Can blacks be liberated from being black?

Some people have engaged in skin surgeries, seeking to change their racial outlook, considered associated with inferiority. To some people, being born black gives the impression of being in the condition of disability. Such a viewpoint is one among many fallacies, inflicting humanity, from time immemorial. A human being cannot be associated with skin colour. Neither are humans associated with racial backgrounds, limiting their individual identities to geographical origin.

There is no need for any person to assume being inferior or superior to other races. Most people judge what is right or wrong, according to one’s background. One is considered wiser, based on one’s racial or educational experience. The worst influencer of human behaviour is culture. Regarded as the most important in human identity, cultural identities are commonly rooted in human behaviour.

However, there is no truth in culture, as all humans are God’s children, expected to adopt God’s behaviour according to God’s viewpoint. Black people may be regarded as disadvantaged, but are in the same trap, as affecting those assuming advantage in being white. It is not easy to remove those caught up in such cultural deceptions. This is what caused even Simon Peter to be rebuked by Paul.

“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, ‘You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law because by observing the law no one will be justified. If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God” (Galatians 2:11-19 NIV).

The law had been assumed as making someone better or superior to those without the law. A human being is none of the assumptions depicted in human appearances. The real person who is identified in Jesus Christ cannot be associated with being a Jew, white or black. That person is none of those physical appearances but would be appropriately identified as God’s child.

No one knows what the artists who came up with the idea of a portrait, assumed to be how Jesus looked like, had in mind. But that portrait is a representation of someone’s imagination and not a true reflection of Jesus’ identity. Paul insinuated himself as being a true representation of Jesus.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:20-21 NIV).

White domination cannot be resisted as it is everywhere. Some black countries, like Zimbabwe, claim to be independent of white domination but cannot resist the attraction to white people’s conditions. This is shamefully a reality that those having fought in the liberation struggle seem to be failing to observe.  The rulers claim to have fought a bitter armed struggle, for liberating black people.

Observably, the admiration of other humans is not limited to race. There is no reason to hide the fact that those having travelled abroad are granted superior status, as well. This is why most people prefer settling abroad, to avoid being identified with their defamed countries. Degrading oneself is just as inappropriate as upgrading oneself is inappropriate. Education should never be for the purpose of upgrading, necessarily. Power is automatic when serving other people.

False categorization is what drives those involved in criminal activities when obtaining undeserved power. The term “Honorable Member of Parliament” commonly invites respect wherever one goes. Christians cannot be caught up in that fallacy, as they would be conscious of that behaviour to be not representing a person’s true character.

“My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘Have a seat hear, please,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘stand there,’ or, ‘sit at my feet,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-5 NIV). 

Nothing is normal when judging people according to their appearance, representing how positions of authority are determined. If well-groomed, one is regarded highly. However, if not properly groomed, one is relegated to an inferior position. The first-time appearance of an individual is commonly sufficient to assume a place in his class. Others are regarded by class, and according to appearance, even without communication. However, James describes that condition as making judgments with evil thoughts.

This includes making judgments according to skin colour. In Zimbabwe, the white skin colour is granted reverence, even when such a white person would be a criminal. One can be more qualified than a white person, but the white person will always be considered better and more trustworthy.

Some people hide behind labelling the whites as racists when failing to take control of the environment. This is what has caused the whites to be considered superior. Good skill is commonly associated with whites. I suppose this explains the reason why even a country’s Reserve Bank governor, cannot be bothered by adopting US dollar currency, ahead of the national currency. The US$ would be largely provided by the Diaspora remittances.

Those voicing their criticism of such blatant failures are commonly declared puppets of the West. This leads to blacks being devalued internationally. Out of succumbing, black people appear also agreeable to that judgment. While James highlights this being the distinction, manifesting judgment with evil thoughts, it is a question of how to avoid such a mindset.

This viewpoint reflects the mindset of the wicked people, comparing one class of humanity as more important than the other. However, all humans are as good as God is good. The background of an individual cannot be a good reason to be judged negatively. Unfortunately, what most black people seem to be unconscious of, in this world, is that whatever one fears most, rules over that person.  In other words, natural laws serve to determine that whatever is feared most rules over those gripped with whatever would be feared most.

 “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of the dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him no. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed.  “We are like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:2-5 NIV).

Isaiah’s prophecy is projecting human behaviour as affecting those of us today. But the topic depicts a man of sorrows who became Jesus; having died on the cross for us all. Jesus was, and cannot be selective, in terms of who gets called to become a Christian. This is notwithstanding that Christians remain with the propensity to make judgments according to race or class among humans.

It cannot be deniable that a properly groomed person is preferred ahead of the one who is not groomed. The consideration of promoting the groomed person, in terms of determining who should be accorded respect is what is considered to be wrong. A well-groomed person does not need respect but carries a responsibility to effect change on improperly groomed individuals.

The same applies to highly educated people, whose education should have an impact on uneducated people. Grading people according to class, race or educational background, is unacceptable, as far as Christianity is concerned.

This comes from the datum that a human being was created in God’s image. It is, therefore, foolhardy to be assuming being better than other people, racially or educationally. Knowledge bestows more responsibility and servitude, to the uneducated in one’s surroundings.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

The above passage cannot be applicable to ordinary people of this world, which advocates the opposite of what this presentation suggests. Jesus was talking about a completely different approach to dealing with humanity in general. Jesus’ teaching suggests that a privileged person carries the responsibility to serve the less privileged people.

The idea of categorizing people, according to class, can never be applicable in Christianity. Achieving what none of one’s peers would have achieved, bestows the same achiever with the responsibility to serve others. But, this world has not produced anyone, who has achieved greater knowledge than that of Jesus.

Jesus gracefully accepted the degradation, when taking up the place of a notorious criminal, in the mould of Barabbas. According to the human evaluation, Barabbas could not have been better than Jesus. This suggests that there was a miscarriage of justice, where a valuable person, was sacrificed to save a notorious criminal.

But this is what portrayed the perfect standard of Christianity. The fact that it does not make sense to ordinary humanity does not mean it is untrue. Jesus plotted the pathway for humanity to follow. This cannot be assumed to be an easy road but represents the only way to life. The hopeless condition of remaining in what appears right when it is wrong is deceptive. There is no question about the idea of categorizing people according to race or class. The generality of humanity in this world considers human categorization as normal.

I would like to pose a question: Which of the two personalities requires liberation? The one who is constantly degraded, because of his racial outlook, or the one who degrades other humans, according to their racial background? This grants some homework for the reader to digest.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but leading towards destruction” (Proverbs 16:25).

Prophet Isaiah said all have gone astray, needing correction. Hence, the prophecy indicates that there cannot be any other way for correction, except by applying Jesus’ condition. What seems most difficult, though, is convincing humanity to see the light, when groping in darkness. However, blacks are not the only ones in need of liberation from bondage.

The entire humanity remains in need of liberation. But those assumed to be superior to other people are more in need of liberation; than those spotted in the condition of degradation. It remains unnecessary for black people to even consider the condition of skin colour as disadvantageous.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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