Parallels between the life of Joseph and the African-Americans
There are too many parallels between the life of Joseph and the African-Americans in the United States of America. I am not speaking about their behavior because I am not wearing their shoes, but I am speaking the word of God here because many of them are people of the Book.
Thousands of books have been written on this issue and many solutions have been presented, and it is not possible to solve this complicated problem in a few paragraphs. That said, I have lived in the United States of America for more than 19 years and have interacted with people from different backgrounds. This may not be enough time to present a solution, but Joseph was in Egypt for less time. With the right attitude, he made a huge difference in the country.
I am making an appeal to all who read this section to do so slowly and thoughtfully. There is a spiritual dimension that must be incorporated if anybody wants to make sense of what we are dealing with here.
Like Joseph, their brethren in Africa caught them and sold them to Europeans. Those who were caught and sold did not deserve to be treated like this. Nothing can explain away the fact that hate, anger, and bitterness pushed Africans to catch their own brothers and sell them to foreigners without remorse. While some have argued that those who were sold into slavery were criminals and rejects of society, this justiﬁcation is not enough. What crime did millions of people commit? Even if they committed a crime, the penalty was too severe. Another excuse that is given is that the Europeans lied to the Africans. Therefore, the Africans were not aware of the hellish conditions to which these slaves were going to be subjected.
However, it makes no sense that a foreigner shows up and corrupts you with material stuff and you end up selling your own ﬂesh and blood to them.
In the case of Joseph, his brothers thought that he was worth just 20 pieces of silver. Can you imagine his brothers thinking that his worth could be reduced to some arbitrary monetary value?
Life is sacred and should never be reduced to the level of a commodity.
Unfortunately, those on the African continent fell into this temptation because they thought gun powder, guns, gin, and other material things brought by the Europeans were worth more than their own ﬂesh and blood. As you can clearly see here, they were not deceived, but the issues of the heart gravitated towards these material things. They allowed the hate, greed, and selﬁshness already in their hearts to take over, just as the Europeans and Arabs buying slaves and, at times, forcefully abducting some were driven by these same issues of the heart.
The brothers of Joseph were no different and they cannot justify their action under the pretext that their brother had shared his dreams that provoked them to sell him off.
Cain did not kill Abel because he did something wrong. He committed the first murder out of anger and jealousy.
He allowed his negative feelings towards the success of his brother to take over him, and he did the unthinkable. There was no racism here. Every time we try to pin racism on people who are allowing their sinful nature to rule over them, we are missing the point.
The Africans, like the brothers of Joseph, saw foreigners and sold their own ﬂesh and blood without a second thought. Just like Joseph, these Africans were carried off to foreign lands under despicable conditions. Some of these slaves were resold to slave masters, just like Joseph.
They were not only enslaved but forced to build a lot of wealth for their slave masters. Joseph properly managed the business of his master Potiphar and made lots of money for him, and he did this without pay.
The African-Americans were murdered, lynched, raped, exploited, and many terrible things were done to them. There is not enough room here to list all the atrocities that were committed against them. Some of the things were too despicable to mention.
Joseph, too, was accused falsely and thrown in prison, not because of anything wrong that he did. He obeyed God by refusing to commit adultery: instead of being freed from slavery, he was thrown in prison for not sinning and going with the ﬂow. It seemed God had abandoned him.
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