The Phil Robertson Challenge

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My Facebook page and Twitter feed are still clogged with people fuming over Phil Robertson’s suspension.

I’m guessing yours is the same.

The anger seems to be split between “He’s defending Christian values!” and “It’s a freedom of speech issue!”

Except in all caps, of course.

Since, I don’t think either statement is true and since I’m tired of dear old Phil being held up as a martyr for Christian virtue, I thought I would offer a compromise by way of a challenge to my Christian friends still fuming about Phil.

If you can pass The Phil Robertson Challenge™ your prize is my silence. Post away all you want on my Facebook page or here or on Twitter or wherever about the injustice and persecution Phil is enduring for the Christian faith or free speech or whatever and I won’t keep arguing with you.

Here’s how the challenge works…

Below is a direct quote from Phil’s now infamous interview with GQ.

If you can successfully defend the substance of what he’s saying from a Christian perspective and not sound racist, you win.

Good luck with that….

“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.”


*Important Note #1: If you do take the challenge and lose, my prize is your silence.

*Important Note #2: If you think you can win this challenge, you’ve already lost.

 

  • drv2thenet

    …”and not sound racist”? How about “and not be a racist”?

  • Eric Boersma

    I’m struggling with the same thing. The statements about homosexuality were very inappropriate, obviously, but equally disturbing were his attitudes towards racial minorities.

    I basically can’t see a way to point this out to friends and family right now without saying “This dude was being a giant racist and you’re part of the problem for defending him” without it turning into “I’m not a racist you’re a racist!” sludge. Considering I’m about to see all these people next week, I’m just biting my tongue because I’d rather not have my kids earliest memories of Christmas be daddy fighting with the in-laws.

    • D Lowrey

      Having grown up in Oklahoma/Texas AND having relatives (being related and NOT people I want to claim as family) in the KKK…Robertson sounds exactly like what I would hear at family gatherings. Took me too many years and getting the cold shoulder for my choice of friends to realize that I was very much a racist when I was growing up.

      I heard nothing out of Robertson’s mouth about divorce…but the fundamentalist triggers of abortion…racism and homosexuality (which Jesus said nothing about the first/last) were there. Could be wrong…but chances are he has no problem with divorce as Jesus talked about it.

      I’m convinced he has not actually read the same Bible I have and only believes what his fundamentalist church has brainwashed their members to believe to stay out of their version of hell. I could be wrong in all of this…but being a former fundamentalist…I feel like I’m not.

      • http://www.ramblingsofanundercovertck.blogspot.com/ Danica Newton

        Do you know what church the Robertson family attends? Because I’ve watched a little of the show, and when he used a Levitical law to justify illegally dumping rotten meat in the church dumpster, I started to have my doubts about him … anyone who goes by the letter of the law and not the spirit of goes onto my ‘Suspected Fundy’ list.

  • Griff

    Was he quoting Blazing Saddles?

  • Josh Huff

    I was wondering why that comment was being swept under the rug. Seriously no longer looking forward to gathering with my family next week. Pretty sure they’ll replace the birth of Christ with a Phil Robertson for president campaign… ugh…

  • Levi Lowry

    Why would they say something like, “Those doggone white people..” in front of a WHITE dude? I’m sure that there were lots of things said when he wasn’t around because they wanted to keep the jobs they had. Are we to suppose that there was no mistreatment of blacks because he didn’t see it? Maybe he didn’t see anything, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. This racial stuff bothered me as much or more than the other comments he made.

  • Levi

    Never mind the racism for just a moment… What about mangling music history? Does the man even know what “singing the blues” even means?!?!

    • ZackHunt

      Lol amen to that!

    • Tom LeGrand

      I give up. This comment wins!

    • CKPS63

      Given his apparent attempt to emulate the “look” of ZZ Top, he just might.

    • gtpointman

      Historically, not all black folks played the blues while depressed, nor sang because they were sad and low. So… if Duck Dynasty Phil saw black people sing while working in a field (with him working alongside), were they singing in pain at that moment? Why limit people’s depth and breadth of experience to a concept to which every moment and action must conform?

  • Michael P

    No one is going to come out of these arguments nevermind the side you take happy or justified.

  • Mandy Cutcher Meisenheimer

    So good. I’d “share” on FB but I’m afraid people would try and take the challenge on my FB wall!

    • D Lowrey

      Actually…what usually happens is they will report you to the Facebook police and get you banned. Happened to me several months ago when “Christian” fundamentalists did not like what I had to say. Ended up getting rid of my Facebook account and never going back there.

    • Levi

      Hi Mandy,

      I regularly use the privacy settings to block the people I know will cause headaches on certain posts. I even categorized my friends into lists so I can block entire groups at a time rather than just individuals. It doesn’t prevent everything but it helps keep it to a reasonable level. But at the end of the day, I don’t put anything on Facebook in not willing to argue about.

  • http://www.makemystuffwork.net/ Erik Pasco

    The problem it seems to me is a little bit of Christian hero worship. This family is seen as a shining light of conservative Christianity on television – a place where Christianity tends to be marginalized or mocked.

    So when one of these “heroes” gets in trouble for something they said, the natural reaction is to cry persecution.

    Personally, I think the whole issue is much ado about nothing. It’s a proxy for the whole “culture war” discussion. Famous people shoot their mouths off all the time. It’s unfortunate anytime a very public Christian is seen as less than loving.

    Most of all, I think I’m sad about the lack of nuanced conversation about issues like this. People are so quick to jump and take sides like it’s some sort of civil war. I wish people would care more about being generous with others than rooting for their “team.”

    • Eric Boersma

      I’m even more callous. I think the statements were deliberately provided by Phil (who has said he wants out of his contract/possibly off the show) as a way to leverage outrage over his suspension from the conservative sect of our country into an increase in merchandise sales.

      He gets suspended during a time when no one is filming, if he comes back it’s on his own terms, and in the mean time he gets to make a bunch of money off it.

      Maybe I’m just jaded.

  • Jeff Bys

    While I can certainly understand how his comments could be perceived as racist, it takes some assumptions to get there. A racist, by definition, is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. There is nothing in the quote from Phil that states he believes that his race is superior to any others. I think many look at his quote and think “ok, this is an old guy from the south, I know where he is going with this…” However, if you do a little more digging into the things that Phil has said and the way he and his family live there lives (his son Willie has adopted a son from a different race and foster a daughter from a different race, for example) I think the case can be made that Phil is not a racist.

    Honestly, I think the burden of proof is on you. If you believe Phil is racist, then at least explain why you feel that way.

    Sorry if I didn’t exactly take your challenge, but, as you say, if I take your challenge I will sound racist (at least in your mind).

