Racially Insensitive Jokes ARE Racist! (Duh!)

Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods are golfers who don’t like each other very much. It’s not hard to see why. Tiger is hyper-competitive and arrogant. I cheer for him, but have often been a little bothered by or even ashamed of his behavior. Sergio Garcia is, by most accounts, a whiner. He gets easily distracted and complains about what goes on around him. The tension that has been growing between the two of them over the years has exploded in recent days. They went head to head in the Players Championship a couple of weeks back. The crowd following Tiger made noise that distracted Sergio and he hit a bad shot. He complained after the round about Tiger’s perceived misdeeds. Tiger responded and the back and forth escalated.

It became a pretty ugly incident.

It got worse when Sergio was speaking at the European Tour Awards dinner and responded to a question. He was asked if he would invite Tiger over for dinner during an upcoming tournament. He responded:

“We’ll have him ’round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”

Golf fans, of course, are reminded of Fuzzy Zoeller’s comments after Tiger won his first Masters Tournament, suggesting the winner’s dinner would consist of fried  chicken and collard greens. Need I even mention that the reference to fried chicken is a racist stereotype. Whether he meant it that way or not, Sergio looked to put down Tiger with a racially-based caricature.

Those remarks set off a firestorm. Sergio at first came out with one of those non-apology apologies that have become so common today.

“I apologize for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during the European Tour Players’ Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made towards me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner.”

He apologized, but he did not really repent. He was sorry that some got offended by his comment, but not for the comment itself. He passed off his remark as a “joke” or a “silly remark.” It was not, he claimed coming from a heart of racism or meant in a “racist manner.”

To Sergio’s credit, by the next day he came out with a more genuine apology in which he rejected his remarks clearly and admitted they were wrong.

My Point

The time is long past when we can say racially insensitive things, or use racial stereotypes, then claim that we did not intend for them to be racist or hurtful. A racial stereotype is by definition racist, whatever one might have meant. What I might consider to be a harmless joke is not seen the same way by the person about whom the joke is made. It is my job to guard my words. The offended person can show grace and forgiveness – that is what God expects of his people. But it is my job not to give that offense or to repent when I do. If I give offense, I need to repent and apologize whether it was intended or not.

Discussing race and racial issues is a minefield. There are times we give offense and we are truly clueless that we are doing so. If such is the case, we need to be gently instructed and have the humility and concern to adjust our behavior and deal with any repercussions.

It is hard for us as white Americans to understand this whole issue. I had a man in my church who opened my eyes to a lot of things before he passed on a couple of years ago. He told me stories that shocked me – not things that happened in Mississippi or Alabama, but in Sioux City, Iowa. This man of character, love and dignity had been treated often as if he was something less than a human being. Dwight McKissic sees the political, Christian and Baptist world from some distinctly different perspectives than I do. We may do something and think it is no big deal, but it comes across as a pretty big deal on the other side.

As we pursue racial reconciliation and even more importantly, partnership in ministry beyond racial lines, we need to guard our words carefully. We need to put racial stereotypes and characterizations on the shelf. They are hurtful and do not help the process of rebuilding what the sins of racism, discrimination and segregation have destroyed in the Family of God.

We don’t need to create some kind of politically correct environment in the SBC, but we do need to view our words and actions through the eyes of those who might be offended by them. We must create a culture in which racially charged statements, even jokes, are not acceptable. Even if there is not a minority around, we must reject caricature and stereotype.

For the sake of the Kingdom, we need to leave the club of racially insensitive joking in the bag and never pull it out.


  1. says

    Sergio evidently felt free at the European Tour Awards dinner to make a joke like that.

    I hope that we will intentionally make the tellers of such jokes in our midst uncomfortable when any such thing is said.

  2. Jake Barker says

    Maybe he thought that Tiger was a southern baptist or something. Fried chicken and greens are pretty common at white sb’s dinners at least in the deep south. 😉

    • Dale Pugh says

      I seriously doubt that a black individual would be thinking in white, Southern Baptist terms when such statements are made. There is simply no excuse.

      • Jake Barker says

        Is Tiger black? I thought he was mixed asian and black. What food related slur would you use for someone raised as asian…..as Tiger is a buddhist.

        • Dale Pugh says

          Personally, I wouldn’t use ANY food related slur as my entire family is married to people of several different races, including black and Asian, and my wife grew up on an Indian reservation. Slurs of any kind are unacceptable. Obviously, you think they’re funny. I find them wrong, sinful, and filled with the pride and arrogance of those who’ve never been on the receiving end of such idiocy.

          • Jake Barker says

            You remind me of the north bound end of a south bound horse. You have no clue as to what race either me or my family are. Your perception is asinine and based on white guilt/political correctness.

          • Dale Pugh says

            And your derogatory and demeaning response says more about you than it says about me. Thanks for clarifying your position.

    • Dave Miller says

      Normally, I would delete some of these comments, but I will not. They illustrate my point.

      What is funny to us as white Americans is just not funny to minority folks.

      • Dale Pugh says

        Fact is that if white Americans find these kind of comments funny or acceptable, then white Americans have the problem. And there is no way these things can be justified scripturally. The fact that these comments are even being addressed on this comment stream is proof that there remains a problem.

  3. Jess Alford says

    Racially insensitive? What about fried chicken and preacher jokes? What
    about growing up poor, and eating fried chicken five days a week?

    When I first got my calling to preach, I worked with a man that had a smart mouth, he told a preacher joke, the next thing I knew I was in his face and the fear of God got put in him. I’ve long since mellowed out
    and laugh at most preacher jokes. I still do not like or listen to the dirty preacher jokes.

    I worked with a black man who made white jokes all the time, I thought most of them was funny.

    Dave, we shouldn’t walk on egg shells all the time, scared to death we will
    say something that offends someone. I’m from the mountains, some of the things I say is very odd to some people. I’ve had some folks ask me,
    What did you say? I would have to explain what I said to them.I would walk away thinking there are a lot of ignorant people around here.

    I have come to the conclusion that I am just going to be myself, and not worry about being insensitive, because I’m not.

    Remember when George Bush, while in office went to Australia, as he was boarding the plane to come back home, he gave the Australians the peace sign. In Australia the peace sign means what raising the middle finger means here. Should George Bush apologize? I don’t think so.

    Should Surgeo apologize to Tiger? If it was a racial remark, yes. I don’t think Tiger is a saint in all this.

    • Dave Miller says

      Your insensitivity and lack of compassion is almost mind-boggling here, Jess.

      Yes, it is different when people make jokes about white folks and when we make jokes about other races. That is because of 300 years of systematic enslavement, segregation and dehumanization.

      Yes, as a matter of fact, we SHOULD tread very carefully when we are dealing with friends of other races. We need to watch every word and take responsibility for every action.

      Your comment is just astounding in its belligerent insensitivity, Jess. You need to rethink that.

      • Jake Barker says

        Where is your guilt about what the white man did to my people? Answer that please.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          Are you the Jake that called Barack Obama the “antiChrist,”. & said minorities would riot if President Obama was not reelected? Just curious? Not sure if you are the same one or not, but your comments are beginning to remind me of that one.

