A human rights activist’s bold claims alleging religion has been used to perpetuate and further white supremacy has created buzz after a pair of high-profile incidents where Black children were turned away from Christian schools over their hairstyles.
Bree Newsome, a Black filmmaker and artist, first made the assertions in 2017, arguing that “white supremacy is also a religious theology that reinterprets scriptures of Judaism and early Christianity to support the idea that white supremacy & Black enslavement are the divine will of God.”
Newsome, 33, pointed to the insistence of portraying Jesus as a white man and imagining God as also being white, both of which perpetuate the idea is that “whiteness” is next to godliness.
The filmmaker, who famously scaled a 30-foot pole to bring down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state capitol, revisited her comments in a tweet Tuesday after African-American youths were humiliated after being removed from their private Christian schools over discriminatory rules penalizing them for their hair.
Last week, 6–year–old Clinton Stanley Jr., was turned away from the A Book’s Christian Academy in Apopka, Fla. because he had dreads. School officials said Stanley would only be allowed to return to class if he cut his hair. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a female student at Christ the King Parish School was sent packing because her braided hair extensions didn’t comply with the school’s new hair policy. Her family is now considering suing the school for discrimination.
Newsome tactfully explained how the schools’ hair policies were an extension of white supremacy via religious teachings.
Her comments quickly sparked renewed discussion about religion in America and the ways in which it’s been used to further white supremacist ideals.
“Religion is a man made cult to implement fear, while controlling others & taking their money! White Supremacy is Terrorism!” one person wrote.
“Another perverted piece of #SlaveholderReligion is the way the rich, through ministers teach white supremacy to whites — the notion that poor and white is better than being Black,” another person chimed in. “This gives poor whites a commonality to rich whites with in turn promotes WS.”
One critic recalled a Sunday school lesson in which the teacher floated the theory that the mark of God given to Cain for murdering his brother Abel was Black skin, ” … essentially saying anybody without white skin came from a lineage of jealous murderers.”
“We heard a lot of fucked up things in Sunday school but that one was particularly bad,” he wrote.