Man Sues Museum Over ‘Racist’ ‘Whitewashing’ of Jesus

Pietro_Perugino_cat73eA New York City man filed a lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court last week, arguing the Metropolitan Museum of Art should remove “racist” paintings that depict Jesus as a blonde, fair-skinned male, The New York Post reports.

In the suit, Justin Renel Joseph said four paintings on display at the Met amount to “offensive aesthetic whitewashing” of Jesus, who in reality had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze colour.” The suit argues the museum’s display of these images is an “extreme case of discrimination.”

According to the lawsuit, Joseph felt “stressed” by “the implication that someone who possesses physical features like the plaintiff could not be the important historical and public figure of Jesus Christ.” Viewing the paintings “caused the plaintiff to feel, among other things, rejected and unaccepted by society,” court documents charge.

Joseph said he was suing the museum under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He told The Post the painters “completely changed [Jesus’s] race to make him more aesthetically pleasing for white people.”

The Met is standing by its display of the paintings, citing historical importance. “When they were painted, it was typical for artists to depict subjects with the same identity as the local audience,” Met spokeswoman Elyse Topalian said. “This phenomenon occurs in many other cultures, as well.”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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