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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whence Cometh Negro?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, on the sixth day he created man, from man he created woman. The man and woman were fruitful and multiplied very very greatly. This story has many questions that one can ask, but one that I think is quite interesting that is hardly asked is where do black people come from?

This is an excellent question. What makes it so excellent is that it challenges even strong believers in religion who reject evolution. Fossils, evolution, age of the world, do not really challenge strong believers that much. But this question does. Because it is asking a question on a topic which everyone knows, that is, that there are so many races in the world. Not everyone knows evolutionary biology. People can understand that if originally there were two white people then everyone must be white. If there were two black people then everyone must be black. I am actually not sure what happens if one was black or white, however, we can conclude from the passage that Eve came from the Adam that she must have been the same race as him. Thus, the mixture of races is not a possible candidate to consider in this question.

I will give you one answer which Rashi gives. Rashi is the grand Jewish commentator on the Torah. Rashi says, in the story when Noach cursed his son Ham, in a commentary, that part of Noach's curse was that Ham turned black. How does Rashi know? He quotes a Medrish. How the Medrish can possible come up with such an answer is beyond me.

The generation of Ham was cursed to be "the slaves of slaves you shall become". This was used by some people to justify slavery in a Biblical way. They said that black people were the slaves of slaves i.e. black people enslaved other black people to sell them Europeans. Thus, for many religious people during slavery, slavery was a Biblical issue, so they did not object to it, they used this for justification.

What I want to say here is to try to imagine the anti-black attitude that must be in the minds of Orthodox Jewish people because of this evil Medrish. The Medrish/Rashi basically say that black people are to incur the curse of Ham and they were destined to be slaves. I have heard these "justifications" against the evils that were done to black people when I was in yeshiva, so do not tell me I am exaggerating, I am not.

If this Medrish/Rashi was actually true and did not attempt to make Jewish people feel negatively towards black then it would not be racist. It would not be racist because it would be trying to explain the truth of black origin, not to condemn them. See this for a longer explanation of what racism is to see why it would not be racism in such a context. However, since this Rashi/Medrish is not just false but also induces in Jewish people an anti-black feeling it must be racist. Therefore, God is racist since the Torah is racist. Thus, God is evil. Evil Commeth from God! God is the father of evil! Alas, Epicurus can now rest!

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