          • Jake Barker says

            To answer your series of questions:
            1. Yes, I called Obama the anti-christ and still believe that to be true. Not based on racial observations but rather the continued wholesale slaughter of unborn and partial born infants and his commitment to abortion on demand.
            2. To correct your statement: “said minorities would riot if President Obama was not reelected?” Dwight you know I never said that, that was what YOU heard through your filter. We had an hour discussion on the phone and you never would disassociate yourself from your perception of what I said versus what was actually said. You still have an agenda in this and choose to spin it as it suits your agenda. For the record, I stated that people who make welfare their method of living would riot, that included many races prior to the election and certainly remains true today.
            3. I asked the question in one of the prior comments to another commenter and will ask it again: Just what race do you perceive me to be? Those of us of mixed blood have a choice to choose our race of identification. When you answer this third question I will know for sure how well you listened to me during our phone conversation or to what extent you filtered it through your agenda.

      • Jess Alford says


        I would like to explain something here, you said I was insensitive and
        belligerent. I do not mean to be. Enslavement,,segregation, and dehumanization is as bad as you can get. I did not grow up around any black people. There were four black kids in my High School,
        I didn’t know them. I didn’t know what prejudice was. I was always taught to judge a man by his character.

        I didn’t know what segregation was until I entered college. Only then did I learn about it. I went to college with young black men and women, and my experience with them was pleasant.

        I didn’t know what prejudice was until I moved away from the mountains. Only then did I realize whites hated blacks and blacks hated whites, (but not all people were this way). I’m an old man now and I still judge a man by his character. I will not change. Race is not part of my vocabulary.

        Dave, you are way out in left field, if you think I am racial, I don’t play that game. I will not play your game either because I judge a man by his character.

        I saw an interesting segment on the 700 club once, I can’t think of
        the black man’s name that would be on the program with Pat Robertson. The black man was an elderly gentleman, with white hair.
        He said when he was growing up he went through all the things you mentioned and his heart was hard. In rebellion, he got him a blond,
        blue eyed girlfriend for a statement against whites. He said that it was the thing then, a way to rebell.

        Look at Tiger’s first wife, look at Tiger’s girlfriend, both are blond’s.
        If you think Tiger is innocent in all this I have a very long bridge to sell you out in California, they call it the Golden Gate.

        Racism is sin, I don’t care who commits it. Everyone didn’t grow up the same way. I didn’t grow up a racist. I judge a man by his character.

        I have discovered I am hated because of the color of my skin. When I left the mountains I was thrown into this thing called racism. I don’t play the game, a man’s character will tell the story.

        • Jess Alford says


          Just one more tiny morsel, since you have judged, and condemned
          me. I say to you, that you judge before you even know someone.

          I wonder which one of us would become a racist first? It wouldn’t be me. I do take offence to the things you said about me, or maybe you can’t see it for the log in your eye.

          You are one silly individual that sees things one way, (yours).

          Of course racism is sin, It just don’t impact me as much as it does you, because I never was around it until my latter years.

          Before you go hog wild and pig crazy you need to think before you speak.

    • Daniel says

      Since you asked, Jess, I will point out the difference in preacher jokes and jokes dealing with ethniticity. As a bonus I will address Tiger’s culpability and my own personal pain.

      First, you chose to be a preacher. Now I know that you will probably respond that God called you, and while I wouldn’t argue that point with you, you still made a choice. Noone in the history of time has chosen their ethniticity. In fact, Scripture gives us several opportunities to see the tension that happens when ethniticity clashes occur. See the life of Moses for several examples. Therefore by simple deduction I would say that if you are offended by preacher jokes that some of that lies with you – you are a preacher. If somoene makes a “joke” that points directly to what is considered a fault, or downside of your ethniticity they have done absolutely nothing to deserve that “joke” and it’s not a joke.

      Secondly, there seems to be an undercurrent that Tiger may be culpable or that he shouldn’t be respected because we aren’t/weren’t respected. The words from Jesus are this: “love your neighbor as yourself.” We may laugh along when we are picked on but noone likes it. I too, as have you and the other gentleman here, been mocked and disrespected because of where/whom I pastor as well as my family background. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. To imply or express that someone’s pain doesn’t matter because we have experienced something similar or worse is anti-Gospel. Period.

      Jesus healed 10 lepers, and while we make a big deal about the nine I’m grateful for a Savior that would heal 10 knowing only one would return to give thanks. Jesus fed 5000+, 4000+, and healed ALL who were brought to Him, yet he died with just a few women and one disciple present with him. I’m grateful that I serve such a Savior. Does this make me perfect? No. In fact I was convicted by what Dave wrote concerning how our actions and words should make an individual speaking in such a way very uncomfortable. In my rural church this is definitely an area that I can work on personally.

      Why did he say what he said if not for the racial connotation?

      • Jess Alford says

        I didn’t make the choice to become a preacher, I was forced into it, by one greater than I. Did Jonah make the choice to go to Nenevah?

        I was content going to church and minding my own business. I didn’t want to become a preacher. Now, I’m glad God had called me.

    • says

      As two of the most prominent minorities playing golf professionally today, Sergio and Tiger should be supportive of each others efforts, not demeaning each other. Sergio’s statement was clearly racially motivated and he should sincerely apologize to Tiger.

      We should always apologize if we offend anyone. Jesus was sensitive to those who were of a different racial profile than his. He didn’t degrade the woman at the well for being Samaritan or even Pontius Pilate for being Italian. He accepted their race as being equal to his own.

      The reason a lot of people believe those who profess Christianity are hypocrites is because of the racial prejudice that some who supposedly profess Christ exhibit.

      Let us lay aside the weight of racism and embrace everyone who were also created in God’s image.

  4. volfan007 says

    I think that people should quit making jokes about fat people. Now, where’s my Krispy Kreme…..there it is….


    PS. The joke that Sergio made was bad. He shouldnt have done it.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      How were your sermons received based on Acts concerning racism? I appreciatively applaud u for preaching them. Certainly, there is still a need in this country for both sides to hear such messages.

      Look forward to seeing u in Houston. Let’s go get some Krispy Kreme.????

      BTW, comparing fat people to Black people is probably not a good comparison; because to a great extent ,one has control over their weight(I know that there are exceptions to that statement). No one has control over what race they belong to. Ironically, in my case, they are one and the same. But I’ve lost 40lbs recently, so I am working on it. It is my opinion that most minorities would not appreciate the fat-race analogy.

      Between, the two of us as friends, it might fit. I have good White friends that in private he could have shared that Sergio comment & both of us would have had a hearty laugh. I have eaten in his home many times, as he has mine. We have traded similar jokes with each other. Neither of us have never been offended. We both are pastors & have swapped pulpits many times. But, I would not tell a racial joke in his pulpit, similar to the ones I’ve told in private for fear of misunderstanding & causing unnecessary problems. If he shared from my pulpit that Sergio comment, he & I would have understood each other, but my congregation would have been highly offended. Inasmuch as it is well known that Sergio & Tiger are not friends, his joke was totally inappropriate. Even if they had been friends it would have been ill advised in that setting.

      Nevertheless, I plan to not be on such a restricted diet while in Houston. Would love to fellowship with you.

      • volfan007 says


        I wasnt comparing race and weight jokes with each other. That was just my attempt at humor, due to my weight.

        Dwight, I hope we can eat somewhere together, as well. And, if we have a Krispy Kreme nearby, I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee and a couple of Krispy Kreme’s….

        BTW, the sermons on race went over pretty well. You could’ve heard a pin drop. I had people telling me afterwards that they were struggling with these very things, which I brought out in the sermon. The only bad thing was when I asked the Church, “Would you make a young man, who had tattoos, and green hair, and ear rings, and a nose ring feel welcome in our Church?” An older man said, out loud, “NO!” I ignored him, and kept preaching that we should love people of all sizes, colors, hair styles, nationalities….we should love people who are different than we are, and we should make them feel welcome when they attend our Church……..


