We take it for granted that the only controversy regarding Jesus is whether or not he was killed by Jews or Romans; or whether the depiction of his execution by Mel Gibson is too violent for children, all the while ignoring a much larger issue, which is why does Gibson (and for that matter every other white filmmaker or artist in the history of the faith) feel the need to make Jesus white: something he surely could not have been and was not, with all due apology to Michelangelo, Constantine, Pat Robertson, and the producers of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
That the only physical descriptions of Jesus in the Bible indicate that he had feet the color of burnt brass, and hair like wool, poses a slight problem for Gibson and other followers of the white Jesus hanging in their churches, adorning their crucifixes (if Catholic), and gracing the Christmas cards they send each December.
It is the same problem posed by the anthropological evidence concerning the physical appearance of first century Jews from that part of Northern Africa we prefer to call the “Middle East” (and why is that I wonder?). Namely, Jesus did not look like a long-haired version of my Ashkenazi Jewish, Eastern European great-grandfather in his prime.
But to even bring this up is to send most white Christians (and sadly, even many of color) into fits, replete with assurances that “it doesn’t matter what Jesus looked like, it only matters what he did.”
Which is all fine and good, until you realize that indeed it must matter to them what Jesus looked like; otherwise, they wouldn’t be so averse to presenting him as the man of color he most assuredly was
From “White Whine: Reflections on the Brain-Rotting Properties of Privilege” by Tim Wise. Cursty: Newspaper Rock .