    • Brooke

      Jeff Bys, I believe by denying their hardship, he minimizes their suffering and their place in this world. He may not be saying they are awful people because they are black, but he is implying that Jim Crow laws and the difficulties that were suffered by the black race under those conditions weren’t so bad, weren’t suffering, weren’t racism.

      • Jeff Bys

        I just don’t read what you are claiming into Phil’s statement. Only looking at his direct quote, he simply says he did not see mistreatment of blacks. He never denied that mistreatment happened. Again, you have to make assumptions to get there. If we are to believe James, then we are to count trials as joy. When he says the blacks he knew were Godly and were happy, I take that to mean they were more focused on God than they were their circumstances.

        • Brooke

          He lived in the south in the time of great strife, and you honestly believe he didn’t know? Buses were burned with people and made the news. Lynchings, crosses burned down homes, if he didn’t know, he was awfully self-directed and had tunnel vision.

          • Jeff Bys

            No ma’am, I don’t believe for a minute he didn’t know…nor did Phil say he didn’t know…you assumed that.

          • Brooke

            The very fact that he brought it up leads me (at least) to believe he was trying to change the opinion of what really happened. You may not see it that way, but, I do. And, I’ve been to the south and seen it first hand, in recent years. It was much more rampant in decades before the civil rights era. The south went Republican due to the civil rights act. It’s not as if there was no civil rights fight. Do you honestly believe he saw absolutely nothing? Or do you seem to lean to the possibility that he wouldn’t recognize it if he saw it because he was brought up to understand there were certain things that the black folk would deal that the white folk minimized?

          • Jeff Bys

            My point is, I don’t know. You don’t know. Outside of what he actually said, anyone and everyone is speculating. He may have meant exactly what you say, but that would make him not only racist, but a liar as well as he has stated Jesus loves everyone and so does he.

            I’m simply saying, to add to what someone has said, whether you recognize he assumptions you are making or not, then calling someone racist based on what you assume they meant, is counter-productive to any conversation regarding race relations.

          • Brooke

            Well, quite honestly, I have not once called him a racist. I think he is naive. I don’t know if he is racist and I have not once said it either here or anywhere else. I have described him growing up in a racist south, but that does not mean I have called HIM a racist himself. No apologies for that are necessary, I’m not taking offense to what you wrote. I am just getting it out there that I have not used that word to describe him. I actually have not used any descriptor (except naive, just now) to describe him, I am trying to stay away from labels with this guy. I am sad that he has chosen a path of Christianity that doesn’t remind me of Christ at all.

          • Jeff Bys

            Fair enough, and I didn’t mean to imply that you were calling Phil racist. I was referring to the original post by Zack that seems to be calling Phil, and anyone who disagrees with Zack on this point, racist.

        • Lori

          He says he was “with the blacks” because he was “white trash.” Like, where else would “white trash” be? Oh, of course. Dur. “With the blacks.”
          I haven’t read all comments so no idea if that phrase is pinging around anyone else’s head, but man.

          • http://beingperfectlyhuman.blogspot.com/ Eric Fry

            Yeah, that phrase is ringing loudly in my ears. That statement is equating anyone the would be found with the “white trash” as trash. People aren’t trash, and no Christian should ever refer to anyone, even themselves as “trash”, even jokingly.

    • Tom LeGrand

      But there certainly is a naivety about experiences other than his own, or beyond his own. And assuming that a single story is THE story of an entire race of people is covert, if not overt, racism. And if it’s not that, it certainly is the fertilizer on which the seeds of racism thrive. I doubt that he is a racist, but his comments, in this case, sound very provincial and inconsiderate of what another race might have felt/experienced. It’s the danger once again of only seeing the world through our lenses. Besides, the challenge is to “defend the substance of what he’s saying from a Christian perspective”, and not sound racist yourself…not to prove/disprove Phil as a racist.

      • Jeff Bys

        If I understand you correctly, you are saying he used a poor choice of words in the quote and may be insensitive to the plight of African Americans…I agree with that. My point was that doesn’t necessarily make his comments racist. We don’t even know if we have the full quote or what the question was that prompted the quote.

        Back to the point of being insensitive, I should think it nearly impossible as a white man who grew up in the southern US, to be completely sensitive to and understand what it is like to grow up as a black person here. I have a 20 year-old son who is black, and I still have very little understanding of what it is like for him. I try to be as sensitive as I can to the experiences that have shaped him, but they are not my experiences. I do, however, feel it is important to have the conversation. I just think that being so quick to cry “racist” stifles the conversation and makes understanding and improving the situation even more difficult than it already is.

        As far as the challenge, I already stated I wasn’t taking it.

        • Brooke

          The article states that he made several hot potato statements without being questioned:

          “Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

          (Phil’s homosexuality statement which I’m redacting, you can read it at the link)

          Perhaps we’ll be needing that seat belt after all.”

          Read More http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson#ixzz2o2Cjc7dR

        • Eric Boersma

          Being insensitive to someone because of the color of their skin is racist. I’m not sure how else you can look at that.

          Your point about your son is poignant, because what you’re saying is that you can’t understand your son’s experiences because you didn’t live them. What Phil is saying is that your son’s experiences don’t matter because he didn’t live them. He enumerates his experiences, then uses those to say that the experiences of everyone else was invalid because he didn’t personally see it. Why else would he say that nobody was signing the blues or that the core of the problem was “welfare”?

          • Jeff Bys

            I just don’t read that into what Phil is saying and am curious how you think you can know that.

          • Eric Boersma

            Phil was cognizant of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960′s. It’s literally impossible that he wasn’t (he was playing football at a division 1 college and attended multiple states where race riots were taking place, not to mention things like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act which were passed when he was graduating from high school).

            But Phil discounts the stories of persecution among the black population by saying “I didn’t see that personally”. That’s an implicit value judgement: he’s saying that his own experiences are more valuable than the experiences of those suffering and dying in the street. It implies that the problem in the Jim Crow south wasn’t with the oppression, it was with the uppity black people who just didn’t know their place and couldn’t live with the way the world was. That’s what the comments about welfare mean.

          • Jeff Bys

            Hmmm, I’m sorry, maybe I am naive, but I just don’t read all that into Phil’s quote. Not only that, but what you are saying does not align with everything else I know about Phil and his family. I admit, however, I do not know them personally, so I could be wrong. You just seem so sure that you are right, I’m curious, do you know him personally. How exactly can you be so sure he is racist? Assuming you don’t know him personally…do you think it would be fair for someone you don’t know to characterize you as racist, not because of something you said, but because of what they thought you meant? I just think we should give him the benefit of the doubt here and not be so quick to imply he is racist.

