“Black People Can’t Be Seen at Night Until They Smile” – Racist?

In a recent back and forth between Dr. James White, Vocab Malone, Urban Apologists and the Black Hebrew Israelites, the title of this article was borne out of a mess of circumstances that continue to balloon out of control. For context, here is the video where Dr. White makes that statement:

For further context, here is MuslimByChoice’s video, where he puts together the clip of the Urban Apologists referring to Dr. White as a racist for some of his recent comments, along with a clip of Dr. White, explaining his side of the drama:

Over the past week I’ve received maybe a dozen or so videos with African-American preachers, Black Hebrew Israelites and Dr. White all engaging with each other, accusing each other of being racists and in one case, I believe Dr. White claimed that the Black Hebrew Israelites are the equivalent to the KKK. That last sentence was pretty controversial. These statements led back to 2016 where he was then again accused of having a “racist diatribe” on Facebook when he commented on seeing a young African-American male having sagging pants, littering and showing the middle-finger to a passing police vehicle. Dr. White’s response drew a lot of ire from the African-American Christian community. So, where does that leave us?

The video where this post’s title came from was circulated among my Afro-American/ Canadian/ British/ Trinidadian friends. They come from all religious and non-religious backgrounds. My question to them was simple. Did that statement seem racist to you? Generally speaking, the result was inconclusive, some said they would feel uncomfortable with Dr. White, others said it was absolutely revolting, and one mentioned that it was said at the wrong place and time. So, where do I stand? Dr. White is a lot older than I am. He comes from a completely different generation than I come from. I don’t believe that Dr. White is a racist, I don’t believe he meant to say anything offensive. What I will say however is that because he is older and because he mentioned these statements on his program, a space where he’s comfortable, he said something that his generation would not deem as offensive.

I’m not saying his words can’t be offensive, all words can be offensive but in this case I think given the general heated political situation in the USA and because the Black Hebrew Israelites got involved, what was perhaps an inappropriate joke was something that was exploited. At best, it was perhaps inappropriate and at its worst, it was an unfortunate statement. As a person of colour myself I can understand why some would feel offended by his statements and I think as a Church Elder he should’ve known not to make that statement, even if it was meant as a joke.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Categories: Freedom of expression, Life in the West, News

Tags: , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Dr White does seem to have an anti-black bias to say the least.

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  2. I agree with Ijaz’s comments, It also seems that White is trying rather clumsily to make a case that racial hyper-sensitivity and “social justice” has spiraled out of control in recent times. While I understand what he is saying, I don’t fully agree.

    I think that context is key here as well.

    Dr. White said that he was addressing the Black Hebrew Israelite movement which clearly is full of falsehood, misguidance, inconsistencies, based on scriptural misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and incorrect fanciful revisionist history. The same movement seems to attract a lot of disaffected angry people, with at least some of whom that do seem to have reverse racist tendencies. The question is does the Black Hebrew Israelite movement encourage reverse racist thought, and if so why is THAT not questioned? I think that double standard may be what Dr. White may have been trying to address.

    In some ways, the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, reminds me of the early days of the Nation of Islam, when African Americans were trying to find a religious belief that expressed who they were as a people, and differentiated them from a highly racist White Christian majority population which had mistreated, abused and disregarded them for so long. Similar to Black Hebrew movement the Nation preached a form of reverse racism which directed a lot of anger toward white people. Eventually, the more enlightened members like Malcolm X learned the truth about the race less nature of the true Islamic Message of Prophet Muhammad (sws) and he and many others left the Nation and became Orthodox Muslims.

    The best thing that the so called, “Black Hebrews” can do for themselves is to give up the false innovated theology that they have developed which sets them apart from everyone else, and follow in the footsteps of Malcolm X by letting go of the hate and falsehood, and by returning to the true religion of their own ancestors.- ISLAM!

    We Muslims are awaiting our black brothers and sisters with open arms and love!! May Allah Guide these lost souls to the truth of Islam!!

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  3. Maybe James White should stick with speaking about theology instead of offering social commentary.

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