Egyptians were not universally black (some were, including some minor Pharaohs, but not the most important and intelligent people);

    2) the Revelation of John says that, in the vision, Jesus’ hair was “white as wool,” not “wooly.” I suppose if he had said, “white as snow” that these blockheads would be saying that Jesus was a snowman?

    But, as a moral pagan, I must point out that all of this shows how easily, and seemingly without a fight, Christianity can be co-opted by “the least of these.”

    Indeed, Christianity caters to the least capable, the least intellectual, the least imaginative, the least feisty, the least romantic. It is a fall-back position for the un-achievers, and actually consoles them for being such; blesses them for being such, and offers eternal rewards for being such.

    Europeans need a religion of us, by us, and for us. I find the seeds of this in rigorous, moral paganism. Even C.S. Lewis felt the romantic ethos of European paganism when he read the words, “Balder is dead; Balder the beautiful is dead!”

    Besides, Jesus (as portrayed in the gospels) never existed.

  • Vlad The Emailer

    No, I don’t think Jesus was black and here’s why. Of course I could be wrong.I believe in the Garden of Eden Cain, brother of Abel, and son of Adam and Eve, killed his brother Abel. And God was displeased with Cain and cursed him and his desecends with black skin. It is a fact all blacks have usually had a hard life with slavery, generally low intelligence, etc. I guess I’m citing something I believe is in the bible, or certain versions of it. But I’m not sure. But that is what I believe, and I’m pretty sure others believe the same thing.

  • Mike H.

    So a divine being couldn’t ignore genetics if he so chose?

    Unless you have Jesus on hand to tell you otherwise, he’s whatever color you think he is.

  • Robert Binion

    If black, wouldn’t Jesus at Cana have changed the water to Hennessy?

  • Vlad The Emailer

    An additional thought: I believe Christ was a white Jew and Jews are God’s chosen people. Einsien, the smartest man who ever lived was a Jew. The men who created the atomic bomb, like Teller, were largely Jews. Meyer Lansky, the math genius, although a mobster was a Jew. Many, if not most of the richest and most successful people have been Jews. It’s a matter of record. Yes there have been some successful blacks, but none have ever achieved what so many, and successful Jews have achieved. Jews always top I.Q. tests, even besting Asians. It’s simply a fact.

  • ice

    “But one thing that is known for sure, Jesus was not European. His people came from Egypt. Egyptians are dark skinned,” he said.

    Indo-Europeans inundated the entire Mediterranean area and beyond for thousands of years, and there existed also Semites and Arabs as well, but the majority of the population in Egypt

    during the early and mid dynasty era were Indo-Europeans.

    There is so much evidence verifying that to claim otherwise is nonsense. For example, King Tut, the pharoah these afro-centrist blacks like to claim is black, was DNA tested as having DNA in common with 70% of Brits and 50% of other Europeans.



    Queen Nefertiti http://tinyurl.com/3d48j6x

    Ra-nofer, High Priest http://tinyurl.com/3au6cue

    Blacks were restricted to the southern Nile Valley in what is now Sudan, and Ethiopa and points south. The ones in Egypt during the dynasty era were marched there as slaves after being defeated many times by the Egyptians. Multiculturalism bred the mostly white population to the tan or brown look it has today. In its final years Egypt had high officials who were mulatto with a pharoah or two, but it was at a time when it was in serious decline with its glory days far behind.

    These afrocentrists are grasping at straws trying to co-opt a history that isn’t theirs, because they haven’t any real accomplishments they can truthfully lay claim to, so, very simply, they’re stealing someone else’s.

    Historian Mary Lefkowitz, in her essay, Not Out of Africa, describes academics who sit and listen to afro-centrist speeches without bringing up the blatant lies connected to it or challenging the speaker in any way although they all know it is pure nonsense. It’s as if they are induging a child whose feelings can’t be hurt by revealing his pretentions and lies, so they quietly listen.

    The entire claim by these black charlatans about Egypt, Greece, Africa, and their roles in the histories of those countries, is really amazing, mostly because it reveals a truly moronic attempt that is so far-fetched and illogical only a fool would try to pass it off as the truth.


    Too, on another note, the group I.Q. average of Sudan is 72 and its neighbor, Ethiopia, is 63, and there’s no reason to believe the ancient inhabitants of either area were any smarter. (I.Q. and Wealth of Nations) I’ve asked myself how these Afro-centrists can expect to be believed on that basis alone. Are we to believe people who are mentally retarded built the pyramids?

  • Mike Harrigan

    “Jesus was definitely a person of color,” said Rev. Dr. Mark A. Lomax, pastor of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Lithonia, GA.

    Doesn’t that phrase just annoy the hell out of you? We are ALL people of color. White people are not really White and black people are not really black. We all have a color. But the context that this phrase is always used in is to be exclusionary of White people. I wonder how blacks would like it if a phrase was coined that represented all the worlds peoples, except for black people?

    On the subject matter, I would say the only way to be 100% sure of the racial makeup of Christ, would be to do dna testing. And since no one knows where his body is, if it even exists, then the answer will remain unknown, maybe forever. If a black reverend wants to tell his congregation that Jesus was black, who really cares? blacks will just accept this and not require any proof. Just like in any number of other topics. Regardless they probably couldnt care less right now. Air Jordans are now in the stores.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Notice the not-so-subtle “bait and switch” in this article. The headline reads “Why Do We Care If Jesus Was Black?” (Apparently, anyone who believes that Jesus was white is petty and shallow).