          • Brooke

            I honestly think he’s trying to idolize an idyllic childhood that wasn’t exactly as he remembers (and as years go by, we forget things, or block them out as I have done with abuse) – it may not be deliberate, but he seems to downplay the reality that the black race lived through in the south. At the same time, there is a very large movement in the south to make the civil war about States Rights and not slavery and racism. The articles of separation clearly show that slavery was a huge reason why the south split from the union, but you can argue with southerners until you’re blue in the face and they will never read it, understand is as you clearly and plainly read it, or agree with your opinion of this simple reading task. – http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

            Not more than a few months ago, I counted the number of alliterations to slavery in these three documents (Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi) and I counted 88 events that mentioned slave-owning, slave, slaves and slavery.

        • Tom LeGrand

          I don’t disagree with you at all on that, particularly to the point that we can only “understand” on a forensic level. But that’s also why we should be wary of what we say and very careful not to roll our story into the story of others. I don’t read this as Zack trying to point out Phil as a racist, so much as he’s calling out those who continue to say that “He’s just following the Bible!” Even if you argue that he was doing so re: homosexuality, you can’t make that same argument on the issue of African-American experience in the deep south.

          Here’s the thing: I’ve heard my dad tell similar stories of growing up poor, on a tobacco farm, in the deep south. He worked beside and got along with the black workers and tenant farmers, who did not gripe and complain and act unhappy. But he also said, “Even if they were, they wouldn’t say so in front of me.” He also said, “The difference was that I had a chance to change my situation, and they did not.” So much of this is about awareness that my story is not everyone’s story, my experience and field of vision is limited…if we could just take of our glasses and try on a different set of lenses, it might do us a lot of good.

          Anyway, I’ve personally encountered Christians trying to defend his views on race, some even on Biblical grounds. And I understood Zack to be challenging that notion, not necessarily trying to prove Phil’s racism.

  • Brooke

    Great post. I have just now discovered this blog. I am not a Christian, but, I have studied scripture extensively and I have a deep understanding in the commands from Jesus that Christians are to reflect and magnify the loving nature of kindness that is God. I see people who call themselves Christians who are indignant about A&E’s treatment of Phil Robertson and are talking about how to seek revenge, using their enormous buying power. I hear that and I don’t see God magnified but an other figure instead Thoughts?

  • Mark Snyder

    He is describing his experience. I’ll tell you what. If you can tell me why someone describing their experience needs to be defended, you can buy my silence. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    • Eric Boersma

      Er, he’s not describing his experience. He’s describing a white-washed version of his experience. PR graduated from Louisiana Tech in 1970. He’s fully aware of the racial tensions that existed in the south during the 1950′s and 1960′s, he’s simply choosing to ignore them so that he can make a point about how much better America used to be before all those black people got to do things like vote.

      That’s racist.

      • Mark Snyder

        You’re putting words in his mouth and context to his statement that he did NOT say, If you add YOUR words and YOUR context, it becomes racist. His context I think was that people in were happy living together and doing what they did, and not trying to figure out ways they could exploit one another. And he was in the same boat they were at the time. That’s all he said.

        • Eric Boersma

          Except people were clearly not happy with the way things were. The guy was literally in college playing starting Quarterback for a Division 1 college and traveling the country to play football in the middle of the race riots that were sweeping our country.

          Robertson started games in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas during 1966 and 1967. He also attended college classes as a full time student from 1966 to 1970, when he graduated. Suggesting that during that entire time Robertson met not one single black person who was unhappy with the current state of affairs in the United States is a steaming load of crap. It’s literally not possible.

          • Mark Snyder

            Please read his statement again. He said “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once” He did not say he never met one that was ‘unhappy with the current state of affairs in the ‘United States’. He did say the people he worked in the fields with were happy doing it with him. I suppose there is a lesson there for all of us.

          • Eric Boersma

            That isn’t all that he said, though. He said that “no one was singing the blues”, which is you know, obviously false, because he’s from the place where field workers literally invented the blues.

            He gave this quote in response to a question of what he thinks about race relations in the United States today. Not seeing racial injustice in person (which is dubious but I can’t disprove it) is leveraged to try to suggest that the problems didn’t start until after black people got out of the oppressive regime of the Jim Crow south. The only reason to bring it up would be if he thought that his experiences were representative, and that the mistreatment of blacks wasn’t nearly as pervasive as it actually was and that the real problem was just a few troublemakers who couldn’t deal with the way the world was.

            Note that this attitude is closely tied to his attitude about homosexuals. It’s justifying injustice in his mind by saying “Well, if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist”. That’s what’s so racist: it assumes that the experiences of blacks under the Jim Crow south are invalid because they don’t fit with the preconceived notion of a white kid from Louisiana.

          • Mark Snyder

            Well I can only say thanks for telling me what he said, since you insist on continuing to do so. Next time I read something I’ll be sure to run it by you so you can parse it for me and bring out all the finer points I might have missed, and tell me why I should be offended by it.

          • Eric Boersma

            I’m sorry you don’t think that history, context, detail or nuance are import parts of things people say. Best of luck with that.

          • Mark Snyder

            Here is my problem. If you are going to accuse somebody of racism, as the author of this blog has, and you have to inject your own view of the context, history, detail, and nuance into it in order to make the accusation, they you are wrong. Period. People should be judged on what they say, not what you think they mean. Peace out.

          • Eric Boersma

            It’s not “my own view of history” that black people were literally dying in the street to stop the persecution he claims didn’t exist. That’s actual, real, verifiable history. And saying that those people didn’t exist or that they weren’t being oppressed or that the oppression wasn’t that bad is racist because it discounts the histories of non-white people. It views their experiences and their stories as lesser because of their race.

          • Mark Snyder

            Will you stop lying about what he said? He did not say ‘it didn’t exist, or ‘they didn’t exist’ or ‘they weren’t opressed’ or anything else you claim. You are seeing something in his statement that is simply not there, I suspect because you want to.

          • Eric Boersma

            Seriously. What is the point of saying that he didn’t see it except to imply that it was non-existent or not as widespread as it actually was.

            Serious question. Why would he bring that up except to downplay the suffering of blacks in the Jim Crow south?

          • Mark Snyder

            As I said before, when I read his comments I hear him saying people were happy doing the task that was put in front of them and not thinking about the divisions between themselves. I don’t think he meant to make a wider comment than that at all. Maybe I’m just naive.

          • Eric Boersma

            I hear him saying people were happy doing the task that was put in front of them and not thinking about the divisions between themselves.

            Yeah, I’m saying he’s saying the same thing. He’s saying the world was better before those uppity black people started worrying about things like voting and being able to eat at restaurants and go to the same schools as white kids and drink at the same water fountains and ride in the front of the bus.

