With Jesse Jackson now throwing his hat into the ring, the Duck Dynasty situation has reached full Ringling Bros. mode. Phil Robertson’s statements in GQ, Jackson says, are not only offensive, they’re “more offensive” than the bus driver who tried to force Rosa Parks into the back of a bus nearly 60 years ago.
Robertson’s GQ interview has since come under fire for the anti-gay comments he’s been defending, but he also said that he never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” during his time growing up in the south:
"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."
All that adds up to a vulgar display of white privilege to Jackson, who says that the Rosa Parks bus driver was at least “following state law” in a statement to ABC News:
"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.'"
Jackson is now requesting meetings with both A&E and Cracker Barrel to discuss any future broadcasts or merchandising options regarding Duck Dynasty and their evidently bigoted patriarch.
But, to counter Jackson’s ire, consider the position of Lisa Miller, a 44-year-old lesbian and fan of Duck Dynasty who has taken to Gannet with a letter decrying the outcry against Robertson. Of the “so-called injustice,” she says that “handling this with love and respect will have a better chance of ever helping” than something like Jackson’s response:
“Anger only causes more anger. Handling this with love and respect will have a better chance of ever helping someone to maybe one day see that it might be different than they once thought.
Recently, I took a North Carolina hunter safety course to learn to hunt because of my new interest that I have gotten from watching my boys on “Duck Dynasty.” I feel that it is going to be an exciting new chapter of my life and I am very grateful for this show in helping me to see hunting in a new way that I never really understood before.
Just like me learning to see hunting in a new light because I receive so much enjoyment in watching the show, Phil Robertson could learn to understand or accept a gay couples’ relationship as something different than he ever believed about it before, by receiving love and acceptance of his beliefs and not hate against them.”
Touching, sure, and undoubtedly levelheaded. But somehow I doubt Jesse Jackson is taking notes.