Once again I am reminded how accurate the Native American Indians were when they referenced their dealings with the people who represented the government. The Indians would repeatedly state, “You speak with forked tongue.”
The other day a column appeared in a local paper and a number of persons were stating that whether Santa Claus was Black or not was irrelevant. Allow me to provide you with some examples that had an overwhelming affect on our lives as Black people.
At one time to work in all of the following positions you had to be White: firemen, policemen, meter readers for water, gas and electric, department store clerks and truck drivers, sales persons, school system teachers and janitors. Entrance was reserved for Whites only at swimming pools, skating rinks, dance halls (particularly in the amusement parks), hotels and restaurants. Even hospitals discriminated, and Blacks could not buy certain automobiles and were not admitted to colleges and universities across this nation. There were Whites only sections in cemeteries and Blacks were denied insurance and mortgages. Those of our ancestors to survive these kinds of atrocities and still believed they were first class Americans and were able to pass this strength on to their offspring are truly giants.
Hollywood movies were overwhelming contributors to the negative images of Black Americans. Stepin Fetchit to most of America symbolized Black men. In World War II there was an historic and famous all-Black trucking company called the Red Ball Express. When Hollywood made the picture the truckers were all White. A White actor portrayed Hannibal in the movie.
The bible clearly states that Jesus was born in Jerusalem and every person was a person of color, but once again Jesus was presented to the world as white skinned, blond hair and blue eyes. If you look at artists’ portraits of the 12 disciples overwhelmingly they were all White, but on an occasion you will see a portrait with 11 White men and one Black and he would be Judas, the one who betrayed Christ.
If you ride by my home during the Christmas season you will see a four-foot high Santa Claus who is Black as can be. I bought this Santa Claus in 1971 and painted it Black and every year it sits on my front lawn.
To those of you who preach color is irrelevant, once again you speak with fork tongues.
Don’t forget to support the Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)
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