  5. says

    Sergio’s comment was in very poor taste, unthoughtful and extremely insensitive. It’s obvious he made the comment because Tiger is black drawing on an American racial stereotype.

  6. dean says

    Sergio is the only golfer who can make me pull for Tiger Woods. He meant the comment in a mean way because he doesn’t like tiger. Tiger doesn’t like him. He tried to insult Tiger. I do not root for Tiger at all. I find no sympathy for him. If anyone thinks its because the color of his skin your goofy. I loved Calvin Peete in the 80’s. As a Tiger basher, I honestly think Sergio had a European attitude of superiority that he has exhibited in the past and he was insinuating – Tiger may have beat me but at least I’m not black. He should apologize and be ashamed. Golf is a game with dignity and these guys are an embarrassment.

    David, having said that we have hit on a very difficult situation to deal with. Are all racial jokes really racist? I regularly eat with a group of pastors and we are all close. Nothing is off limits when we pick on one another. One has had a leg amputated. We have pushed his wheelchair out into the rain. Two are big guys. A couple of Methodist have joined us. We are brutal to each other. Its our world and its how we are. If a blind man were to join us I can imagine comments like man you should she your wife, she is smoking hot etc… We are juvenile and we know it. However, a lot of people want to join our group. A black pastor would be more than welcome to join us. I have a couple of questions. 1) Should our group that is exclusively ours change the way we are in our special, casual, designated times as to not offend a new person who wants to join our group? Its our group shouldn’t we set those parameters? 2) If a black pastor were to come would he feel awkward because we left him out of the ribbing? He would be part of our theological discussions and prayer times but not our kidding around. If he joined in the ribbing he would have to be willing to receive it.

    Dave, I am sensitive to this issue. Yet, I know that if we can’t be natural around each other all of the nonsensical orchestrated photo op meetings and projects will never change a thing. Sergio is a jerk and he meant to hurt Tiger but I remember a time when Don Rickles and Sammy Davis Jr. attacked each others heritage and the world laughed with them because they loved each other and it was evident. I am a comedian. Many people have felt my cutting wit. I am my own biggest target. One thing is for sure, when I kid with people they know I love them. One of my closest friends in college was a black man from Florida. We teased each other all the time and race was part of it. He would say man I love bowling -the game is over when the black ball knocks down all the white pens. I would say I love pool; – the game is over when the white ball knocks all the colors off the table. He would say you ever notice angel food cake is white and devil’s food cake black one of your kind named them. We love each other, traveled together, he has been a guest in my home many times. Sadly, today I would not attempt to have such a relationship with a person of color. We can be close but you will have to leave your sense of humor outside. This is the way the world makes us behave but your title is not correct.

  7. Adam G. in NC says

    Hmmm, I wonder what the Bible says about crude jokes and guarding our speech? Do we care?

  8. Ty says

    I found your blog when searching “how to pray for your pastor”–excellent post by the way.
    After reading this article and its follow-up comments (and I am an American of African descent, born and reared in the South), I want you to know that I appreciate your words and will be “sticking around” to enjoy more from this blog.

    Looking forward,

    • Bruce H. says

      Hey, Ty.

      There are many “how-to” books out there for just about anything you want to know. How do you think the writers of those books or articles got their information? I would like to suggest to you that you simply begin to pray for your pastor for a long time before reading anyone’s recommendations. Each of us are different in our measure of faith and if God’s grace is driving you to pray for your pastor, simply begin praying for him now. Who knows, you may be writing a book on that very subject soon.


  9. Bruce H. says

    Racism toward blacks, among other races and excluding whites, has grown in the past several generations. It is not just a white thing anymore. Hispanics never owned slaves and have made some very racist comments. Orientals have made some serious racist comments, too. We are too many generations away from the days of slavery for this to be a race issue. We need to look at it differently. We need to look at it as the sin of pride. We need to deal with pride, not race.

    • Greg Harvey says

      The term “oriental” is viewed as highly offensive among most Asian people groups. And we whites need to get over our victimhood about racism. We pretty much invented both apartheid in both the United States and South Africa. We should expect that people we marginalized would seek to right an imposed imbalance should grasp for the same techniques that they perceive used systemically and systematically against them.

      Or stated as simply and directly as possible: if we conservatives get why the current, politically driven persecution of “tea party” and “patriot”-named groups by the IRS is wrong, then we should accept the shared burden of the effects and after-effects of the roughly 400 years of race-based dehumanization of Blacks that whites practiced in the United States via Jim Crow laws that were just being ended in my childhood in the 60s. And those attitudes weren’t by any means strictly a “Southern” phenomena, though the support for the symbols of the last government in the United States that legally permitted slavery are very much a southern phenomenon.

      Which is to say: your statement exposes the truth of the lack of personal introspection–not to mention conviction and personal repentance–that you bring to the table, Bruce. Go back to your private prayer closet and do business with God before accusing those who have been afflicted with real systemic discrimination by “whites” of “they did it, too, Mom!!”

      And I offer the comment not so much as a personal rebuke to you because you seem like a reasonable guy. It is my generation–the boomers–and the several before it that have the moral obligation to seek to bury racism in as deep a grave as possible. What we really need us a Truth and Reconciliation event as the first step to doing that: we stop talking about others sins and directly admit our own and repent from it aloud.

      I’ll start: my cousins and even my grandparents–more my mom’s side of the family than my dad’s and largely the ones based out of the Kansas City, Missouri area used the N- word extensively when I was growing up to in essence suggest that Blacks were inferior to us. My mom justified her own discomfort by appealing to statistics saying “if it more generally applies to a group of people, what’s wrong with noticing that?”

      I personally demonstrated pride in having an African-American roommate–who is, by the way, a very close friend who started the same year I did at A&M and also received a President’s Endowed Scholarship from the school and whose childhood home I’ve visited and whose lovely and gracious mother I’ve met with my wife–while requiring periodic correction from him for racist comments of my own.

      As an adult I’ve begun to fathom the harm my comments caused him and why he responded the ways he did including a loving but firm slap to the back of my head on one occasion. And I’m deeply sorry that I made him feel that way. What really upset me was that as I was receiving continued privilege that at least to some degree was due to my intellectual accomplishments, he was getting fired from jobs at fast food restaurants due to very clear racism by some if his managers that caused me so much fury I would literally shake in my shoes in anger. But he wouldn’t let me confront the behavior.

      Sure: non-whites make poor choices, too. But let’s deal with our logs before focusing on their specks. The problem of racism in the United States must be accepted and confronted by whites first.

      • Greg Harvey says

        Meant to say “invented both apartheid and race-delineated slavery…”

      • Bruce H. says


        I do not know the proper name to call any group of people. Knowing that I am ignorant in this area I have prepared myself to immediately apologize if anyone is offended by what I call them.

        The apology has been offered by many on the race issue. I have yet to hear that we are forgiven (post it if you have it). There is a difference in the world and the church, as you know. I am going to proceed as if I am forgiven. I will work in my church to teach humility and forgiveness with the measure of gift the Holy Spirit has given me. I will not address the race issue because it is only a symptom of the sin of pride. Doctors do not treat symptoms, they treat the sickness and the symptoms go away. That is how I think we must view the race issue.

    • Jake Barker says

      You are sadly mistaken when you comment “Hispanics never owned slaves”. Hispanics enslaved the entire continent of South America, Central America and certain portions of North America, not to mention many of the Carribean Islands. Hispanics owned slaves of the indio cultures as well as brought black slaves from Africa to work the plantations of Cuba and other islands. I suggest that you read some history.

