Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty "Rap" photo sparks reaction

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Bert Perry's picture

As Weird Al and Jim Carrey would tell you, it takes a deft touch for a white man to do rap.  Plus, looking at the picture, those a bit familiar with the LA gang scene would emphatically recommend against appropriating the attire of the Crips, as the professors here have done--one admittedly showing a touch of "Blood" as well. 

Between this and the stained glass window featuring Rick Warren, I am hard pressed to pick a "winner" (loser?) for most appalling, though.  I'm quite frankly surprised Warren allowed it; hopefully if I had his fame and position, I'd respond with an emphatic Don't you dare! if someone suggested it.

Bert Perry's picture

A second thought here; caucasians, especially those who haven't lived around LA or other places that deal with the Crips and Bloods, are not going to quite "get" the message that comes across to blacks.  The professors are wearing gang colors of one of the most violent gangs in the country, and that is a mostly african-american gang.  They are flashing some real or fake gang signs, and five will get you ten a lot of their detractors can tell you what they mean, if anything.  Even flashing the pistol has a very specific meaning in the hood, as do the bandannas and all that.  Like it or not, it is a clear caricature of black culture, just like blackface.

So while these guys may not have racist intent, they owe their detractors a hearty thank you for a collective what the? response.  Southern Baptists especially need to be careful about this for historical reasons.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

A second thought here; caucasians, especially those who haven't lived around LA or other places that deal with the Crips and Bloods, are not going to quite "get" the message that comes across to blacks.  The professors are wearing gang colors of one of the most violent gangs in the country, and that is a mostly african-american gang.  They are flashing some real or fake gang signs, and five will get you ten a lot of their detractors can tell you what they mean, if anything.  Even flashing the pistol has a very specific meaning in the hood, as do the bandannas and all that.  Like it or not, it is a clear caricature of black culture, just like blackface.

So while these guys may not have racist intent, they owe their detractors a hearty thank you for a collective what the? response.  Southern Baptists especially need to be careful about this for historical reasons.

Bert, you nailed it.  I couldn't have said it any better myself.  The clear caricature may not have any meaning to seminary professors, but it is real especially among African-Americans that grew up in the 'hood.   One of my frustrations with blogs such as the Polemics report and Pulpit and Pen is that they lack speech that is always full of grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6)  Some sensitivity to our African-American Christian brothers who are regularly caricatured this way in their lives would be helpful in race relations with our black brothers and sisters in Christ.  By the way, I realize that the motivations and intentions of these seminary professors were not evil at all, but to dismiss this as not really a big deal is definitely a problem among White Christians that feel that way.  

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Thoughts on the SWBTS photo. 

No, it is definitely not racist.  Some are way too sensitive about race. 

At times, we all need to lighten up.  Laugh, have a good time. 

I’ve always admired a Bible scholar that did not (always) act like a Bible scholar. 

And, these are first-class Bible scholars. 

 

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-time-to-laugh.html

 

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

It was a very stupid thing to do.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Jim's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

 

At times, we all need to lighten up.  Laugh, have a good time. 

You're right but ... we live in the era of social media where photos and comments go viral. 

10 years ago before Twitter, Facebook, etc, this would have been just a silly photo with perhaps 10 copies made. Today ... well this!

People are easily offended today

Bert Perry's picture

Let's assume the professors at a historically African-American seminary like Payne decided to dress up as one of the less savory pictures of white culture.  Maybe they could be hillbillies with missing/meth teeth and physical deformities from inbreeding passing around a jug of shine in front of a miserable shack with prominent pictures of General Lee and a few cars up on blocks.  Another possibility could be dressing up as "knights" of you know who--also with bad teeth/etc.,--going to a cross burning, or maybe some folks from Aryan Nations.

Laughing?  Or perplexed?

Now flip things around, and add to the mix that your direct ancestors have been the target of such "humor" for a century or so, including being denied jobs, homes, and the like.  And the professors are descended from those who did it to your ancestors.

Still laughing?  Or are you asking "why are they doing this?".  

