Recently, a painting portraying Jesus as black caused a bit of an uproar among traditional Christians on the grounds of accuracy. Jesus wasn't African or the product of a race that is black, therefore any portrayal of Jesus as black is inaccurate. Some claim even "dangerous," hence the attempt to get the paintings of black Jesus banned.
While I don't believe Jesus was black (based on his ethnicity and heritage), I do believe we Westerners need to hold the accuracy mirror up to our own faces. We can cry "inaccuracy!" all day long at the paintings of black Jesus, but what have we said about European Jesus? You know, fair-haired, light eyes, white-skinned Jesus? Isn't that the predominate picture of Jesus that hangs on the walls and minds of most Christians emmersed in Western Civilization? Where's the movement to ban Him? Jesus may not have been African, but He surely wasn't European either (and don't even get me started on American Jesus...OY). He probably had dark hair and eyes with dark olive-colored skin. You know, kind of like a 1st century Middle-Eastern Jew? Fancy that!
Now, why is our false western portrayal of Jesus' physical attributes any better than the false African version? Why is it acceptable to make Jesus white when He wasn't, but unacceptable to make Him black when He wasn't? It's a bit hypocritical. I don't like to play the race card, but such hostility aimed toward "Black Jesus" suggests a form of latent racism.
Racism aside, there is an even more significant issue that runs deep beneath a controversy as superficial as the skin color of Jesus. The deeper issue is the distortion of Jesus. There's an old saying that goes:
"God created man in His own image, and ever since, man has been trying to return the favor."
Whether it's manipulating Jesus' physical attributes to mirror our own or slanting His teachings to fit our politics and ideologies, mankind continues to try and control Jesus by making Him more like us, instead of submitting ourselves to making mankind more like Jesus.