Monday, October 23, 2006

Who says racism is unfashionable?

Image of special, limited edition Nativity Creche offered by Hawthorne Village of Niles, IllinoisMy Sunday newspaper contained an insert advertising this curious product, advising that "This first ever Native American influenced Nativity is a very special, limited time offer, and strong demand is expected." (Sic.) And only $49.95! Send no money now! Who wouldn't want this heirloom item in their "collection" of dust-gathering ceramics?

This "collectible" is so offensive on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. So I'll ask the following: Who does this offend more?
- Indigenous Americans who have suffered generations of genocidal slaughter at the bloody hands of "Christian" oppressors; or
- "Good" Christians who know that "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" was a blondish, blue-eyed white male (as unlikely as that would be in First Century Judea.)


Blogger sambista said...

I don't know if it is racist or just horrible kitsch? I have been to late fall pow wows and other ethnic markets where I have seen artisan made (not factory produced) nativities with an indigenous spin (whether North American or Andean). I have also seen versions made in Africa with African motiffs. Many American Indians are Christian. I think part of the beauty of Christianity is that we can see ourselves in the humanity of Christ's struggles in life (including a humble birth). So, the historical Jesus was a 1st century Judean who was probably bronzed with curly dark hair. That's probably ethnographically correct. But, I have seen various paintings of Madonna and child from different cultures where the figures are interpreted with features of the ethnicity of the artist. Perhaps that's a way of making Jesus' story your own. So, maybe I'm not feeling the outrage I should about the nativity. But what does piss me off is that Indian people are probably not making money from the product.

10:59 PM  

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