            It’s important to understand the history that you’re talking about. Black people were horribly mistreated. Saying that things were better back then because black people weren’t complaining about being horribly mistreated doesn’t mean things were actually better. It just means that you’re OK with horribly mistreating black people as long as you don’t have to hear about it.

          • Mark Snyder

            What you hear is what you want to hear. You want to hear that someone is hearkening for the days of Jim Crow racism, so that’s what you hear. The only person putting all kinds of vile racist things into his mouth is you. He certainly did not do so himself. You want to judge somebody. So be it. I choose not to judge his heart, I don’t know it and I certainly cannot discern it from a few lines in a magazine. Your judgmentalism offends me. Since you offended me, you are a crappy individual who says crappy things. Feel better?

          • Eric Boersma

            I seriously have no words for how happy offending people who are defending Jim Crow era racism makes me.

          • Mark Snyder

            I never defended racism. Far from it. Of course, feel free to lie about me as well. Lying seems to be your forte.

          • Jeff Bys

            Perhaps by saying he didn’t see it, he was letting us know he did not take part in it? Perhaps if he intends to minimize the experience of southern blacks during the time of his youth he will actually come out and say that so you, Zack, and many others don’t have to speculate anymore. After all, he’s only had a platform to speak for a couple days right? I’m sure that will come out the more opportunity he has to speak publicly.

          • Eric Boersma

            Er, the guy’s had four years of work on a reality TV show with an average viewership of 10+ million people in addition to being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company for decades. He’s had a lot more than a couple days to speak. If he were a crusader for the rights of black people in the Jim Crow south, we would know all about what he’s said and done during the entire time he’s had a platform to talk about those things.

            And he’s had more than 48 hours since the article went public. He knows what people are saying about him. He knows how those comments were received. And he’s OK with how it’s been received. It’s not like it takes a while for information to percolate these days; he very easily could have issued a clarification explaining what he meant or felt. He hasn’t.

            Why continue to carry water for someone who said something crappy? The dude said some racist and homophobic stuff. That means he’s a crappy individual who believes crappy things. He’s not the first. I still enjoy Alec Baldwin’s work even though he’s said a whole bunch of terribly homophobic stuff. You don’t have to swear off everything he’s ever done.

          • Jeff Bys

            My point exactly sir…if he were racist I would think we would have a lot more evidence than one quote at this particular juncture…considering how outspoken he is and the abundance of speaking engagements he has had.

          • Eric Boersma

            You may want to take into account the anecdotes I’ve heard (granted, they are unverified) that he says things like this regularly while filming the show and that A&E edits them out in order to make the show palatable for a cable audience. I would say this indicates that millions of Americans don’t want to watch a fossilized bigot spout bigoted things on TV, but the reaction from the last two days suggests that many people are actually quite upset that they can’t get more fossilized bigotry in their TV diet.

          • Jeff Bys

            OK Eric…and for the record, I would carry water for you too.

          • Eric Boersma

            For the record, I don’t think that you’re way out of line or anything like that, or that you deserve to be berated (sorry if you feel like I’m treating your poorly), I’m just having difficulty understanding where you’re coming from. You don’t seem to object to any of my reasoning about why what PR said was reprehensible, you just seem to struggle with the final conclusion. I’m having difficulty figuring out why.

          • Jeff Bys

            Thanks, I don’t have a problem with the way you have treated me. I appreciate those who are passionate about social justice for others and, best I can tell, that is where you are coming from. Where I am coming from is, I do not believe Phil is being treated justly. Do I think he is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs? No. Do I think his First Amendment rights are being trampled on? Nope. But I do believe painting him as a racist with so little evidence is slanderous and unjust. What I believe you and many others are doing is judging him and his heart without enough evidence to do so justly. I believe perhaps you and many others have particular labels for old southern white guys (fossilized bigots was one), and automatically view his comments through that filter without offering grace or giving him the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, I don’t believe that is any more productive towards change that matters than trying to portray Phil as a persecuted Christian, as though his situation should be compared to Watchman Nee or Saeed Abedini or anyone else who has faced real persecution for their beliefs. Hope that clearly communicates my position and I appreciate the dialogue.

  • http://abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com/ Robert Martin

    Phil Robertson is just as broken and lost a person as anyone else. His description of his experiences in the south are evidence, not of a blatant racism on his part, but of a blindness that comes from being surrounded by darkness for so long that you can no longer discern what is light and what is dark. Can I defend his statements as not being racist? No. Can I defend his statements as being evidence of just another person blinded by the cultural narrative told so many times? Yes. Why? Because I, too, have experienced that blindness… and I’m still blind in many ways. And the problem with being blind, especially if you are born blind, is that you have no idea what it’s like NOT to be blind. In reading Phil, as I’ve used the allusion before, I feel like Frodo looking down at Gollum and feeling an intense pity and compassion because, quite honestly, that could be me. We’re all blind to some extent and it wouldn’t take much for us to be exposed as having a similar ignorance born out of our own blindness. So, the best defense of Phil Robertson is not a support for his views, not holding him up as some sort of paragon of Christian morality and common sense, but the simple defense of “There, but by the grace of God, go I.”

    Don’t know if I earned your silence.. or you earned mine… and I’m quite comfortable with the understanding that I probably CAN’T defend him… but, as with anything we can do in this life, I’ve done my best… My God have mercy on my soul…

  • http://daveherring.me/ Dave Herring

    Racism (by the american definition) is the deliberate belittlement or hatred of another based solely on their race. In Phil’s statement, I don’t see him deliberately insulting, looking down upon, or hating on another race. Racism is a heart issue. I personally don’t see him having a heart issue against black people.

    We can bend anything to make it racist. ‘African-American’ is a racist term. They’re Americans, no different than I am. No one calls me a ‘European-American’ because my family comes from Italy generations back. See what I did there?

    Racism is a heart issue. Plain and simple. And until you know the mans heart, you cannot say the man is racist.

    • http://daveherring.me/ Dave Herring

      Real quick… I could give to craps about Duck Dynasty and this whole drama. What I care about is the constant judgementalism our society has created towards one another where we can’t even look at the heart of people anymore.

      • Eric Boersma

        How much of someone’s heart do you need to see to know that defending structural racism in the Jim Crow era south doesn’t come from a place of love or justice?

        • gtpointman

          I don’t recall him defending Jim Crow laws. Have you now limited the experience of black and white to oppression only? Are you going to outlaw people’s memories now? Southern whites are not allowed to express anything but remorse and regret? I know some black folks who have some good memories growing up in the South. Does that mean that Jim Crow was a good thing? Are you going to accept these memories or condemn them or disallow them?

          • Eric Boersma

            Are you going to outlaw people’s memories now?

