“Black Israelite” faith centers on the belief that African Americans are the direct biological descendants of ancient Israelites, God’s “chosen people.” By adopting the Hebrew identity and its special religious status, followers of this movement connect themselves with a grand narrative of oppression, revolution, and triumph as well as at least partially reject the religion of White Christian colonizers.
The term encompasses a variety of distinct groups, which may claim separate titles, including Black Hebrews, Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI), and Black Jews—among others, and may hold somewhat divergent religious beliefs: some worship Christ, others practice more orthodox forms of Judaism, while others seem to mix several religious traditions.
However, it would do a great disservice to this movement to categorize it as solely—even primarily—a religious phenomenon; the historical, political, and sociological factors that spurred the creation of the first Black Israelite church in the immediate post-slavery era, and the circumstances that have molded this movement throughout American history are integral to any investigation of Black Israelite belief systems, as well as any potential revival of BHI membership in the current age.
Continue reading “Today’s Black Israelites”
Amid a string of damning reports, several US senators, ,, a number of Jewish organizations,, and human rights groups have recently called for an investigation into Sebastian Gorka’s ties to an anti-Semitic extremist group, and for him to step down as one of President Trump’s key national security advisors.
At a May 7 conference hosted by the Jerusalem Post, Gorka forcefully denied these allegations—but questions remain, including whether or not Gorka will be leaving his position,, due to the damaging effect these accusations have had on the Trump administration’s already controversy-laden first 100 days. Gorka, and Trump staff have denied rumors that Gorka is being asked to leave the White House,, calling them “very fake news.”
Unfortunately, as other “unpresidented” Trump moves dominate this week’s news cycle, Gorka’s potential anti-Semitic leanings may be obscured and forgotten.
Continue reading “Reviewing Allegations of anti-Semitism against Trump Advisor Sebastian Gorka”
Earlier this month, a Sikh-American man named Deep Rai was shot in the Seattle suburb of Kent by a masked assailant, who told Rai to “go back to your own country” before firing a bullet that barely missed his heart. Sadly, as of writing, the gunman remains at large and Mr. Rai is still recovering from his injuries, but the incident serves as a harrowing reminder that Sikhs are also leading targets of racist, xenophobic violence in this country.
Jasjit Singh, Assistant Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund attributes anti-Sikh sentiments to people simply “not knowing who we are.” As a religious minority that is inherently on display yet attracts little public interest into their beliefs and traditions beyond the highly visible turban, there many widespread, harmful misconceptions about Sikhs. Below I have highlighted just a few of the most basic myths affecting the Sikh community.
Continue reading “Five Untruths About Sikhism”