          • Bruce H. says


            “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if history, let us be historical in proportion to our faith;” (somewhere in Romans) :-)

  10. Paul says

    James tells us that the tongue is a powerful organ. We should keep his advise in mind. Also, God says you will be judged by every word that proceeds out of your mouth.

  11. says


    I’ve thought about these types of issues for a long time. I’m pretty chummy with some African Americans from work and we can laugh and talk about a whole host of issue. Since I attend and serve in a predominantly Hispanic, Spanish-speaking church, most of my friends are Hispanic.

    I have to disagree with you when you say, “Yes, it is different when people make jokes about white folks and when we make jokes about other races. That is because of 300 years of systematic enslavement, segregation and dehumanization.” It sounds like you are giving license to African Americans to make jokes about “white folks” because of slavery.

    Humor is a very complex issue, and when it comes to “humor” relating to race, ethnicity, and culture, it becomes even more complex, and we have differing standards depending on what the issue is. Go to a conference on racial reconciliation and you won’t hear any jokes about racial stereotypes. Go to a marriage conference and you’ll hear plenty of jokes about gender stereotypes. Why is the latter acceptable to us? Why can we joke about Pastors and fried chicken? Do we really believe it is acceptable to demean people because of gender or vocational stereotypes?

    In my own relationships with African Americans and Hispanics we’ve had some moments of racially-based humor. My one coworker’s name is Anthony and he’s black. One day someone called him Andrew and when corrected she said, “I’m sorry, I always get your two names mixed up.” I responded, “Well, you know, we all look alike.” In effect I was mocking a stereotype. Anthony’s and Andrew’s don’t all look alike. Neither do all African Americans. Neither do all Hispanics. Neither do all Whites.

    Another time I was with a (Hispanic) friend from church and we saw someone from a distance who he thought was someone we knew (who was also Hispanic). When we got closer became obvious that this was not our mutual friend. I teased him and said, “You thought that was Fulano?” and he replied, “Yeah… you know… we all look alike.” We laughed.

    Could someone have been offended by these two incidents? Possibly. But I don’t think they were over the line.

  12. Dwight McKissic says


    If you will allow me to comment here; the difference in the stories that you told versus the Sergio-Tiger tiff is this: your racial/ethnic humor jokes were spoken among friends or friend to friend–and here is perhaps the most important point–in a private, or semi-private setting. Sergio did not tell his joke to a friend, neither did he tell it in a private setting. That makes a world of difference. A question that I am having to rethink & evaluate is this: are these jokes appropriate even among friends, & in a private or semi-private setting? Heretofore, my answer would have been, yes. But this conversation is forcing me to at least examine the question again to make sure a racial joke in private among friends would be alright if Jesus was seated at the table?

    • Dale Pugh says

      If I might interject here, Dwight, I believe your rethinking of this question is where I’m coming from in my comments above.
      We made a big deal out of electing the first black SBC president this past year. I’m glad we have done so. But my greater concern is that we might one day come to the place where the election of an individual will no longer include statements about their ethnicity and skin color. The fact that we still make a big deal about those things shows that we haven’t come as far as we’d like to think.
      Years ago I had a Natvie American friend who served on the executive board of the Northwest Baptist Convention. He was the spiritual, moral, and intellectual equal of every person sitting on that board. Yet he was called “Chief” by several of the pastors who served with him. He was spoken of as “the redskin.” Some jokingly wondered out loud if it was safe to room with him at meetings or would he “scalp” them. There were the constant “rain dance” and “drumming” references in their conversations with him. Did any one of them ever attempt to get to know him? Did any one of them ever stand up and say, “Enough”? No. He quietly endured his treatment by those white Christians. I only learned about it later, and it shamed me to think that a man such as he would be subjected to that kind of stupidity among “brothers in Christ.” The larger impact is that he is no longer involved in ministry nor does he attend church anywhere. And that executive board is, to an extent, responsible.
      Racial joking is wrong. It is unconscionable. And it is time for us to say, “Stop!”

      • Jake Barker says

        Many of the Mvskoke speaking groups here in Oklahoma actually name sons “Mico”. That is the Mvskoke word for “chief”. It is a term of honor, not a derogatory term. I have several friends who are named “Mico”. We greet with “Hesci, Miko estanko.

        • Dale Pugh says

          Among fellow Indians that may be acceptable. It is not acceptable from those who don’t know the culture, show no desire to understand the man, and use the term in a way that has become systematized prejudice. There’s a big difference. When it becomes the “default” position of our humor, it stands in opposition to the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations.
          But what do I know? I’m a horse’s rear end. :-)

    • says


      I think that’s why humor is such a challenging thing. Jonathan Edwards resolved not to tell jokes because he thought they were vain. Whenever I feel like I’ve crossed a line, I sometimes think Edwards was right to abstain from joking like many pastors abstain from alcohol.

      We always have to weigh what was actually said, how it was said, whether it was intended to put someone down, etc. I could joke with one of my friend Emanuel about having fried chicken for supper because he’s always talking about how good fried chicken is (he claims it has something to do with being from Louisiana). The joke would be about his love of fried chicken. Someone who didn’t know us might think I was making a racist joke because Emanuel is black, when in fact, it wouldn’t be. The reference to Tiger Woods, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be merely some friendly back-and-forth. Humor is a complicated thing.

  13. says

    We don need to be careful in poking fun at anyone. We tend to draw a fine line, however, between being spiritually mature enough to take a well-intentioned joke and being careful not to offend spiritually immature people.

    I’ve been part of diverse groups that would offend outsiders. We poke fun at ourselves and each other because we have a healthy rapport and don’t think too highly of ourselves. But that same humor that is acceptable, and is an outworking of the trust built between us, fuels distrust from people who aren’t included in that group.

    But something else I observe in the level of offense being measured by the one being derided is that the offense can be nullified by being above the offense. How offensive should it be that people are called “rednecks”? Yet rednecks have largely had enough spiritual maturity to be at peace in spite of it. “Yankees” and “Tarheels” are the same kind of thing. Terms that started life intending to be derogatory but the objects of derision decided not to be offended and peace ensued.

    So the upshot is this: while we need to live peaceably by trying to not offend others, we should seek to be peaceful by turning intended offense directed at us into an opportunity to build trust and peace.

  14. says

    @Dave Miller:

    2 things. (very very long)

    1. Tiger Woods dislikes black people more than Sergio Garcia does. Woods downplays his black heritage not because he doesn’t want to slight his Asian, white and Native American lineage or embrace being multi-ethnic but rather because of his strong disdain for blacks. Woods is civil and sociable to the black people that live in the gated communities that he resides in and that he encounters in extended social circles i.e. at parties, charity events etc. Such blacks will say that they are friends of Tiger, but Tiger NEVER calls them friends of his publicly. Woods actually publicly stated that he identifies with Asian culture more than black culture because Asians – unlike blacks – value hard work, personal responsibility and family. So when Woods uses “black jokes” based on demeaning black stereotypes to entertain his fans and chase women, it should be viewed in that context. Woods is only “black” when it allows him to earn far more money on endorsements, appearance fees, etc. than a white (or Asian or Hispanic) golfer with the same record of achievement on the golf course would. Otherwise, he has no use for anything or anyone black, including his own half brothers and sisters from his father’s previous marriage. The other golfers – including Sergio Garcia – know these facts about Tiger – how he trades on and exploits a fake black identity that he otherwise rejects in return for fame and (yes) insulation from criticism over his deplorable behavior, regard him as a huge fake because of it and hate his guts. The media – including black liberals who are quick to call black Republicans and conservatives who do embrace their identity and have a very positive relationship with the black community sell outs and uncle toms – knows this information but never talks about it because it is more important to their agenda to depict Tiger Woods as being this victimized black man despised and marginalized for being too successful in a privileged white man’s world of golf and country clubs. Now I am not defending what Garcia said, which was made far worse because – unlike Fuzzy Zoeller who actually was just telling a joke – Garcia said what he did specifically to demean Woods as a black person, and he did it with malicious intent against someone that he personally dislikes. I am just pointing out that Woods is guilty of making the same attacks on the black community (and when I say that I don’t mean the “tough love” comments that black conservatives and Bill Cosby make hoping to improve the black community) and should be held just as accountable for it as Garcia, Zoeller, etc. if not more so. But he never is, and that is part of the problem.