    Then it quotes several black preachers who insist that Jesus was indeed black (Hispanics, who probably outnumber black Christians, may not be happy to hear this either, but they are ignored in this article). Notice that no alternative viewpoints are given.

    Finally, we’re told that it’s important for all of us to believe this “truth” because “it allows the black community the freedom to see that their skin color is not an issue for God.”

    In other words, it should not matter to whites what skin color Jesus was, but it should matter very much to blacks.

    Bait and switch.

  • Jesus probably was an Arab.  He probably had brown skin, brown eyes, and black, curly hair.   He may have even been black.   There’s nothing even remotely offensive in that.  What’s offensive and racist is the presumption that all Christian, especially white Christians have a problem with that.   

    It’s just another overplayed “When did you stop beating your wife.” leftist racist strawman technique.  They run around saying that Jesus was black and that it drives conservative crazy when it is said even though they can’t demonstrate anywhere that the average, white Christian cares if Jesus was black or not.  We’re all just supposed to assume the bigotry is there.  That’s how all the leftist argumentation works.   Your a bad person because of what they claim you believe, and there is no way to prove differently. 

    • BJ

      No, He was not an Arab nor black with “brown skin, brown eyes, and curly black hair”…..Read your Bible ACCURATELY from beginning to end.  I find all LIES offensive and saying He was not White is really offensive. Were the Hebrews black or brown with brown eyes also?  Hardly. Maybe “tan” from the desert sun. But having blue eyes is a fact.

      Of course, your “average” White Christian as you say, could care less if Jesus was black or White…says alot about your “average” White Christian, doesn’t it?  They aren’t interested in the truths of the Bible to begin with, only in what “tickles their PC ears”…so what is new under the sun?

  • Anonymous

    Jesus’ ancestor King David is described in the Bible as ruddy.  Jews were white Mediterraneans.  It is blasphemous to make Jesus black.

  • John Liu

    Well it is obvious that Jesus would have been someone who most amrenners would have difficulty accepting as an immigrant today. Whether he was black or not is unclear. But Iwould say he was definitely not white.

    And I’m sure Amrenners would have a hard time placing their hand on their heart and swearing that they are 100 percent sure that he was.

    • David Ashton

      You think he COULD have been “black” – and accepted as a leader by his fellow-Galileans? According to Ethelbert Stauffer the people in Palestine at that time as likely as not had blue eyes. He was addressed as “son of David” who had fair hair. Jews subsequently claimed that his real father was a Roman centurion.

  • Anonymous



    Jesus never existed.  The
    New Testament is mythology.  See:  jesusneverexisted.com


    But if he did, the Bible itself states that he was a “Jew”,
    descendant of Abraham.  The New Testament
    is based on the Old Testament.


               The OT was
    written by various scribes at a much later time than claimed. It is a rehash of
    Middle Eastern and African myths that were amalgamated by the scribes and
    projected back in time. The documentary hypothesis showed that there were 4
    different authors, “J,” “P,” “E,” and
    “D”,  who wrote the Old


               Abraham was
    from the Ur of
    the Chaldees and the Chaldeans were negroid (–Sir Godfrey Higgins).    “The discovery was very disconcerting to
    literary historians and philologists for that race proved to be…not a branch of
    the civilizing Aryans, nor of the gifted Semites but a Negro people……”
    (H.G. Spearing, The Childhood of Art, p. 255, 1922)

    (anglicized to Moses) was raised by the Pharaoh`s daughter as her own, i.e. an
    Egyptian.  Egypt
    is in Africa. 
    The Egyptians, as is apparent from their own writings, their thick
    lipped black statues and paintings and a skull analysis of their mummies, were
    negroid.   The writing of Herodotus and
    Massey confirm this fact.  Therefore
    Moshe, who was not detected as a stranger by anybody for decades and looked
    just like an Egyptian (Exodus 2:16-2:21), must have looked just like that other
    Egyptian blacks, a fact apparent from a careful reading of the Torah (OT).


               The Torah
    (OT) has an Egyptian setting.  It is
    obvious from reading the Torah (OT) itself that its stories are about black
    people.  Its characters, people and
    places have African names.  It is replete
    with African (especially Egyptian) myths and rituals (such as
    circumcision).   The scribes and their
    tribe, the early Hebrews/Jews, were thus very familiar with African myths, so
    were probably African, and therefore black.


               For eg.


               Song of
    Songs 5:11  ” His hair is curly –
    black like a raven.”

               Job 30:30
    :  “my skin is black”

               Song of Solomon
    1:5:  “I am black but comely.”

               Song of
    Solomon 1:6:  “… I am black….”

    13:31 and 13:37:  “black hair…”


    See:  The Moses
    Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People, by Gary Greenberg.  Also ” the Christian Savior was a black
    man, or at least a dark man”, in “16 crucified saviors”, by
    Kersey Graves.  Also:  “Was Jesus Christ a Negro?” a book
    by Jackson, a white scholar who wrote extensively about the historicity of



    So, Jesus, if he existed, was a black man and Christianity
    is an African/Middle Eastern import imposed on White Europeans by the tyrant
    Constantine who killed his own family members.   We Caucasians do not like to admit this–it
    is called denial.