Jesse Jackson Weighs In on Phil Robertson

No surprise here, Jesse Jackson has decided to add his two cents worth on Phil-Gate, the controversy surround comments that Phil Robertson made in a recent interview with GQ Magazine.  Unlike the Robertson interview, I haven’t been able to locate a complete transcript of what Jackson said, but based on numerous media reports, he said

“These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago.  At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.”

I think if I had been fighting for civil rights in the 50s and 60s, Jackson’s comments would be highly offensive.  The bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to give up her seat was a major villain of the movement.  To say that what Robertson said was “more offensive” must make many African Americans blanch.  It almost seems that Jackson is defending the bus driver.

To review, here’s exactly what Phil said about racism in his interview,

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Now, I’ve been down this road repeatedly with commenters on this blog and elsewhere and I’m still trying to figure out what’s offensive about this statement.  Did he say that blacks weren’t the victims of discrimination?  No.  Did he say racism didn’t exist?  No  What he said was that he never saw it with his own eyes.

Again, not to be redundant, I grew up in an all white suburb of Saint Louis in the 50s and 60s.  I didn’t go to school with a black person until I went to college.  Did I know that there was discrimination?  Of course I did.  Did I see it for myself?  No, I did not.  And I have to admit, at the fear of Reverend Jackson’s wrath, that the few African Americans I did come in contact with seemed to be happy.  I know most of them were God-fearing people.

In fact, while I was in college, I worked in a department store as a manager trainee.  We had a black janitor who was one of the happiest human beings I’ve ever known.  Mostly because of his great disposition, the decision was made to make him a suit salesman.  Nobody who had ever worked in that men’s department had ever sold as many suits as this guy did.  I was his boss and he made twice as much as I did!  It’s no wonder he never saw himself as a victim.

Could it be, in that ancient age before we all became entitled to everything, that blacks (and all lower-income people) put their faith in God and didn’t go around feeling sorry for themselves?  Maybe they chose not to be unhappy, based on their faith in a merciful God.

Phil was out in the field picking cotton right along with the African Americans.  He calls himself “white trash”.  Could it be that he considered the blacks as his equals, maybe even superiors?  Seems reasonable to me.

Keep in mind that this short paragraph is the only reference to race in the entire GQ interview.  I seriously doubt that Jackson has read it.  God knows there are enough misquotes floating around, both on the Internet and on the mainstream media, to make him think he doesn’t have to read it.  Besides, it seems like no matter what stupid thing JJ says, he always gets a pass because the media are afraid of him.

I just can’t believe that he would call Phil Robertson worse that Rosa Parks’ bus driver with so little to back up his claim.  Phil and his sons may be bearded, long-haired, duck hunting, rednecks, but no one has produced the slightest thread of evidence that any of them are racists.  In fact, Willy and Korie have an adopted son, Willy Jr.(Phil’s grandson) who is black.  Doesn’t sound racist to me.

Maybe for once in his life, Double J should get the facts before he goes off on a rant.  It seems to me that he’s a lot more racist than Phil Robertson.

Follow up:  Today I had lunch at Cracker Barrel.  You may recall that CB pulled their Duck Dynasty merchandise off the shelves then apologized and put it back.  Today there wasn’t a sign of any DD merchandise in the store.  What happened?  They put it back on the shelves and their customers removed it, one item at a time.

Advertisements

More on Phil Robertson

Thanks for all the excellent comments on my previous post.  Phil-gate has started a lot of wonderful conversations all over the Internet and in other places.  (You may recall an old-time method of communication where two or more people actually sit in the same room and TALK TO EACH OTHER.  That’s happening too.)  As I said yesterday, this isn’t about Phil Robertson and it’s not about A & E.  It’s about public discussion of religious issues. Some commenters here and elsewhere have cried “foul” wondering why A & E isn’t protected by the same free speech rights as Phil Robertson.  They most definitely are.  The cable cops have not shown up at their headquarters with a warrant for anyone’s arrest.  Yes indeed, they are perfectly within their rights to suspend or even terminate Phil for violating their company policy. But here’s the thing, you and I have a right to demand that our media sources uphold a certain standard.  Obviously for millions of us that standard includes allowing their employees to express their religious views.  If the network wants our business then they should give us what we want.  If they don’t want our business, that’s ok too.  There are a lot of other channels. It’s worth mentioning that an A & E representative was present at the GQ interview.  As part of the ABC/Disney conglomerate, the network definitely could have applied pressure on the magazine to filter Phil’s comments.  They did not.  Hmmmmm. I would like to comment on a comment made by Chaz Peters on my earlier post.

Loved this article. On a side note you mentioned that Robertson’s stance on homosexuality is in alignment with the Catholic Church. Sadly, according to statements from the newest Pope and the conclusions of the Third Vatican Council, the catholic church has changed its official position on that matter. In fact they appear to declare that God has changed His opinion as well. It might be nice if you wrote on this matter as I see it as of far greater concern world-wide than the Duck Dynasty controversy.

This is a misunderstanding perpetrated by the same media that are saying Phil is a racist and a homophobe.  The Pope has actually said nothing of the kind.  What he has said corresponds to the ancient teaching going all the way back to Christ.  “Hate the sin.  Love the sinner.”  Being homosexual is not a sin.  Performing homosexual acts is.  We, as Christians, are not called to judge others even though most of us do it and even think we’re very good at it.  Logically then homosexual men and women are called to be celibate.  Of course our “modern” society laughs at such an old-fashioned notion.  Doesn’t it say in the Bible, or the US Constitution, or the Magna Carta, or somewhere that we all have the right to sexual satisfaction? Sorry but no.  In fact, Scripture tells us that a celibate life is the most excellent life of all.  But why would we expect society to believe that when they either don’t believe anything in the Bible or choose to believe just the parts that suit them? No, Church teaching hasn’t changed.  God’s opinion hasn’t changed.  And, unfortunately, the media’s ability to twist and spin a public figure’s words to fit their story hasn’t changed either.

The media are counting on us to forget this story in a short time.  They hope that Christmas and New Years and other news stories will push Phil-gate out of our consciousness.  Please don’t let that happen.  Stay informed.  Make your feelings known at every opportunity.  I’ve been wondering for years what it would take for Christians to be fed up enough to take some action.  Maybe the time is now.