    2. Moving beyond Tiger – who is not a representative example of anything but himself – this has to be a Christian debate in a Christian context. That means that it has to be a two way street. Black Christians have to be held just as accountable for their negative views, words and actions against white Christians as vice versa. Now maybe in a secular context this is problematic because it ignores such realities as slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, pervasive discrimination and the legacy cultural and economic effects of that history as well as the fact that whites control America politically and even more so economically. For example, it may be appropriate for the political affirmative action debate (among others) to consider that the wealth gap between blacks and whites is 600% and – despite popular misconceptions by many political conservatives otherwise – that this gap was neither created or exacerbated by the Great Society programs that were created to close it. But doing so in a Christian context ignores the plain teachings of scripture. The Bible that declares that it is a sin for a slave to be disobedient or disrespectful to or run away from his master and declares that women should not teach or hold positions of authority over men in the church but should submit to their husbands makes it clear that the church is not the place to address the world’s injustices. Indeed, Matthew 26:11 and John 12:8 makes it clear that not only is doing so impossible for the church, but trying only distracts the church from its true purpose of existence. So not requiring the same behavior from blacks as you do from whites is practicing black liberation and other forms of heretical liberal theology. While you may reply that you did not state or imply such, the reality is that this post was made in response to what Sergio Garcia – a white European – said against Tiger Woods, ostensibly a black man. Let us consider the comments that got Richard Land removed from his post. The problem was Land’s mangling the real issues over that specific case (which I do not wish to revisit), not his attempt to discuss how blacks view and treat whites in general or with respect to the church. For example, it would have been far better had Land challenged black Christians for using slavery, segregation and other past or present ills in the church and/or larger society as excuses for not fellowshipping with white Christians, joining white churches, or affiliating with white denominations like the SBC. Why is integrating schools, communities and workplaces in search of material, worldly success/comforts/acceptance (mammon) worth jail, death and decades of political activism but attending church with your white brothers and sisters in Christ (a spiritual thing that the Bible explicitly commands and that the world cannot comprehend) not worth going across the street or at worst across town? How can black Christians begrudge any white person for opposing interracial marriage, integrated neighborhoods and workplaces etc. when black Christians steadfastly work to maintain, defend, justify and protect an un-Biblical segregated worship system?

    That is just one example. There are many others. The main point is that where it may not be applicable or appropriate or even possible in the larger culture, the Bible makes it clear that in the church black Christians and white Christians have equal rights AND equal responsibilities. No double standards or one way streets allowed. The reason is that A) we are living for the next world and not this one and B) we have the ministry of the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand affliction and break down barriers that the world and its fallen systems do not have.

    I will go ahead and say that by not requiring the same thing of black Christians that you do of white ones, you are playing a role in denying black Christians their opportunity to mature and grow spiritually and be sanctified, including by avoiding the trials and tribulations that blacks would suffer by seeking to integrate the church (let us not forget that the Bible states that God uses trials and tribulations to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ, and this truth applies to all Christians of all races). Now I am not a fan of former president George W. Bush, but the “soft bigotry of low expectations” term that he coined is applicable here.

  15. Mike Bratton says

    My thought is that no one contributing to this commentary, so far, has had to be funny for a living. I have, and did for quite a long time. As a believer, I’ve always operated my humor with the following restrictions:

    1) Never tell a joke that makes fun of something that someone cannot change about himself (or herself).

    2) Never tell a joke that’s targeted at the weakest part of another person’s life.

    3) Never tell a joke about tragedy.

    Not everything is funny. There are no good abortion jokes. There are no good alcoholism jokes. And there are no good jokes about others’ race or ethnicity. That’s the beginning and the end of it.

  16. Pastor Al says

    PAY ATTENTION ALL YOU CHURCH MEMBERS: You cannot make a joke about “fried chicken” when your talking about having a preacher over. It MAY BE considered a racial slur!! Hmn. But I hope you will serve it. I wonder what The Colonel would say about this dialogue?

    • Greg Harvey says

      The fact that Kentucky Fried Chicken and other fried chicken chains heavily target Blacks might be a better answer to your question than what Harland Sanders thought. I would argue that is a more recent targeting. The change of branding to KFC was to minimize both the “southern” affiliation of the name and the “fried” affiliation of the food.

      I’m not suggesting any of that is “racist” by the way. But some of it very much is “racial” from a thinking perspective. The first step is–while acknowledging past sins–to confront the fact that there really is no such thing as “race” in the human genome. There is no species distinction or subspecies distinction that follows skin color in homo sapiens. The X-men comic book and movies notwithstanding of course (which forward the argument that mutants are genetically distinguished from the rest of homo sapiens precisely for the purpose of staring at the problem of ‘race’.)

  17. says

    Here’s the thing – at the risk of being racial in a post about avoiding such.

    As I have gotten more involved on a personal level and have had deeper discussions about such matters, I have begun to realize that I just don’t see racial issues the way people of other skin colors do.

    Dwight McKissic has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I stood with him at the SBC a few years back and he pointed out something to me. He told me that there had not been a single black person on the stage during the SBC. I’d never noticed it.

    The stage looked normal to me and I didn’t even notice this until he called it to my attention.

    My chief point is this: as a white man in America, I am conditioned to see certain things in certain ways. I can say I’m not racist (I don’t think I am) but I definitely see things through the racial lens of my experience. But my experience is vastly different than that of my black friends.

    I’ve never been pulled over by cops for no other reason than the color of my skin.
    I’ve never sat at a restaurant and had no one serve me because of the color of my skin (as happened regularly to a black deacon in my church).
    I’ve never had to live with suspicions that I only got what I got or did what I did because of affirmative action.
    I’ve not lived with the ostracism and even dehumanization that is all too much a part of the lives of minorities in America.

    And yes, as a white American (and, unfortunately, as a Southern Baptist) I am part of the group that has perpetrated racism, discrimination and segregation in America.

    We’ve already repented of our racist sin. But now, we have the responsibility to work to fix what our sin broke.

    The #1 solution to this is to make sure that in everything I do and everything I say, I treat black brothers and sisters in Christ as full kingdom partners, that I show respect and honor to them, that I bend over backward to avoid adding any offense.

    I cannot see how racial stereotypes, racial jokes, caricatures and such help in the process. It is OUR JOB, as white Christians, to go the first, second, third and fourth miles to make what is wrong, right.

    Maybe there will come a time when we have corrected the centuries of sinful treatment and there is no suspicion and hurt between us. But until that day, I think we are all best to stay away from words, jokes, and stereotypes that risk giving offense.

    • Bruce H. says


      You said: “And yes, as a white American (and, unfortunately, as a Southern Baptist) I am part of the group that has perpetrated racism, discrimination and segregation in America.”

