ESPN Senior Writer: 'Duck Dynasty' Patriarch 'Racist or Dumb,' 'Disgrace to the South'
An ESPN senior writer said that Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson is a "disgrace to the South" and either a "racist or dumb" for saying that he did not witness the mistreatment of blacks in his personal experience in the Jim Crow South. Robertson described himself as someone who was "white trash" and worked in the fields with blacks in his controversial interview with GQ magazine.
Thompson, who writes extensively on SEC football, the South, and about issues involving race, said that every Southerner should "condemn" Robertson before repeatedly bashing Robertson by tweeting that Robertson was either a "racist or dumb" or "dumb or a liar."
Thompson also said those in the South who did not speak up against Jim Crow were "silent cowards," and he called Robertson an "idiot" before saying that Robertson should have said his experience was the exception because he said there were lynchings in Robertson's parish.
In his interview, Robertson simply said he was "with the blacks" because the blacks he worked with in the fields were "singing and happy" and did not have vitriol toward "these doggone white people."
Robertson was suspended from the show for supposedly "anti-gay" remarks in the same interview before being reinstated last week by A&E, which is owned by Disney, ESPN's parent company. Robertson's comments about the Jim Crow South have not been discussed as much as his comments about sexuality. Here were Robertson's brief remarks to GQ magazine:
Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. 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.”
Here are Thompson's reactions to Robertson's comments:
Writing at Breitbart News, Jerome Hudson noted that nothing from Robertson's interview would make one think that he is a racist:
The fact that Phil Robertson has a mixed-race adopted grandson is also rarely reported. Does having a mixed-race grandson mean that Phil Robertson isn’t a racist? No. But with no evidence to the contrary, the existence of racial animus should not be automatically assumed.
If your claim is that Phil Robertson is a racist homophobe, then the burden of proof is on you.
But until that evidence presents itself, can we please stop the witch-hunts?