Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty: Homophobia is one thing, pure ignorance is another

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM

click to enlarge OLD TIMES THERE: Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson remembers a happier time in Louisiana than this photograph recalls. - LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
  • Library of Congress
  • OLD TIMES THERE: Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson remembers a happier time in Louisiana than this photograph recalls.
The GQ interview by Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has set off a tempest. His homophobic remarks — comparing being gay with bestiality — got him suspended by A&E, which airs the weirdly popular show. But let's bend way over backward and give his religious views, however perverse, some explanation for intolerance of gay people.

A reader called this additional remark to my attention and it's smack-your-forehead stuff.

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.”

There aren't enough megabytes to detail how wrong-headed this is. You could put it down to ignorance only if you believe Robertson never read a newspaper or watched TV news. Particularly when you know that Phil Robertson grew up in Caddo Parish, outside Shreveport, and now lives in West Monroe, which is in Ouachita Parish. Northern Louisiana  isn't known for its racial harmony. The Louisiana Encyclopedia mentions after talking about Louisiana as the land where Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal) was born and where rigid segregation statutes soon followed:

Not coincidentally, lynchings increased dramatically after 1900, primarily in the northern parishes of Caddo, Ouachita and Morehouse. Between 1900 and 1931, more than half the lynchings in the state occurred north of Alexandria. The numbers of African Americans lynched are in the thousands though detailed statistics are skewed because police officers in the northern parishes rarely considered lynchings as homicides.

Of course, Robertson wasn't born until 1946. And by then, maybe all the darkies were just a-singin' and a-whistlin' — at least they were if they knew what was good for them.

The catalogue of racial horrors in my home state is too brutal and deep to fully recount. But the images are stark: Plaquemines dictator Leander Perez's threat to exile civil rights activists to a barge in the mosquito-infested wetlands; vicious mothers shouting curses at little Ruby Bridges as she tried to enroll in a white elementary school in New Orleans; the violent racist backlash when black people stood up in hate-driven Bogalusa where the vow was, "Niggers Ain't Gonna Run this Town."

If Phil Robertson went to school with black children in rural Caddo Parish before his 1964 high school graduation it would be surprising. My own Southwest Louisiana school district, led by somebody then considered a remarkably liberal school superintendent, acceded without lawsuit to integration in 1965-66, but only at first by a bare handful of some of the finest of local black high school students.  In fact, a Shreveport Times article says the first two black students to enter a white school anywhere in Caddo Parish occurred in 1965. It doesn't say if it was out between Vivian and Hosston, where Robertson lived, but I'd bet against it.

Still, maybe Phil was right. Maybe his fellow cotton pickers were happy with their lot then and singing the blues now about their present state. You think?

PS — The Family Research Council stands with the Duck boys. Which is about all you need to know. Surely there will shortly be a call to buy some Chick-fil-A to show where you stand.




Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (71)

Showing 1-50 of 71

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 71

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Raw feelings in the Arkansas Justice Building over workload, pay

    Strained relations between the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals broke into public view this week. I expect more to come.
  • Denny Altes resigns as state drug czar

    Former legislator Denny Altes of Fort Smith, appointed state drug prevention director by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in May 2015, resigned today effective July 1.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Most Viewed

  • Camera catches racist rant in NWA Walmart

    A Facebook video that catches an ugly rant against a Latina woman and a black person in a Walmart in Centerton, Ark., has gone viral. Note that a Walmart manager in the video takes the side of those berated and the company said it doesn't condone such.
  • Feds announce 61 named in 18-month Little Rock drug investigation

    The U.S. attorney's office announced today that a joint operation with local law enforcement had led this morning to arrests in the indictment of dozens of drug and gun dealers in the Little Rock area, the culmination of an 18-month investigation.
  • A modern mercantile for downtown

    The storefront at the corner of Clinton, Cantrell, Markham and Cumberland (can there be any other intersection anywhere like it?) has brown paper covering the windows and a sign saying LEASED, so we asked Moses Tucker realtor John Martin what gives.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation