“Are People Really Black?” A Philosophical Investigation of the Colour-Symbolism in Church Traditions: A Reference to Shakespeare’s Othello and Soyinka’s Telephone Conversation


    Colours, no doubt has symbolic connotations. In some cases, symbolic association of these colours with some states of affairs no longer command critical scrutiny as they are usually taken as “given” or for granted. It needs to be said however, that in some rare instances, the symbolic denotations of these colours may be misleading. This claim is striking especially when gleaned from the perspective that the colour “black” has commanded so much symbolic misrepresentations. This has in the long run affected the identity of Africans simply because of their skin-colour. It is therefore urgent to investigate the misleading symbolism which this colour has impressed over the African identity. “Are persons really black?” How history treated or perceived persons who seem to be black is beyond the desire of anyone in modern times, even when these poor treatments and discriminations continue. Upon the employment of the method of critical analysis, this inquiry posits, that a careful look at the ideal colour black and the skin colour of the most discriminated and racially denigrated peoples in the world shows the colour brown is more appropriate or suitable. As a way of questioning and criticizing the symbolism which being black expresses concerning the treatment of Africans and those deemed black, this paper uses the Biblical tradition and the literary work of William Shakespeare Othello as instances. Juxtaposed with philosophical logic and write-back literary works of renowned Africans including Soyinka’s Telephone Conversation, the paper concludes with the suggestions that Africans never saw themselves as black. Blackness and all efforts of the valorization of the colour are nothing but efforts to grasp the ever elusive identity challenge faced by peoples of African descent.

    Keywords: African Identity, Blackness, Othello, Telephone Conversation, Racial Discrimination, Symbolism 

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    author/Adegboyega, O. Oyekunle & Gbenoba, E. Felix

    journal/Zamfara IJOH Vol. 1 Issue 3