      If we, as a denomination, have publicly apologized and asked for forgiveness for what you have mentioned, there is no need to keep beating ourselves up for it. We, as Southern Baptist, did sin, however, we did ask for forgiveness, too. Who should forgive us, the world or black Christians? I don’t think we are going to get an apology from the world, but it’s there for them to do what they wish.

      None of my known heritage dating back to the early 1800’s ever owned another human being. Yet, I am grouped with slave ownership and racism because of the color of my skin. Wouldn’t it be best for believers to live like they are forgiven? I think so.

  18. Bruce H. says

    The only answer to racism is “humility” and “forgiveness”. We cannot do anything outside the doors of the church to change men’s thinking on racism. I mean by that, we cannot affect the heart of non-believers by a continued apology for something that happened 300 or more years ago or even yesterday. All we can do as believers is live in humility toward all men. If I do not think myself better than anyone else I cannot be a racist. Therefore, I must speak to all men from a servant’s heart.

    Now, in the church, we have failed in our discipleship. At the point of salvation we must begin the discipleship process by developing of the character of forgiveness and humility. If I have just been forgiven I must be told to make right my previous sins toward others and others sins toward me. The sins we committed while living in sin still offend the person(s) they were committed against. Obviously, it is a perfect time to exercise humility and allow the testimony to lead into a presentation of the gospel, if the opportunity arises. A new believer’s first impression in the body of Christ should be to learn first-hand how to forgive and ask for forgiveness. We will offend each other in many other areas and need to know how to resolve them and restore relationships. It is all about relationships in the Body of Christ and we Baptist do not know how to do that very well. Whether it is a racial statement or any other sin, we usually tell it to the church before compassionately approaching the brother or sister to resolve it and end it. That is the order we in the SBC have gone and it needs to stop. The whole chapter of Matthew 18 points to humility and forgiveness with some very serious threats from Jesus if we do not develop those two (2) characteristics. If there is a race issue in the church today it would be the leadership that needs to address it. Do not focus on the symptoms (racism), focus on teaching and training believers the character of humility and forgiveness toward others in the body. However, racism will never go away until both the offender and the offended know how to respond like Jesus has commanded.

  19. Dale Pugh says

    When we as Christians refuse to be different FROM the world around us, we lose the ability to make a difference IN the world around us.

    • Jess Alford says


      I have always refused to be like the world, as a result I have made differences in peoples lives. Maybe we are talking about two different things.

      • Dale Pugh says

        I’m glad to hear it, Jess. My comment wasn’t directed at you, but to the whole issue of how we as Christians present ourselves to the world. I don’t find racism funny, nor do I see it as fitting fodder for the Christian sense of humor.

        • Jess Alford says


          I think “any” Christian with any sense, would refrain from any racial jokes or slurs. We cannot stop the world from doing it. The bride of Christ should never do it.

          I do know as long as there are diversities of peoples in this world it will never stop. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Racism is sin plain and simple. If we don’t want jokes made about us we shouldn’t make jokes about others. Christians should never make ethnic jokes.

          I think as lone as we have a repeat after me prayer in the church for salvation people will never change because they are still in their sins. May God help us.

  20. Joe Blackmon says

    Serious question–why is fried chicken racist? I’m not saying it isn’t. I acknowledge that the reference Sergio made was racist and was wrong. I’m asking why it’s considered racist.

    • Jess Alford says

      Joe Blackmon,

      In answer to your question, I don’t know. All I know, I’ve ate fried chicken all my life, I don’t think that makes me black. I think it might be a reference to the poor, if so, I’d rather be poor than to pretend I’m something I’m not. As a matter of fact, I am presently growing 130 chickens to eat yum, yum! I also have 8 sheep to eat, and a garden.

      No one enjoys being poor more than I do. My wife preserves 225
      quarts of green beans every year, not to mention jellys and jams.

      I have a plain little house, an old car, a God and family that loves me. Maybe, I’m not so poor after all, I’ve discovered that wealth isn’t measured by money.

      All the folks that walk around with their heads in the clouds don’t know what they are missing being poor.

      Racist’s, are people with too much time on their hands.

      Preachers need to come down from cloud nine and quit thinking they deserve everything they get. Their salaries come from hard working people who pain, and sweat for everything they get. I think it ought to be a requirement for a preacher to work at a public job for five years
      before going full time into the ministry. Some things just don’t happen in the classroom.

      Preachers, including me should stop thinking they are better, wiser, and smarter than anyone else, because we are not.

      Preacher, where would you be today if your church kicked you out?
      Would you have to sign up for public assistance? Would you be in the street? Would you have to seek out a public job, and get your first blister on your pretty hands.

      We need to get down where the rubber meets the highway. Look, I don’t like Dave Miller, and he don’t think much of me, but he did give great advice to all preachers, he said, be real, be yourself.

      I think some of these posts hurt people alot more than they help people. Let’s get the logs out of our eyes, and maybe, just maybe,
      we can get the tiny specks of racism out of other’s eyes.

      There is no charge for this comment.

  21. Donald says

    “Yes, it is different when people make jokes about white folks and when we make jokes about other races. That is because of 300 years of systematic enslavement, segregation and dehumanization.”

    Don’t include me in that “we”. I never enslaved, segregated or dehumanized anyone. And, no, it isn’t different. This is the same mentality that says it’s OK to bash Christians in America, because “we” have had the power for so long.

    Racism is racism, no matter the race of the racist.

    But, the term has become so watered down by overuse I fear a return of real racism when we can no longer differentiate between boorish behavior and racist behavior. I know what real racism is…I’ve seen it first hand.

    Remember it being said that if you didn’t vote for Obama you are a racist.

    I’ve been called a racist because I re-enact at the annual Battle of Newton, AL. I’ve been called a racist because I am a member of the NRA as well as the SOCV. My wallet has a battleflag on it and I’ve got a bunch of books by Rev. Robert L. Dabney on my bookshelf (BTW, greatest American theologian of the 19th century and Gen. Jackson’s Chief-of-Staff).

    Was Sergio racist or just boorish? I think he was just mad and made an opportunistic and inappropriate jab at Tiger. He apologized, everyone needs to develop a bit thicker skin and move on… “Sticks and stones…”

    • says

      I don’t remember anyone saying that if you don’t vote for Obama, you are a racist.

      I don’t see what the NRA has to do with anything. And who cares about anyone owning books written by a 19th century historical figure.

      But, there are certainly some aspects of SOCV membership that I would consider to be racially problematic, to be charitable. I don’t see the ethical value for any self-proclaimed Christian to display the confederate flag in public (absent an historical context like a battle re-enactment) such as on a car license plate. I don’t see the value in doing so because that symbol is a symbol of something sinister, a symbol of hate to many many many people – people of all races – throughout our nation. Whether the symbol is actually a symbol of hate, the reality is that many perceive it that way.

      To the point of this post, I’ve often found this video from hip-hop personality Jay Smooth to be instructive when needing to communicate that something sounds racist without implying that the person is a racist.


      • Donald says


        The NRA as racist part comes partially from Charlton Heston’s appearance on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. The NRA was being accused of racism due to it’s support of firearm rights. This charge is brought up constantly.

        Robert Dabney’s biography of General Jackson and his post-war book defending Virginia and The South causes the racism charge to pop us against him. I’ve been questioned about my having those two books as well as his other theological book on the bookshelf in my office.

        I do have to wonder what you would find “racially problematic” about SCV membership? My ancestors fought for independence both times. I am also part of the Sons of the American Revolution. Both groups celebrate heritage. There is no hate, there is no racism.

