Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Black Nationalism is Still Nationalism

There has been quite a bit of controversy recently over the statements of Obama’s pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright has, among other things, said that blacks should not sing “God bless America” but rather “God damn America,” has referred to the U.S. as the “U.S. of KKK-A,” has said that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus as a genocidal weapon against blacks. When questioned about his religious beliefs on the Hannity and Colmes television program, Wright responded by indignantly asking Sean Hannity how many books by James Cone Hannity had read. To which the honest response would have been: who is James Cone?

James Cone, it turns out, is one of the leading intellectual lights of black liberation theology, which Wright claims as the basis for his church’s doctrines. He is also apparently the author of such charming statements as the following:

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community … Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

It would be difficult to find a clearer statement of the nationalist urge to subjugate God to the interests of a particular ethnic or cultural group. Whatever one thinks of the merits of Wright’s criticisms of America (and on at least some points, such as his repeated condemnation of the Hiroshima bombing, I am in substantial agreement), they are not expressions of anti-nationalism, but of a different nationalism that is no less pernicious for being associated with a historically persecuted group.


April 4, 2008 - Posted by | Nationalism, Race


  1. I think I can where Mr. Cone is going. We as a black community were told that it was the will of god that we were enslaved. That god himself wants the black community to submit to the slave master. These are the things that were taught in churches on ALL slave plantations. What he is saying is that we shouldn’t continue to keep ourselves subjected to an “idea” of a god that according to the white man at that time wished to see us enslaved to another man.

    So I ask you, how does any of this differ? It seems that god is being subjugated by other groups or cultures as well. This can be notably seen in the fact that god and Jesus are ALWAYS portrayed as a white person. And in fact when any other race attempts to put god or Jesus in a light in which they are now in his image they are unjustly ridiculed and harassed.

    It seems that god has already been hijacked and now that someone else seems to wish to do some hijacking of his own the finger pointing inevitably begins. People should take a close look in the mirror before pointing that finger outward. Or at least admit to the hypocrisy of all the finger pointing.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comment. When I showed this passage to some white liberal friends, they insisted that when Cone said “black” what he meant he to refer to people who were poor and dispossessed, regardless of skin color, and that when he said “white” what he was referring not to white people, but to the U.S. government. Or something like that. I take it you don’t see it that way?

    It isn’t really accurate to say that Jesus is “always” portrayed as a white person. Images of Jesus tend to be quite different depending on the culture in which they are made, as can be seen in the different images of Jesus here:

    I don’t have a problem with Jesus being portrayed as being a black man, or any other race for that matter. It’s when one says that God must favor a given ethnic group and oppose another (as Cone does in the quote above) that things start to go wrong.

    Comment by Blackadder | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. No I believe it that way. Also, I am talking in America for the portrayals of god/Jesus. In majority of churches whether they be black, white, Asian or Hispanic the bibles and stained glass usually portrays white figures. I don’t have a problem with god or Jesus being portrayed by any race as we are ALL supposedly made in gods image. So I am guessing that he will look to us the way we feel he should look.

    But a bunch of people really got bent out of shape when a rapper portrayed Jesus as black. They actually said it was preposterous. I just don’t feel that god should be getting hijacked for any races purpose. Do your own bidding and let god remain divine. Also, I am not a Christian or anything close. But I do a lot of thinking and reading on the matters affecting people and religion.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Oops. Sorry I meant that no I don’t see it the way your liberal friends do.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. If you’re talking about the Kanye West Rolling Stone cover, I think what got people upset was not that he portrayed Jesus as black, but that he portrayed himself as Jesus. I haven’t been to a lot of predominantly Asian or black churches, but I did used to go to a predominantly hispanic church, and in that church I’m pretty sure any pictures of Jesus you would have seen would not have been Anglo.

    Do you have any particular faith background? I only ask because one’s history often affects how one perceives different religious groups.

    I think the Black Sentinel is a pretty cool name, by the way.

    Comment by Blackadder | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the name compliment. I was not thinking of the Kanye West cover but I can see the point of not liking him portraying Jesus himself. It might be offensive. Yet I don’t really understand why. Also, I tend to lean more towards African tradition. I won’t go so far as to say that I am a traditional follower but I do make that my focus.


    P.S. Blackadder isn’t too slouchy.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | April 6, 2008 | Reply

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