            Those aren’t his memories. It’s literally impossible for PR to have grown up where he did when he did and not see the mistreatment of black people. When he then suggests that those memories are representative and that black people were much happier before they could do things like vote or ride on the front of the bus and blame their current unhappiness on things like welfare, he’s defending Jim Crow racism.

          • gtpointman

            Hello Eric,
            I have some close friends who are Copts. When they describe their experiences in Egypt, they tell me that their Muslim neighbors were friends and acquaintances with whom they have fond memories. They remember their time in Egypt somewhat fondly. However Copts are discriminated against in Egypt, and every year Copts are killed, businesses burned down etc. by Muslims within a system where such violence against Christians has been tolerated. So are my friends not telling me the truth?
            I heard PR remember that low class whites and blacks who were sharecroppers/subsistence farmers shared some experiences and that he did not feel so separate from them. I would suggest that you perhaps are being less charitable to Phil because he is a ‘conservative’ redneck. I don’t relate much to Phil’s social positions, but I also don’t relate much to your need to make a person and his memories what they are not. Is it just politics Eric?

          • Eric Boersma

            Phil didn’t say that he had good memories of growing up, he said he literally never saw a black person mistreated. That’s what he actually said. Note that Phil grew up and came of age during the 1960′s — the decade that saw race marches, riots, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The only way that Phil could possibly have not seen any black people mistreated during that time is if he was literally blind. It’s not possible for him not to have seen black people mistreated.

            I heard PR remember that low class whites and blacks

            This is the racist chewy nougat at the center of what he said. You might have missed in the first time: Phil noted that he was “white trash” so he was “working with the blacks”. He says it straight out: white trash — the absolute worst of white people — worked with black people. That’s racial stratification. It’s Jim Crow in living color, in action right in front of him. And he says it was good! He claims that they were happy. That’s defense of Jim Crow racism — he’s saying that as long as black people knew their place, which I’ll remind you was with the absolute worst of white people, then they were happy. Everything was hunky dory. And then he blames black people today being unhappy on “welfare” and “entitlement programs”.

            Now, we can assume one of two things as a result of what Phil said. We can assume that he knew exactly what he was saying, or we can assume that he’s literally the most sheltered, stupidest, ignorant hick that’s ever walked the face of the Earth. I’m really not sure that’s a more charitable view.

            So no, it’s not politics. It continues to not be politics; he’s doubled down on what he said. It’s hateful and it’s dismissive and it’s hurtful, but it’s definitely not stupid. He knew exactly what he was saying, and I can’t understand why there continue to be scores of people who continue to defend the guy.

          • gtpointman

            You express alot of anger for this guy. Why should we, as you suggest assume anything about what he saw or experienced? He gave an answer to a question in which he showed no animus towards blacks. The more sure you are in your assumptions, the more it appears to me that you are invested in making this guy a villain. In Mexico I knew Indian and mestizo subsistance farmers. The Indians were a lower cast in the eyes of many local Mexicans. But the poorer folks tended to work together more often both mestizo and Indian. Should the poorer mestizos be despised somehow or called dumb or racist because they didn’t suffer the same discrimination as the Indians? Perhaps there were some who suffered more or in different ways. Why cut off that reality of human experience?
            I may not convince you of anything, but I have loads of experience that gives me a sense that you are over simplifying the lives and experiences of blacks and whites in the south. In my mind, such thinking reduces the humanity of all involved to simple constructs and relationships.

          • Eric Boersma

            You express alot of anger for this guy.

            I get angry at anyone who defends structural racism in the United States. Especially when millions of people defend him as if Christianity, a group that I belong to, is somehow required to make crass racist statements.

            Why should we, as you suggest assume anything about what he saw or experienced?

            Because we have a basic understanding of history? Literally thousands of black people were killed by roaming mobs in the US South during the Jim Crow era. PR was the starting quarterback of a division one college in the 1960′s. He wasn’t some sheltered backwater yokel. He knew exactly what was happening — it is literally not possible that he didn’t. This is a basic understanding of history.

            He gave an answer to a question in which he showed no animus towards blacks.

            No, he just dismissed their suffering as irrelevant in light of his own made up remembrances where all black people were super happy and “no one was singing the blues”…in the state where the blues were invented. Expressing outright animus is not threshold for expressing racist sentiments.

            The more sure you are in your assumptions, the more it appears to me that you are invested in making this guy a villain

            Dude could say whatever he wants if he’d stop implying that his racist comments are somehow biblical. Until then, I’m going to make sure that people have a clear picture that not all Christians believe black people were better off under segregation.

            Should the poorer mestizos be despised somehow or called dumb or racist because they didn’t suffer the same discrimination as the Indians?

            Of course note. If the mestizos (and note: this is a racially charged term that should probably be avoided) suggest that (a) the reason that any of them would work with Indian populations is because there was no other choice and (b) that those Indians are super happy being discriminated against because one of the mestizos never saw them being mistreated, then of course that’s racist.

            Perhaps there were some who suffered more or in different ways. Why cut off that reality of human experience?

            I’m not cutting off the reality of anyone’s human experience, because at no point did Phil Robertson describe anything resembling reality.

            I have loads of experience that gives me a sense that you are over simplifying the lives and experiences of blacks and whites in the south.

            Do you think black people were happy under the racist segregation of the pre-CRA southern United States? When was the last time you read a black person write about racism? Serious question: have you read a single first hand account of the racism that still exists in the southern United States this decade? There’s lots of great literature out there; I’d be happy to recommend you some. Until then, please refrain from suggesting that I’m somehow oversimplifying things. Black people are treated terribly in this country. They were treated much, much worse during the 1950′s and 1960′s. This isn’t a secret, it’s not some great insight, it’s documented historical fact. Suggesting literally anything else is horribly dismissive of the struggles that black people went through in order to try to end that racism (and are still going through today). Defending racism is racist. There’s no other way to put it. Defending the social structures of a society that is racist is defending racism. And defending the people who defend those social structures is itself reprehensible.