        As far as the flag issue, do you realize that the Third National Confederate flag is flow at every rest area in Alabama. All four historic Confederate flags are flown on the capital grounds in Montgomery. Every Governor in Alabama swears their oath of office on the same Bible that Jefferson Davis swore his oath of office. We’ve got “historical context”.

        This is exactly what I mean when I talk about the term “racism” being overused and watered down. There is real racism out there, but these things aren’t it.

        • says

          Donald, can you see where, regardless of your intent or personal feelings, the Confederate Flag might represent something completely different to a black man whose ancestors were enslaved under that flag? To him, it might not be a cultural badge, but a reminder of pain.

          My point in all of this is that we need to view our actions and words from the perspectives of others, not just our own intent.

          • Donald says

            I’ve tried twice to respond with neither post going thru. I’ll take that as a sign to let it go.

            I have no issue with my love of history and heritage, but I do agree that we need to show empathy and respect. I simply expect the same from others.

          • Frank L. says

            Wouldn’t this fall under “avoid any APPEARANCE of evil.”

            If we are going to celebrate Southern Heritage, I think we can find better symbols than the Confederate Flag and higher moments than the Civil War conflict.

            All history is not heritage.

          • Donald says

            Frank L.

            I get what you are saying, and many might be growing tired of this discussion, but if you could explain how reenacting a Battle would seem evil, or having a flag on my wallet that is also at every rest area in the state, at hundreds of monuments and parks and on the grounds of the state capital holds any resemblance to evil — then that would be very helpful. How is my membership in the SCV appearing to be Evil? All we do is keep soldiers graves clean, keep a highway clean, march in certain local parades, and tell stories to each other about the heroics of our ancestors. How can this even appear to be Evil?

          • Frank L. says


            I don’t want to judge your activities. Some of them I have no knowledge of. Reenacting a battle for historical purposes seems to be more acceptable than flying a Confederate Flag.

            One is a historical statement, the latter seems more political. It is a thin line I will agree. Like swapping war stories with friends. That seems innocent enough, but I just think the danger is always there to allow the racial tensions that caused the war to come to the fore in discussing the War.

            The Civil War was cloaked in racial hatred. I think that, in and of itself, makes it suspect for many of the types of activities that you describe–but perhaps not all.

            Sorry I don’t have a clear answer. Separating the history of the War from the philosophy and politics that created it seems very, very difficult to do. Having grown up 22 miles into the North, perhaps I don’t understand the South enough to offer a better opinion.

        • John Wylie says

          I can certainly see how people could feel that way toward the Confederate flag, but to me I see it as a symbol of states’ rights. I see as a symbol of disdain for an over reaching Federal government. And when you consider that the 13th amendment of the Constitution only passed in the House of Representatives by two votes with no Confederate states represented, racism ran deeper than just in the South. I mean when you consider that fact perhaps some would consider the US flag as a symbol of racism.

        • says

          Sorry for the late reply.

          By racially problematic, I was referring to the SOCV specialty plates that feature the confederate flag.

          I’m a strong believer that the proper place for the Confederate flag is a museum – a belief that my daddy instilled in me when I was a little kid and a belief that grew stronger growing up in south Georgia, once attending a school that crowned a white homecoming queen and black homecoming princess and then graduating from a high school that had two proms – a black prom and white prom.

          And then my foray into being active politically came as my state (Georgia) had a statewide controversy over that confederate emblem on our state flag resulting in courageous politicians to change the flag.

          Every summer growing up, my family would drive from Vidalia, Georgia to a lake near Philadelphia, Mississippi for the Weaver Family Reunion. One year when was about 12 or 14, we stopped at the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. That stop made us a little late to the Weaver family potluck that night, the first of a handful of weekend festivities.

          I remember my dad’s first-cousin, an older woman in her early 50s from Mobile, ask – “Doug, why are y’all so late” – my dad explained with some excitement in his voice about our trip to the civil rights museum and how much I had enjoyed it, especially learning about Fred Shuttlesworth (a hero of my dad’s).

          My cousin politely snapped back – “Well, we still fly the Confederate flag in Alabama”

          I don’t remember Chris Matthews saying what you said he said. He may very well have. I’m sure you remember Chris Matthews talking about “speaking in code” and “code words.” That’s what my cousin was doing that day nearly over 15 years ago.

          • Donald says

            ” I’m sure you remember Chris Matthews talking about “speaking in code” and “code words.” That’s what my cousin was doing that day nearly over 15 years ago.”

            I do remember, and Chris Matthews is a joke. He was trying to paint the Tea Party as racist, and was delusional in his conclusions. If you bought into his “code words”, well, I really don’t know what to say. I use him as an example because his racism accusations are obviously race-baiting rhetoric with no basis in truth.

            But, this discussion has run it’s course for me. Good day, and God Bless.

          • Donald says


            Rereading my last post, it seems a bit harsh. Chris Matthews has no credibility with me, but you do. I appreciated your story and understand where you come from.

            I am a history buff, with Baptist History and my family history being of particular interests. I am of mixed blood, with both my Cherokee and Scottish ancestors fighting for the South. I appreciate that you hold a different opinion and have good reasons for doing so. Perhaps the lack of racism in my family has produced a different context and therefore different conclusions. We were socially integrated before “integration”.

        • Bruce H. says


          When a child is murdered, a woman is raped and a man is fired because of his religion we, the church, ALWAYS try to get them to forgive the offender. Why is it that we cannot have our heritage because someone cannot forgive? It is not an issue about Christian liberty. The race issue in black churches is fanned by preachers preaching unforgiveness. That is a fact and we whites continue to buy into their continued bashing as does our government. Not all blacks are this way. It is over. Forgiveness is due. All I can do is live like I am forgiven and love everyone the same. Many here on this blog are too race sensitive. I am labeled as a racist here, too. Sad.

          • cb scott says

            “When a child is murdered, a woman is raped and a man is fired because of his religion we, the church, ALWAYS try to get them to forgive the offender.”

            Bruce H.,

            A man being fired for his religion is just a little bit different than a child being murdered and a woman being raped, don’t you think?

            Tell you what. Let’s forgive those folks who fire a guy for his religion right off the bat. That’s not really a big deal, right?

            However, let’s execute the child killers and woman rapers first and forgive them afterwards. That will make things far less complicated and give the victims and their families an easier path toward forgiveness of the heathens who “offended” them, don’t you think?

          • Bruce H. says


            I couldn’t think of anything for a man at the time. My main point is that we, as Christians, are to forgive regardless of what we have been the victim of. Racism, among Christian blacks, must be forgiven. That is not the order of things in many black churches. Forgiveness is one of those things I have been focused on for over two (2) years now. We simply do not forgive which is the first thing we need to learn as Christians since we were forgiven first and foremost. Our life is all about forgiveness and we seem to think more worldly than spiritually. Racism will eventually go away when all Christians begin to forgive in all things. If we don’t, we will not be forgiven by God.

          • says

            How about describing what this “heritage” is? What does it mean to you? And is it possible to really separate the “heritage” from the history?

            I think your problem Bruce is how you speak – making broad-sweeping characterizations. How do you know about black churches and what is preached there? Do you regularly visit black churches?

          • cb scott says

            Big Daddy asked Bruce H.,

            “Do you regularly visit black churches?”

            If I were a working bookie, I would jump all over this one with great odds and laugh all the way to the bank.

