Ending Religious Iconography In America
.R .I C .A
The assumption that seeing is believing makes us susceptible to visual deception.
- KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON
White religious iconography is routinely seen in countless retail stores such as Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Publix, Walgreens and CVS. You will find religious imagery at gas stations, hotels, churches, hospitals, airports, on billboards, in books and movies and at doctor offices, schools and universities. The iconographic message, whether deliberate or unintentional implies that White people are superior. In fact, just google "the image of God" and see the images that appear. This is a subtle and implicit form of racism and White supremacy that must be eliminated. No group or individual should be subjected to White religious iconography in public places.
Christian religious iconography has been used to manipulate and influence the beliefs and psychology of people for centuries. Iconography developed as an academic art from scholars like Adolphe Napoleon Didron and Emile Male in the 19th century. But Christian iconography has been prominent as far back as the 16th century. “The Good Shepherd” image in the St. Callisto catacomb in Rome is believed to have been painted around the 3rd century. Biblical imagery, unfortunately is often perceived as "historic" and many of its classic images have been imprinted upon the psychology of humanity for centuries.
YEAR ROUND IMPACT
Religious iconography that depicts Jesus, Moses, David, Joshua etc, as White can be seen year round in every public place imaginable. This is especially true during Easter and the Christmas season. The number of nativity scenes that are on display; projecting White images of baby Jesus are limitless throughout the country. The spirit and festivity of the season makes these displays seem benign but from a psychological standpoint they imply White supremacy. The illogical syllogism suggests: Jesus is White, Jesus is God's son, therefore God is White. Nativity scenes displayed at churches and on residential properties are sold in public retail outlets and online. In the minds of manufacturers and retailers, this kind of merchandise is just an innocuous item void of any malicious intent. But this too, irrespective of the season or the intent is an act of White supremacy.
When we subject Blacks and other non-Whites to images that reflect an ethnicity different than their own, we inherently do a psychological disservice to that individual. The non-White often perceives this depiction as authentic and unconsciously perceives themselves as subordinate and even sometimes as inferior. If Blacks and Whites were two teams competing psychologically on American turf, Whites would have the home field advantage. Biblical imagery, especially, has a lot to do with that. We must be mindful of the psychology of all human beings. We proudly claim that Black lives matter but Black minds matter too. So much of what we believe as individuals starts with the imagery to which we've been exposed. Fight alongside us to help level the psychological playing field. Our brains attempt to connect pieces of images in order to make sense of our world. When non-Whites see images of a White Jesus and other White biblical imagery, the brain concludes that God must be White. And... if Jesus is indeed White then White supremacy must be justified. What we are calling for is an end to White and all other biblical/religious iconography in America.