“He’s Got The Whole World In His [VERY WHITE] Hands”
This post started by accident.
I went to the website of a Friends church out west today, seeking information about a dispute of which readers have heard a good deal here.
Didn’t find any, but while browsing, saw an image that seemed very striking, for the church’s Vacation Bible School:
The caption for it was — as thee might expect, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”
Some of us might know that the song which gave rise to this meme is one of the classic black spirituals.
But maybe many of us don’t.
Wikipedia says it was first published a 1927 collection, Spirituals Triumphant. And while the song has been recorded by numerous artists of various backgrounds, I’m old enough to remember 1958, when a British teenager, Laurie London, became a one-hit wonder when his version, a smash in the UK, managed the then-unthinkable and crossed the Atlantic to hit #2 on the U.S. pop charts.
I say this because after pondering the image above, I couldn’t help but notice that the hands in it (or at least the wrists), are quite noticeably caucasian — er, white.
It made me wonder: The hands for the whole world are like that? Hmmmm.
How widespread, I wondered was this probably unconscious, or at least unthinking, notion?
For an answer, I turned to that source of all knowledge, google. And In a flash, I had my answer.
Or rather, answers. Lots of them. Here are a few:
Well, you get the idea. And I hope it makes some readers stop and think.
Because after a pretty long search, these were the only kind of images I found coming up on google: white hands, white God guys.
With one exception.
Only one. But a BIG one:
A word about artist Kadir Nelson: he just happens to be utterly awesome. He did a series of large paintings, based on old black and white photos, of stars and teams from the historic Negro League baseball world. I saw them on tour. They were monu-freaking-mental.
And in this kid’s book, he features a multi-ethnic family, with mostly images of folks of color, to bring the song to life, and back to its roots.
I just ordered Nelson’s “Whole World” book.
I wonder if any Friends churches might want to take a look at it also. Or maybe some unprogrammed meetings too.
Friends are advised.