As a going away joke for a professor who liked to rap his Bible lessons, a group of professors from a Baptist Theological Seminary dressed up like ‘rappers’ for a photo that was posted to Twitter. But because all the professors are all white, the photo caused a major uproar among social justice warriors.
The original post by professor of preaching Barry McCarty of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, showed five white professors dressed like apparent gangbangers with gold chains and bandanas. Some even holding their fingers out like guns. Behind the five posing preachers were the words “Notorious S.O.P.” (The latter standing for “school of preaching”).
McCarty later explained that the photo was supposed to be a joke for retiring professor Vern Charette who sometimes liked to perform his preaching in a rap song style. But McCarty also pulled the photo down after the social justice warriors attacked him and the other profs calling them racists.
The incident caused Jemar Tisby to write a long finger-waving article at The Washington Post where he actually called the photo an example of “blackface.” Of course, not one of the professors in the piece had donned black face, but according to Tisby just pretending to be gangbangers or rappers was exactly the same as “blackface.”
“In a similar way, putting on clothes typically associated with racial and ethnic minorities communicates that a person’s culture has value only as entertainment,” Tisby insisted. “That’s why you can’t dismiss this photo as ‘just a joke’ It harks back to a history of dehumanization.”
Tisby went on to Tweet that the photo is an “opportunity for substantive change.”
Maybe it's "just a picture," but it's also an opportunity for substantive change around race and evangelicalism. https://t.co/K41WZR7cpb pic.twitter.com/fIPqCirWnV
— Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) April 27, 2017
CNN reporter Eugene Scott also attacked the photo saying it was evidence that the white professors have little interaction with black people, though it seems obvious that Scott doesn’t really know if these professors do interact with blacks or not.
'A photo like this evolves in an environment that lacks meaningful interaction with people from other cultures.' https://t.co/W1xRCCgRK3
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) April 27, 2017
Apologies were made all around by the professors and the school and one of the men in the photo, school dean David Allen said, “I apologize for a recent image I posted which was offensive. Context is immaterial. @swbts stance on race is clear as is mine.”
But even as the social justice warriors puffed their Twitter accounts with outrage, not everyone saw the photo as offensive.
@JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty Did you see Straight Out Of Compton? Do you know how well that movie did? When I saw this, I though they were imitating the popular culture.
— Patrick Cusack (@ppcusack) April 25, 2017
@JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty Unfortunately we now live in a world where everyone is offended by everything.
— Jonathan Henery (@RaktoniCanary) April 27, 2017
@JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty As a latino and former student of these men, let’s not make a personal joke a demonstrative character reference.
— Jonathan Garcia (@JoNathanBG1482) April 27, 2017
@Anthony_11Six @JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty Yes, imitating popular culture, seeing themselves as relevant to youths. Whatever else they are, that’s all this photo reveals. Amusing.
— Leigh Anne (@BoomerWoman) April 27, 2017
@JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty It was a tongue-in-cheek dad-joke. They meant to satirise their un-coolness. #storminateacup #justajoke
— TillyToogood (@tillytoogood) April 27, 2017
@JonathanMerritt @barrymccarty What’s wrong with this?
— ?A skeeza? (@aSkeeza) April 26, 2017
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