Curse Of Ham
The curse of Ham, which is known as the curse upon Ham's son Canaan, was imposed by the
biblical patriarch Noah. The curse occurs in the Book Genesis and concerns Noah's act
perpetrated by Noah's son Ham, the father of Canaan.The controversies raised by this story
regarding the nature of Ham's transgression, and the question of why Noah cursed Canaan when
Ham had sinned.The story's original purpose was the subjection of the Canaanite people to the
Israelites.In later centuries, the narrative was interpreted by some Christians, Muslims and Jews
as an explanation for black skin, as well as a justification for slavery.
Nevertheless, most Christians, Muslims and Jews now disagree with such interpretations,
because in the biblical text, Ham himself is not cursed, and race or skin color is never mentioned.
In the past, some people claimed that the curse of Ham was a biblical justification for imposing
slavery or racism upon black people. Regarding this matter, the Christian leader Martin Luther
King Jr called such an attempt "a blasphemy" that "is against everything that the Christian
religion stands for.For Southern slave owners faced with the abolitionist movement to end
slavery. Even before slavery, in order to promote economic motivations within Europe
associated with colonialism, the curse of Ham was used to shift the common Aristotelian belief.
In a racialist perspective that differentiation among the species was due to there being different
racial types.Englishmen were widely afraid to further the colonial efforts of The Crown and
begin a new life in lower latitude colonies for fear of becoming black.The fact is there is no
indication in Genesis proper that can be used to justify racism and slavery. The historian David
Whiteford writes of a “curse matrix” which was derived from the vagueness of genesis 9 and
interpreted to mean that it didn’t matter who was cursed or what group of people the curse
originated with, all that mattered.
Pro-slavery intellectuals were hard pressed to find any justification for slavery and racism within
Christian theology which taught that all humans were descendants of Adam and therefore one
race, possessed with equal salvation potential and deserving to be treated as kin.The curse of
Ham was used to drive a wedge in the mythology of a single human race, as elite intellectuals
were able to convince people that the three sons of Noah represented the three sects of Man and...