          • gtpointman

            Eric, the message thread is lonely now, only you and I remain. I am somewhat acquainted with latin america, and with the different people of central america and mexico. Truly, Eric -mestizo as a racially charged term? -Maybe for some, but I wouldn’t guilt wrestle me on that one. I let them identify themselves however they choose to. Mestizo is used by folks in rural Mexico to describe themselves and among themselves.
            I didn’t know of Phil, and never saw his show. I read the GQ interview when it was in the news, and parsed out the language once I heard of the controversies. I don’t relate much to Phil or his social milieu. But alot of white folks Eric did not have a choice but to sharecrop. I would hope to be sensitive to the fact that there always have been alot of poor whites in the South, poor enough to just subsist and whether racist or not did not have the time or energy to devote to holding their neighbors down or to fighting for their equality. Being poor and ignorant sometimes go hand in hand, but I wouldn’t quickly condemn someone as purely ignorant because they hold some beliefs that I don’t relate to. I would give them the benefit of the doubt. I never heard Phils response to a direct question about his feelings re Jim Crow laws. He just threw out ‘memories’ of his younger days. Maybe they reflect what he wanted them to. Most people’s expression of memories do. I do know now that Phil adopted a mixed race child who by all accounts is not discriminated against in his family. So I will let Phil’s life choice speak louder than interpretations of what he must have known and not expressed in an interview with a pop magazine. He didn’t make a point that Jim Crow laws were harmless, and I don’t know anyone acquainted with any of the history to believe otherwise. Attempts to characterize him as a crypto racist are overwrought.

  • Justin Mitchell

    American culture is obsessed with celebrities, so when someone comes along who is outspoken about [something], all the people who agree with that [something] start worshiping that person and defending anything they say. I wish we Christians were above this but many of us aren’t. We do it with movie stars, musicians, athletes (who was that Christian football player everyone was so nuts about a few years ago?) and nowadays even pastors. I listened to one of Rob Bell’s sermons once where he was admonishing the church because people were regularly calling the office on Sunday morning asking of Rob would be speaking that day or not. When he wasn’t speaking the attendance would drop.

    It’s just another form of idolatry.

  • Erin

    OK, I can’t believe I am going to do this… I don’t watch the show, but the hullabaloo over this is hard to ignore. There was one phrase above that I think requires addressing that no one has pointed out: “they were godly”. This, this is not something a racist says of those they hate. It IS something one would say about those who may be oppressed but who define themselves by something other then their oppression and who carry on in the strength of Christ. I don’t know Phil Robertson or his life, but I have to wonder if perhaps what he said reflects things as he experienced them. Perhaps he never saw some of the terrible things. Perhaps his black co-workers never expressed their grievances. Perhaps he was blessed to work for a rare farmer who treated all of his farmhands with respect. I don’t know. What this paragraph shows (without assuming too much of the context of Phil’s life) is that Phil Robertson was either lucky or naive. It’s hard to say which. Whatever else you would say of Phil Robertson you cannot blatantly call him a racist from this statement alone

    • Eric Boersma

      His statement might not be racist in 1967, but 50 years later, believing that those experiences are somehow representative of the life of black people who were literally dying in the streets in order to get out of the oppression they were surrounded in, is.

      Not seeing terrible things doesn’t mean that someone is a bad person. But decades later, after those bad things are well publicized, believing that your not experiencing terrible things is even worth bringing up diminishes the pain and struggling felt by the people who lived through them right in his own neighborhood. That he thinks those pain and struggles are not relevant because he never saw them first hand indicates that he believes that those experiences are irrelevant because they didn’t happen to him. That’s the racist part.

  • alishadefreitas

    Hey Zach,

    Thanks for this. I’m getting put off by how so many of my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ seem to be ignoring this or dismissing it’s offense as simply his experience. I just wrote on my blog:

    “I don’t doubt his sincerity, but that
    doesn’t change that he could be sincerely wrong. And his “white trash”,
    as he referred to himself, perceptions is not necessarily equal to those
    black folks reality. My grandparents lived through segregation, and
    trust me, they weren’t whistling Dixie while going to broke schools,
    sitting on the back of buses, and using Colored outhouses while whites
    used, you know indoor plumbing in public spaces. Cause it was so
    “equal”.

    Sorry my snark is rising. Over on
    Facebook, one of my friends questioned my feeling this way about his
    experiences. Aren’t I saying his memories or beliefs of his own past
    somehow “illegitimate”. No. Again, I’m not doubting his sincerity. What
    I’m saying is he is biased. We all are. We aren’t God, not omnipotent
    and omnipresent. I see through the lens of a woman, a black American, a
    wife, mom, Christian, etc. I’m not going to sit here and assume that
    I’ve got a lock on everyone else’s experiences. And I’m certainly not
    going to denigrate their experiences by claiming that what I see is the
    ultimate end all or be all. Just because I’m not witnessing Syrian
    Christians being murdered doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. See how that
    goes? Closer to home, I could say homelessness isn’t *that* bad. I mean I
    don’t really see homeless, except maybe a couple down by the 7-11 late
    at night, but that’s only a couple and on my block, none. So it’s not so
    bad. *Eyeroll*”

    To those who want to go to bat for him, just remember what other messages you might be unintentionally sending.

    • Jeff Bys

      I believe I understand your point, and I agree with you, we are all biased and we all see through the lens of our own experience. I also acknowledge your offense to Phil’s statement and believe that to be a valid response. I’m very interested to know, do you believe Phil’s comments were racist? Why or why not?

      • alishadefreitas

        Hi Jeff, thanks for replying. At this point, I’ve been brought to tears at the callousness of some Christians in response to the story. I feel the objections I’ve brought up have been misconstrued to be attacks on PR personally. This didn’t happen here, but on Facebook. Anyway, this has so hurt me I’m bowing out of further discussions. I have a rich blend of race and culture in my family- my mom is half white, I have a half Irish nephew and a niece who is half Portuguese; my husband is from Trinidad- that I often forget how ugly people can get about race. And I’ve had enough ugliness for the day. So forgive me, but I’m just not up for the discussion. For a good nuanced view of conformation bias (which I think is what’s behind the statement), read Rod Dreher’s blog at The American Conservative. God bless.

        • Jeff Bys

          I understand and thank you for your reply. I guess all this, like everything else, points to our need for a Savior. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

          • alishadefreitas

            Merry Christmas to you, too. :-)

    • gtpointman

      The Book Thief describes the circumstances of some German citizens during World War 2. It is instructive, because it is helpful to understand the suffering of others on a micro level. There were some bad Germans within a bad oppressive system. But many Germans were not bad, and they just went along and survived. So are the life experiences of all Germans then of no value as compared to say Gypsies, Gays, or Jews in Germany at the time?

  • Slouchy

    By “black person” he means a singing Disney crow.

  • http://www.ramblingsofanundercovertck.blogspot.com/ Danica Newton

    I had this exact conversation with a friend on fb yesterday. Here was her response –
    “Of course I respect your opinion but I’m not following you. I don’t know that generalizing communicates hatred. He only references what he experienced. Just because he spoke plainly about something that was unjust doesn’t mean he agreed that only whites should be farm owners and all people of color should be poor laborers. He just states the social and economic dynamic that he personally witnessed. I think he’s as popular as he is because he believes speaking plainly about simple values and truth is a better way of loving people, than using select words that tiptoe around social minefields. It’s social and economic class vs. character, not race.”