Of course, the Payne faculty have never, to my knowledge, done anything like this, but this is, really, how it's going to hit among blacks.

Steve Davis's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

Thoughts on the SWBTS photo. 

No, it is definitely not racist.  Some are way too sensitive about race. 

At times, we all need to lighten up.  Laugh, have a good time. 

I’ve always admired a Bible scholar that did not (always) act like a Bible scholar. 

And, these are first-class Bible scholars. 

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-time-to-laugh.html

David R. Brumbelow

I'm all for a good laugh. This was funny only if you are in a bubble somewhere. I don't know how anyone who actually works or lives in urban areas and has experience with gangs or gang activity would think this was funny. Maybe it was funny to those who did it. And I don't think they were malicious or trying to offend anyone. But not every photo needs to be on public media. 

Paul Henebury's picture

I don't know that I could identify the Crips, but I can surely identify stupid.   

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Jim wrote:

 

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

 

 

At times, we all need to lighten up.  Laugh, have a good time. 

 

 

You're right but ... we live in the era of social media where photos and comments go viral. 

10 years ago before Twitter, Facebook, etc, this would have been just a silly photo with perhaps 10 copies made. Today ... well this!

People are easily offended today

How often have you been followed in a grocery store or in the mall by paranoid employees because of your color of your skin and you happen to be wearing a hoodie?  How about being regularly stopped by police because of profiling?  Its kinda like mosquito bites.  When you get bitten a few times, its fine, when it happens constantly all the time it becomes very annoying and you begin to complain about the problem, which is not being a snowflake or overly sensitive.  That's how it is with my students.  They are followed all the time.  In Grand Rapids, a study just came out that showed that blacks are pulled over twice as many times as whites.  Interestingly the area in GR where this happened the most was in a mostly white neighborhood of GR.  In minority communities, it was about even between whites and blacks.   It gets tiresome for black Christians to deal with this.  The responses of those believing that these African-Americans are overly sensitive is why fundamentalist churches don't do well ministering in multi-ethnic and minority communities.  Instead of really taking the time to listen and learn, we fundamentalists make assumptions.   None of the black Christians on twitter were assuming motive or their intentions, rather they were calling them out on something that shouldn't have happened.  I think also there is a disconnect about what is racism as well?  Black Christians and White Christians would define racism differently, but that's for another discussion.   

Steve Davis's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

I don't know that I could identify the Crips, but I can surely identify stupid.   

I agree with Paul. This sounds like replacement ethnology.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Steve Davis wrote:

 

Paul Henebury wrote:

I don't know that I could identify the Crips, but I can surely identify stupid.   

 

 

I agree with Paul. This sounds like replacement ethnology.

that's funny!!!!!!

David R. Brumbelow's picture

For any who may think the SBC and SWBTS do not care about all races: 

A total of 21 ethnic faculty members serve at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, including African Americans, Native Americans, Koreans, Hispanics and Asians. The ethnic student population increased 14 percent between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, climbing to 1,477.

Approximately half of North American Mission Board church plants are predominantly non-Anglo.
 
LifeWay Christian Resources is the “largest commercial publisher of Spanish Bibles in the world.”
 
For more than 20 years, the student body at Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary) has been about 60 percent non-Anglo.

Non-Anglo churches make up about 20% of SBC churches. 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

In my experience, everybody makes mistakes, and if one makes appropriate apologies, it's not permanent damage.  Double bonus points if they make a point of helping out at a minority or inner city church for a week or two to "get the lay of the land".  

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“In an effort to be humorous, we made a mistake and communicated something that was completely foreign to anything that any of us felt in our hearts. To say that we are sorry will not be sufficient for many. We understand. To each of those and to everyone, we extend an invitation to visit this campus unannounced and at a time of your choosing and witness the love of Christ extended to all indiscriminately and to the best of our ability to every individual who sets foot on the campus…”

-Dr. Paige Patterson, president, SWBTS

http://www.bpnews.net/48753/swbts-apologizes-for-twitter-photo

David R. Brumbelow

Jay's picture

Kudos to Dr. Patterson for dealing with this quickly and seriously.  I appreciated that.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells