Normally, when a bunch of white dudes post a photo of themselves dressed up to mock black people, donning chains, hoodies, and bandanas, essentially everything but the actual blackface, they’re dumbass college kids who can easily hid behind the excuse of youthful ignorance. But now we know that old professors can get in on the action too.
On Tuesday, professors from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, TX, shared a super fun photo of five grown men dressed up in bandanas, sideways hats, and chains, with hands pointing in all kinds of directions. One of them even has a gun!
Above them reads, “Notorious S.O.P.” (School of Preaching) in what is probably the #1 free graffiti font on DaFont.com.
After a serious and well-deserved backlash on social media, one of the teachers who appeared in the photo explained on Twitter that it was given as a goodbye token to a faculty member who has a penchant for rapping (?!?!?), but apologized anyway.
Yesterday, Paige Patterson, the president of the school, released a statement regarding the photo, titled “Racism IS a Tragic Sin” (as if it was a new idea, like no no guys, racism REALLY IS bad). The statement starts off insisting that while Patterson grew up in super-racist Texas, his actual household was “free of racist perspectives,” which seems a little utopian, but sure. Patterson doubled-down on the backstory that the picture was a joking goodbye gift to a Native American preacher with a penchant for rapping. He then wrote:
But, as all members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake, and one for which we deeply apologize. Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives.
The apology, which includes a promise to work to end racism on campus, seems sincere enough, right up until the vow to refocus back on the mission of “getting the Gospel to every man and woman on the earth.” It’s not like religious conquest doesn’t have a long and storied history of racism or anything, but sure, nothing problematic with that at all! I’m sure the professors have learned something of a lesson, but as we all know, only God truly forgives.