    • Eric Boersma

      The problem with your friend’s thesis is the expectation by PR that his personal experiences are somehow valid. The only reason to even bring them up is if he feels like his personally not experiencing the injustice renders it somehow lesser or invalid; it dismisses the experience of black people struggling under the oppression of the Jim Crow south as insignificant or exaggerated because they don’t fit his preconceived notions of how the world should work.

      Whether he dismisses the complaints from Jim Crow era blacks as lesser because they’re black or because of his preconceived notions doesn’t really matter; in either instance he’s perpetuating an unjust system of discrimination against black people in the southern United States that continues to this day.

      • Mark Snyder

        I’m glad you can decide for others whether their personal experiences are ‘valid’. Tell me, are my personal experiences valid?

  • Sara

    People are being incredibly daft about this. This guy said some seriously not okay things about minority groups and now he is facing the consequences. Simple as that. This has nothing to do with his Christian faith, and everything to do with the fact that he expressed himself in a way that was offensive and hurtful to people who are not heterosexual, white men like himself. I’m sure there must have been a way for him to express himself and his beliefs without doing that, but that’s not the route he chose to take. You reap what you sow and all that. The people defending him need to get some perspective because they’re just making themselves looks like complete fools. It’s embarrassing. Phil Roberson is NOT a martyr for the Christian faith. He’s an old, out-of-touch white guy who needs to think before he speaks. End of.

  • Greg Strong

    Sweet Baby Jesus needs a vessel for the demons, don’t he?

  • Michael P

    What about standing up for the philanderers, drunkards and terrorists they need our voice too…

    I guess it’s okay for what he said
    about them since they destroy marriages, murder people with their
    cars, hijacked planes and bombs?

    No? I’m bad at this.

    • Michael P
  • BreakingBadventist

    Personally I think both sides blew such a moment. GLAAD could’ve come out and said “we disagree with Phil and are sorry he feels that way, but we respect his right to his beliefs and opinions, even those we feel are wrong.” And the ‘saints’ could’ve come out and said “while we may agree with some of what Phil said, we respect the rights of the LGBT community to express their beliefs and opinions as well.”

    Talk about a missed opportunity for some truly great (not screaming or hyperventilating) dialogue! Seems like we could all use a little Matthew 5 reaction to this whole thing and really done what Jesus would’ve.

    • Sara

      I don’t think gay people should have to respect someone who compared them to animal rapists.

      • BreakingBadventist

        If you read what I said, it was that the LGBT community could respect his right to his beliefs and opinions, which I also indicated is a two-way street. The point I was trying to make is that both sides missed a chance for great dialogue here.

        • Sara

          And I’m saying that it’s impossible to have great dialogue with someone who compares you to a rapist. If Phil Roberson and his defenders want their beliefs respected then they need to stop making false and outlandish claims against the LGBT community. That’s what needs to happen first and foremost. There is no way to dialogue with people who are unabashedly proud of their prejudices and always seem to pick the rudest ways of expressing themselves, instead of actually acting like Christ.

  • Hannah

    “I’m with the blacks because we’re white trash.” This sentence in particular leaped out at me. Kinda like a kick to the stomach.

  • Tiny Hands

    Dunno why this is being overlooked. Definitely a much more ignorant statement.

    But being shocked that a reality show star is a real person with real ideas and opinions, that’s the real tragedy, IMO. If only we could go back to before Phil got real. =P

  • stephani

    I found this quote to be very random in the article. It was in a box all by itself with no explanation as to why this comment was made. It included the “…” a couple of times, What was said in the “…” that was omitted? What prompted this statement to be made? I think the context of this statement would help to clarify and is desperately needed. I felt that the entire article was poorly written and the interviewer/writer was just as crude, if not more crude than Phil.

  • Mary

    Only God can judge the heart.

  • Gregg Park

    I’m not going to defend Mr. Robertson’s comments, but I’d like to offer my thoughts on what I think he was trying to express. I think he was making a commentary on the current state of the African American family unit, compared to the African American family unit of the pre-civil rights, pre-welfare state America. Was life fair for them back then? Of course not, but is it any fairer now? Were they better off then? Not financially obviously. In terms of legal justice, it’s hard to say. Look how many young men are incarcerated, on probation, or “in the system”. We’re African American families of that era more apt to have a mother and father living under the same roof and looking after their children together? The answer to that is yes. I think that is of vital importance of that to the well being of children of any race. Were African Americans happier, overall, in the fifties and early sixties, even with all of the injustice, racism, and inequality? I don’t know. I’m white, and I wasn’t there but I do know that equality, fairness and prosperity don’t equal happiness for anybody.

    • Sara

      They aren’t getting lynched anymore, so yeah, I’d say they are better off.

      Conservatives really need to stop acting like black people haven’t made any progress in the past 50 years. Are things perfect nowadays? No. Absolutely not. There still is a lot of work to be done to combat racism and inequalities that exist, but this is a group of people that it was literally socially acceptable to hang by their necks from trees if they looked at you wrong back in the 1950s. Lets not gloss over that stuff, because it is real and it happened. And honestly, if black people really were happy in those days then the Civil Rights movement would never have happened. But it did because things were extremely awful. Lets please not pretend that they were anything other than extremely awful. I was not there either but I still know that it was a bad scene.

      • Gregg Park

        check the facts… blacks had more savings… lived in close knit families… owned more property before the civil rights movement… not sure what the relationship is but those are the facts.

        • Sara

          What “facts” are these? Can you site some unbiased sources that say that blacks were better off before Civil Rights? You seem dangerously out of touch with reality if you want to claim that black people had it good back then. I don’t even know how you can claim that in all seriousness. What of the lynchings? The separate drinking fountains and bathrooms? Everything that entailed racial segregation in general? How can you gloss over all that? How can you discount what people like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. did for their people to achieve equality? Are you even from earth? What is going on here?

          • Gregg Park

            Sara, things like “better off” and “happy” are very subjective. You don’t get what I am saying in the slightest. I’m not surprised as you are likely blinded by political correctness. Have you been to an inner city lately? If “better off” is where your going, it doesn’t look so good from the cheap seats. Did they suffer terrible injustices in the fifties and sixties? Absolutely they did. The civil rights movement forced the hand of the southern segregationists, changed the laws and put African Americans on equal footing, as it always should have been. No glossing over anything. Of course it did not change the hearts of the segregationists. Legislation never accomplishes that. Are less black men murdered or imprisoned now? Do less blacks live in abject poverty in our inner cities? Are black families closer knit now? Less black men are lynched in public by white people who will never pay for their crime, I’ll give you that. Are they happier? I can’t answer that, and neither can you without a lot of glossing over.

