‘People of colour’?

Two recurring news headlines in 2020 were:

[] the rainbow displayed in many windows in honour of the heroes who worked in hospitals during the pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, and

[] ‘Black Lives Matter‘ was displayed on banners held high in protest against underlying prejudice in Western society towards ‘people of colour’, many of whom feel that the enslaving of their African ancestors has never been fully acknowledged in humble repentance by us privileged folk with pale colour.

Throughout my long life, even from childhood, I have never had even a smidgen of colour prejudice. As the saying goes, I’ve truly been colour blind. In fact, my favourite stories during infancy concerned a character called ‘Little Black Sambo’ – a title that was later outlawed in the twenty-first century. I used to wish that he was sitting in the next desk to mine as my pal.

‘One of God’s beautiful colours’

Teenager Karen always dressed in black, even before the Goth style became fashionable. One day I asked her, ‘Why, when God created such a range of beautiful colours, do you always wear “funeral black”?’ She replied, ‘Because, Hugh, black is one of God’s beautiful colours.’ I simply admitted, ‘There’s no answer to that.’

However, there really is a simple scientific answer to that: black is, in fact, the total absence of all colours. In contrast, white is the combination of all the colours of the rainbow. Surely you have noticed that no rainbow has ever included either black or white?

‘The Ethiopian’s skin’

But, of course, the social issue is not about the science of the colour spectrum but concerns racial ‘white supremacy’, social privilege, and wholesale exploitation.

Before the advent of Jesus people of colour were considered inferior to God’s chosen people. Consider the following Old Testament verses that hint that this was the commonly held belief:

[] Numbers 12:1 tells us how Moses’ two adult siblings reacted negatively to his choice of wife. ‘While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticised Moses because he had married a Cushite woman’ (New Living Translation, unless otherwise indicated). Cush, in the southern Nile Valley of Africa, is known today as Somalia.

[] In Jeremiah 13:23 the prophet asks, ‘Can an Ethiopian [margin, ‘Cushite’] change the colour of his skin?’

[] In Song of Songs 1:5-6 the village lass who had been kidnapped into Solomon’s harem complains of her sunburnt complexion: ‘I am dark but beautiful … Don’t stare at me because I am dark – the sun has darkened my skin. My brothers … forced me to care for their vineyards, so I couldn’t care for myself – my own vineyard.’

These few verses from the New Testament offer people of colour a gospel welcome into the church community:

[] Acts 8:26-39 tells the Christian testimony of ‘the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under … the queen of Ethiopia. A massive change had taken place through the work of Christ in his death and resurrection. Paul spelled it out in his letter to the Galatians:

[] ‘ … you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. … There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (see Galatians 3:26-29). And as we sang heartily in Sunday school when I was a child;

‘Red and yellow, black and white,

All are precious in his sight,

Jesus loves the little children of the world.’

Amen. Hallelujah!

This entry was posted in Fellowship in Christ. Bookmark the permalink.