Okay, so first of all, I’m a white guy. So, I’m probably going to be accused of being a racist for even writing this, but these things should be said…somewhere. Secondly, I also adhere to the Doctrines of Grace and actually do not agree with a some of the convictions of the professors at Southwestern, but that again is a non-issue for me in writing this blog. I just state that so you know I’m not writing this out of merely “we’re all Southern Baptist and we have to stick up for each other, no matter what.” I pray I can judge every issue, whether in my denomination or outside, with fairness and consistency, not swaying to the culture around me.
That being said, here are some reasons the Southwestern professors weren’t racist when they thought about, dressed up, took the picture, and posted it (no matter what Lecrae says).
All rappers are not black.
In fact, the rapping professor whom they were making the photo for was Native American. Should he apologize for not being black and using rap? Of course not. Rap is a style of music, not a race (also, there is only one race, the human race).
All thugs are not black.
Believe it or not, there are several white guys that go around as thugs, dressing the exact way these professors did in this photo shoot. No one decries these people as being racist… Why? Because thug does not equal black. The true racists would be the ones saying thug culture equals black culture. That would be like saying when Lecrae raps about rising up out of the thug culture he is rapping to black people only. Of course that is not true.
In my high school for senior week only five years ago, we had “gangsta day.” All of us in the class, white or black, dressed up as thugs. No faculty member, or black peer for that matter, decried the day as racist. Why? Because the true racists says only black people are thugs; whereas, everyone else realizes there are all sorts of ethnicity associated with thug culture, not just black people.
When people cry out against the SWBTS photo as being racist they are capitulating to the notion that black people can only amount to thug life (being defined here as gun violence, drugs, et. al.) and cannot rise above it. I vehemently oppose this position. All ethnicities can fall into thug life and all ethnicities can rise out of it. The color of your skin does not determine the reality of your life.
Their intent was not to belittle
Now, I cannot know what was in the mind of the SWBTS professors when they were shooting this photo, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “haha! we will certainly belittle all these black people with this photo!” The attempt was humor in all rapport with their colleague who was leaving. The true racist is the one who looks at the photo with the gang signs, guns, and graffiti and automatically thinks “black people!” Ummm.. Hello? White people are in gangs. Hispanics commit gun violence. Asians paint graffiti. Again, ethnicity does not determine one’s reality.
One article compared their action to the “blackies”, people in the 19th-20th century who acted in such a way to belittle black people. These actors, however, painted their face black and exaggerated their facial features to purposefully make fun of black people. Now, believe it or not, none of the SWBTS professors painted themselves black. Perhaps they don’t associate thug culture with black people like all the actual racists do! The true mockery being made of black people are all the ones claiming this photo of thug culture (gangs, gun violence et. al.) is unanimous with black culture.
So, where’s the true racism in the Southern Baptist Convention?
The fact that will still predominately have separate black and white churches. The secular world around us came together after segregation more than our convention! What a mockery to the gospel! The gospel claims that it doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Greek (or white, black, asian, hispanic, et. al) we are all bound together as one family in the Gospel. But our convention cannot do better at coming together (especially in the Southern U.S.) than the pagans around us?! We preach “every tribe and nation” while not practicing it at all. But what can I say? The church I attend is predominately white, I suppose I’m no better. However, I chose the church by looking up the SBC, 9 Marks, Founders, and their church website, not by looking at the color of the peoples’ skin when I walked in.
I am surprised most of all that the SWBTS staff conceded that they were being racist (although I understand political correctness combined with SBC history probably lead to this concession; however, truth still needs to be plainly stated). We’re surrounded by a “thug life” culture. Lecrae didn’t pop up on Baptist Humor’s Youtube page and decry their “Thug Life” videos in which they give popular preachers (of all sorts of ethnicities) shades, a gold chain, and a cigar, captioned with “Thug Life”. Why make a big deal of one but not the other? Both are intended for humorous purposes. Both are not in attempt to belittle one particular ethnicity. I think we can see who the true racists are, and its not the SWBTS professors.