          • Sara

            Okay, first of all, anyone who uses the term “political correctness” seriously in a sentence probably isn’t worth listening to.

            Secondly, I never said that things were perfect nowadays, we still have a lot of work to be done to achieve full racial equality, and equality in general, but if you are seriously trying to argue that things haven’t improved for people since the ’50s I don’t know what to tell you.

            I have some black friends and I can tell you that even though they are perfectly aware of the problems still facing them and their community, they readily agree that that they are much better off than they were pre-civil rights. So I’ll let them speak for themselves. I don’t need to listen to your messed up neo-con bullshit.

          • Gregg Park

            I don’t really identify with the neo-con’s at all Sara, but you can keep thinking that. I’m not sure it’s worth listening to someone who has to make a point of telling me they have some black friends. Enjoy your racist white guilt :-) My job here is done.

          • Sara

            You’re a real piece of work. I mentioned friends of mine who were black so I could make a point about actual people instead of just speculating about whether or not they are happier now, than in the ~olden days like you seem to be doing. Racism still exists, inequalities still exist, it can definitely be hard for people in this day and age, no two ways about it. But I think if you asked any black person if they’d rather go back to 1952 the answer you’d unequivocally get would be NO.

    • Sara

      By the way, sexists like to use this exact argument on women too. I’ve heard conservatives argue that women were “happier” pre-feminism as well. Which is bullshit. Things like feminism and Civil Rights and other social movements don’t happen if people are happy. They just don’t. So while I will not argue that women, black people, and other minorities still have hurdles to overcome, I will never agree with someone who insists that people must have been happier in a time when they had fewer rights and were treated like sub-human beings. You’re never going to convince me of that. It’s a favorite argument of white, middle-class heterosexual men (which is what I’m assuming you are) and it’s utter crap and always will be.

      • Gregg Park

        I never said if they were happier or not Sara. I’m a middle class white guy. How would I know? If you’re not a 65+ year old black person, you don’t know either. What I do see is that they do not seem very happy or well off overall now and I feel the problems they are facing as a culture are as challenging as any problems they faced in the fifties.

        • Sara

          No. They are not. They are not facing a culture just as hard is was in the ’50s and ’60s. Have you ever actually asked a black person these things? I don’t think you have. Again, not once have I denied that they still face hardships. We, as a society, still have a lot of work to do, but things have gotten better and I think, generally, people are happier. Now, obviously, black people, like all people, are not a monolith and obviously people still face things that make their lives hard but like I said, ask any black person if they’d rather go back to the 50s and they will tell you HELL NO. Because guess what? Things were worse back then.

          • Gregg Park

            I’m not going to keep going around in a circle with someone who refuses to open their mind. Merry Christmas Sara. I wish you well.

          • Sara

            Refuses to open my mind? About what? About the fact that you’re essentially saying black people haven’t made any progress since the ’50s? Why should I be open minded about that? It’s completely FALSE. You have no facts to back yourself up. You have not brought anything into this discussion besides your own narrow-mindedness. I have asserted time and time again that I am aware that things are still tough out there for a lot of people. I’m not stupid. But why would you think that people were happier in a time when they were literally treated like they weren’t even human beings? It wasn’t safe to be a black person in the pre-civil rights era. Stepping outside could get you killed. So guess what? You can take your Merry Christmas and shove it. I don’t want well wishes from someone so ludicrously out of touch with reality.

          • Sara

            I want to add to that a bit. You said in your original comment that in the pre-civil rights era, black children were more likely to be raised by two parents, which apparently, is the only acceptable way to have a happy, healthy family. But tell me this. Is having a mommy and daddy at home really better when, at any moment, mommy or daddy could by lynched just for looking at a white person the wrong way or for not knowing their place? This is what I’m talking about. The nuclear family structure was more common-place in general back then, for all people, but that does not mean that we should exalt that era above our own. It was a highly dangerous time to be a black person. It feels to me like you are minimizing the struggle, which is why you’re making me so mad. And for the last time, I am not saying that things are suddenly sunshine and rainbows for black people now, BUT they have improved since the ’50s and I think the majority of black people are thankful for that. We just have to keep moving forward, and creating and even more just society for all people. Idolizing the past and downplaying what happened back then is not the way to do that.

          • Gregg Park

            I’m sorry that reading comprehension is not your strong suit Sara.

          • Sara

            I’m reading what you’re saying just fine, Gregg. But thanks for the condescension. Just admit that you’re a douchebag and move on.

          • Gregg Park

            Pleased that you have run out of common sense and reduced yourself to calling names. I guess my work here is done. :-)

          • Sara

            Keep telling yourself that, Gregg. Keep telling yourself that. Even though you’ve literally brought nothing to the table whatsoever except some BS arguement of “golly gee, I wasn’t around during segregation so I really have no way of knowing whether or not black people were happy. But they totally owned more property and all the kids and mommys and daddys. I’m totally not saying they were happy, because I’m a white and I really don’t know, but lets speculate and insinuate that they were anyway!”

            Douche.

  • Hannah

    Part of the problem is also that a lot of Christians have a martyrdom complex, so whenever they receive negative criticism about anything they’ve said or done, they just cry “persecution!” (and smile to themselves that they get to suffer for their Lord) and continue on. This martyrdom complex shuts down any chance for personal introspective, change, or growth, because it keeps many Christians from stopping for a moment to think that maybe what they’ve done is actually wrong or just not nice, and maybe they should rethink their approach or beliefs.

  • gtpointman

    Black sharecroppers and white sharecroppers worked together in the South. Either Phil lies about what he recalls or has fonder memories of his younger days. Jim Crow laws were odious, but every moment of a black person’s life in the Jim Crow era was not filled with suffering and horror. It is easy to condemn his memories, but why should we? I would not attempt to limit a black individuals’ life story to the reality of segregation laws, nor would I attempt to define a white southerner or his offspring by those laws. As a non-Christian I wouldn’t attempt to define who has a more correct “Christian” perspective. But relations between people even in oppressive systems can be quite different on an interpersonal level when all are living for subsistence.

  • Lydia

    “If you can successfully defend the substance of what he’s saying from a Christian perspective and not sound racist, you win. ”
    There is a universal agreement on what “sounds” racist? Or are you the judge on this one?

  • Jonny Vincent

    So is it racist to recall personal memories and describe them as you see them? I’m Irish so maybe there’s some Americanism I don’t appreciate here, but the man doesn’t sound like he’s discriminating on racial grounds.

    It’s like calling someone a homophobe if they don’t want to be involved with gays, or with liars, hypocrites, fornicators, etc.

    Having said that should we who are free from the power of this world be able to be in it, not of it, to exalt the name of Jesus by serving the broken people who don’t know him, by showering them with love.

    Just a thought.