What the Duck?
GQ Magazine Interview with Drew Magary
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.”According to Phil’s autobiography—a ghostwritten book he says he has never read—he spent his days after Tech doing odd jobs and his evenings getting drunk, chasing tail, and swallowing diet pills and black mollies, a form of medicinal speed. In his midtwenties, already married with three sons, a piss-drunk Robertson kicked his family out of the house.
But Robertson soon realized the error of his ways, begged Kay to come back, and turned over his life to Jesus Christ. . .
For what it’s worth—and since I actually looked it up—the violent-crime rate here in America has plummeted since 1990, even as church attendance has stayed the same. And, of course, Phil is conveniently ignoring centuries upon centuries of war, bloodshed, and human enslavement committed in the name of Christ. But I doubt any of that would sway Phil.
. . . It’s the direction he would like to point everyone: back to the woods. Back to the pioneer spirit. Back to God. “Why don’t we go back to the old days?” he asked me at one point.
A scene from "the old days" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 17, 1838:
As a Southerner I feel that it is my duty to stand up here to-night and bear testimony against slavery. I have seen it -- I have seen it. I know it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its wing: I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influences, and its destructiveness to human happiness. It is admitted by some that the slave is not happy under the worst forms of slavery.
But I have never seen a happy slave. I have seen him dance in his chains, it is true; but he was not happy. There is a wide difference between happiness and mirth. Man cannot enjoy the former while his manhood is destroyed, and that part of the being which is necessary to the making, and to the enjoyment of happiness, is completely blotted out. The slaves, however, may be, and sometimes are, mirthful. When hope is extinguished, they say, "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
[Just then stones were thrown at the windows, -- a great noise without, and commotion within.]
What is a mob? What would the breaking of every window be? What would the levelling of this Hall be? Any evidence that we are wrong, or that slavery is a good and wholesome institution? What if the mob should now burst in upon us, break up our meeting and commit violence upon our persons -- would this be any thing compared with what the slaves endure? No, no. . . [Great noise.] I thank the Lord that there is yet life left enough to feel the truth, even though it rages at it -- that conscience is not so completely seared as to be unmoved by the truth of the living God.
Many persons go to the South for a season, and are hospitably entertained in the parlor and at the table of the slave-holder. They never enter the huts of the slaves; they know nothing of the dark side of the picture, and they return home with praises on their lips of the generous character of those with whom they had tarried.
Or if they have witnessed the cruelties of slavery, by remaining silent spectators they have naturally become callous -- an insensibility has ensued which prepares them to apologize even for barbarity. . . .
[Another outbreak of mobocratic spirit, and some confusion in the house.]. . . I feel that all this disturbance is but an evidence that our efforts are the best that could have been adopted, or else the friends of slavery would not care for what we say and do. . . . We may talk of occupying neutral ground, but on this subject, in its present attitude, there is no such thing as neutral ground. . . [Shoutings, stones thrown against the windows, &c.]
There is nothing to be feared from those who would stop our mouths, but they themselves should fear and tremble. The current is even now setting fast against them. . . . A few years ago, and the South felt secure, and with a contemptuous sneer asked, "Who are the abolitionists? The abolitionists are nothing?" -- Aye, in one sense they were nothing, and they are nothing still. But in this we rejoice, that "God has chosen things that are not to bring to nought things that are." [Mob again disturbed the meeting.]
We often hear the question asked, "What shall we do?" Here is an opportunity for doing something now. Every man and every woman present may do something by showing that we fear not a mob, and, in the midst of threatenings and revilings, by opening our mouths for the dumb and pleading the cause of those who are ready to perish. . .~ Angelina Grimké Weld, Speech at Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Convention
Sarah Palin: I didn’t read ‘Duck Dynasty’ interview
Turns out Sarah Palin, who has been one of Duck Dynasty’s biggest defenders, hasn’t actually read the GQ interview that includes cast member Phil Robertson’s controversial comments on homosexuality and other subjects.
When pressed by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren whether the language Robertson used when talking about his opposition to homosexuality was graphic and offensive, Palin admitted she didn’t know what Robertson had said.
“I haven’t read the article. I don’t know exactly how he said it,” Palin said Monday on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
After the GQ interview was published, Palin immediately came to Robertson’s defense by posting a statement on Facebook saying it was an issue of free speech and defended his comments in a TV appearance with Sean Hannity.
Evangelical Church's Ugly Truth: Duck Dynasty and Christian Racists/
Brittney Cooper, Salon.com
“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.”I have several aunts and uncles and a grandparent who would beg to differ with Robertson’s account of events. In 1956, several hundred African Americans were purged from the voter registration rolls in Monroe, and spent years struggling to be re-enfranchised.
I’m reminded of these words from James Baldwin’s essay “A Fly in Buttermilk”:
“Segregation has worked brilliantly in the South, and in fact, in the nation to this extent: It has allowed white people with scarcely any pangs of conscience whatever, to create, in every generation only the Negro they wished to see.”~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Phil Robertson grew up in segregated Louisiana. Segregation is by definition "mistreatment" of blacks.
Germans after World War II often claimed that they didn't see "mistreatment" of the Jews (or homosexuals, or anyone else who was sent to the work and death camps), and didn't know what was happening to them; but as Albert Speer said,
"If I didn't see it, then it was because I didn't want to see it."It's not surprising that Phil Robertson says he never heard black people complain: they weren't likely to say anything in front of a drinking, drugging redneck who carried guns.
The South claimed a Biblical basis for slavery, and the Constitution of the Confederate States of America specifically invoked “Almighty God”—unlike the Constitution of the Union. "Christianity" was not absent during the period leading up to the slaughter of the Civil War, or during it. There were many symbols and invocations of Christ on both sides, but it didn't lessen the bloodshed.
Reading over the interview, his opinions aren't valid when his facts are just plain wrong.