This past Friday night I had a short conversation with a Black Israelite (AKA Black Hebrew) just south of Union Square. Given that his preaching was chock full of damnation, biblical quotes galore, and the calling out of the so-called white man I had reason to believe he was either a member of the Nation of Yahweh or the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (Click here for an interesting piece on the ICGJC). Unfortunately I forgot to ask. Unfortunately, I didn’t already know. Gotta get me chops up.
For those who don’t know, the Nation of Yahweh along with the ICGJC are only two of a number of lineages within the larger Black Israelite movement, a wide breath of Black American Judeo-Christian thought beginning around the late nineteenth-century that holds the original ancient Israelites to have been Black African in ancestry. Arguably the most visible, vocal, and controversial of the groups, both the Nation of Yahweh, as well as the ICGJC have been accused (by the Anti-Defamation League) of anti-Semetism and (by the Southern Poverty Law Center) of black supremacy.
For those who do know either the Nation of Yahweh or the ICGJC, it may come as a shock to learn that a person, even a so-called white person, can in fact engage in a meaningful dialogue with a representative of either group. That is of course, if you’re willing to do a fair share of listening. In our short talk our conversation meandered between biblical quotes, ancestry, and the lies the so-called white man perpetrates.
It went something like this:
“Can I take a picture of your posters?”
(Pause) “Yeah…. Sure.”
“Did you draw these?”
“Are you a so-called Jew?”
“Well, what’s your nationality?”
“You mean my ethnicity?”
“I mean your father. Where is your father from?”
“Well, I’m adopted, but I think I’m from Italy and Ireland.”
“You think you’re from Italy and Ireland?”
“Ok. Do you know why the so-called white man teaches that the color black is negative?”
From there the conversation jumped to the Bible while my Black Hebrew friend gave me the score on where the so-called white man comes from (Esau/Edom [who is actually red in color]) and how he is born to be subservient to his younger brother Jacob (who is supposedly the so-called black man). We went back and forth for a little while and eventually gave each other pounds and walked our separate ways. As I walked away I heard him start to preach once again. His words made me smile:
“You see…. I can talk in a calm manner. I don’t have to yell at people to get them to listen.”
I would have to agree.
Categories: Black Hebrews