          • Bruce H. says


            I have attended black churches because of the emotion of their pastors. It was enjoyable at the time. I read a book on the five great sermons of black preachers. Each sermon talked about slavery. I know black preachers preach about how the whites have dealt with blacks. When that stops, blacks will eventually begin to forgive. It is all about forgiveness. Isn’t it? Until we respond to God’s command about forgiveness we will never be different than the world.

          • says

            When I see comments about “heritage” such as Bruce’s, I am put in mind of Homer Stokes in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

            I am afraid that a few of the comments here demonstrate that racial insensitivity is NOT a thing of the past in the SBC.

          • cb scott says

            “I have attended black churches because of the emotion of their pastors. It was enjoyable at the time.”

            Bruce H.,

            That comment is a racist comment whether you admit it or not. Bruce H., my memory is very good. We have been down this road with you before during the various marriage posts that were up a year or so ago.

            Don’t you think it is about time to give this garbage up and rid yourself of this kind of stupidity?

            Do you really think that all Black preachers are just all emotion, Black Power and Kumbaya? That is just not true. It is no more true than to state that all preachers born in the Southland are Good Ole Boys, Rednecks, and theological dwarfs or that every preacher over 50 does not understand the gospel.

            That is just stupid and so is it to state that you have ‘attended black churches because of the emotion of their pastors. It was enjoyable at the time.”

            Now just stop it. Put this godless, pseudo-religious, trashy way of thinking and move on with your life.

          • cb scott says

            Bruce H.,

            That should have been: “Now just stop it. Put this godless, pseudo-religious, trashy way of thinking ‘behind you’ and move on with your life.”

            I needed to make a correction there, because I don’t want you to miss the point.

          • Bruce H. says

            cb – Dave,

            You have to walk in my shoes to know if I am racist or not. You have to live in black neighborhoods and go to school with blacks to know what I know. The problem with each of you is that you have not lived among or with blacks to know what I am saying. I have a different love for blacks than you will ever have. I know blacks like you know whites. I enjoyed listening to black preachers but didn’t care for their comments about whites and slavery. You were not there and have no understanding of what I am saying. Get over it.

          • cb scott says

            Bruce H.,

            Get your best and most honest friend to read what you have written here. Ask him to be truthful with you about what you have stated here and your attitude about issues of race in general.

            You may be surprised. It may also be helpful to you for the future, the rest of your life among humans.

          • Bruce H. says


            Do you keep apologizing after you have apologized? I cannot convince you how I feel toward one race. I don’t know how to address this issue to help you understand. I do not make racist jokes or comments, yet , you see my comments as racist. I don’t get it. Maybe God needs to open my eyes to what you see. Pray that way and let’s see what happens.

          • cb scott says

            ” You were not there and have no understanding of what I am saying. Get over it.”

            Bruce H.,

            Here is a question for you. Where were you April 10, 1963?

          • Bruce H. says


            The SBC has apologized to the blacks. We do not have to keep apologizing if the blacks we apologized to are Christian. Forgive and move forward. That is how I am living. Sounds bad but it is the truth we must live by.

            Sounds like Obama apologizing to the Muslims. It has to stop.

          • cb scott says

            Bruce H.,

            Here is the issue at hand. Earlier in this thread you stated that you are ‘labeled as a racist here, too. Sad.”

            Bruce H., your comments throughout your tenure here at SBC Voices have revealed time-after-time that you do, in fact, embrace a racist attitude toward Black Americans. In addition, every time you make a comment to refute your racism, you actually make it more evident that the charge is true.

            Bruce H., for you to state to me, “You were not there and have no understanding of what I am saying,” makes no sense. That is why I asked you where you were on Wednesday, April 10, 1963. You responded that you were in the third grade. Your age and grade was not what I asked you.

            Bruce H., I was in Birmingham on that day. If you know anything of the history of this nation, your telling me that I “was not there and have no understanding” makes no sense at all.

            Like I stated to you earlier, you need to deal with your problem . . . and you do have a problem with racism. Now just stop it. Put this godless, pseudo-religious, trashy way of thinking behind you and move on with your life.

          • Bruce H. says


            If you and others would look at the subject of what I am saying you wouldn’t come to the conclusion that I am a racist. The subject is “forgiveness”. When the SBC issued a statement apologizing for being racist toward blacks we should have received a response. No one has published a response that I know of. The SBC has never taught that we should forgive someone who apologizes. I have apologized here for some things that I have said and no one on this blog acknowledge my apology with a “you’re forgiven”. What is wrong with Baptist? Can’t we forgive? We don’t! So, how does anyone know they are forgiven? I cannot force black churches to forgive but it is what Christians are made of. We must state that the offender is forgiven. I just don’t think we as Christians forgive as Christ has taught. We are silent when it comes to this most important issue. I wish I could sincerely apologize to you and Dave about my belief and comments you think are racist. I just do not see it. Blacks do not think I am racist. I get along with all races. I just don’t get what you guys see as racist. I’ll continue to be who I am and you guys keep doing what you do.

          • says

            Bruce H.,

            I’m not sure why you are assuming all the things you are assuming about African-Americans?

            To say your assumptions rest on reading a book and visiting a couple of churches says much more about you and your limited understanding/experience than about the people you speak uncharitably about.

            There’s also some irony to the fact that you wish to remember the Confederate heritage on a day to day basis – the heritage of an oppressor group in earlier centuries – yet you don’t think it proper for African-Americans to remember their heritage coming to this nation as slaves, being an oppressed people.

            I don’t think we should say someone is a racist. But we can certainly say that something said is racist. Your comments here come with the context of previous discussions as the backdrop – views about marriage that most would deem racist.

          • Bruce H. says


            We can argue forever. My point is, did black Christians forgive when the SBC apologized to them? That is simple. Show me the statement from a black group or church that states that we whites are forgiven for what we apologized for.

            We apologized. Do you and your wife continue a fight when you have apologized? Do you preach that the apology or repentance means nothing? Repentance is very important. Look at Matthew 6:14, 15 & 18:15-35. What is wrong with me stating the obvious? I am not speaking for the SBC, but it needs to be said.

          • Bruce H. says

            Done. But no one ever responded to the forgiveness issue and that was my issue all along.

          • Dave Miller says

            Bruce, forgiveness is GIVEN, not demanded. When I sin against someone, and then repent and apologize, I cannot then demand their forgiveness and act as if nothing has happened.

            After 300+ years of systematic oppression, enslavement and dehumanization, we can’t just say to our black brothers and sisters, “Hey, we repented, you need to get over it.”

            We need to prove to them that we have truly changed, that we view them as partners in the gospel, that the days of “back of the bus” treatment is over.

            Racially insensitive stereotypes set back progress.

          • Frank L. says


            While I agree with the spirit of your reply, I don’t know how to apply the specifics.

            For one, forgiveness is never optional, so it is obligatory upon the party to whom one has asked forgiveness. Otherwise, the transgression transfers to the unforgiving party: “If you will not forgive others, how can the Father forgive you.”

            Second, how much proof of repentance is necessary and what counts as proof? When does anybody suppose there will never be a white person who acts in an insensitive manner? As long as there is sin, there will be racism. So, I don’t know how SB’s, under your parameters will ever “meet the threshold of proof.”

            Third, and this really is a version of the second point, I cannot repent for other people. I never pushed anybody to the back of the bus. I never supported anybody else doing so. Some could object to your point because it could somehow be interpreted to mean that all whites are guilty of those things you mention–and more.

            I think your point of view pushes toward some type of restitution. I don’t know how that restitution could be paid, or even who should pay it.

            I’d prefer that we deal with racism like any other sin, and just be totally against it and fight to eliminate it at every chance. I don’t think the idea of holding over one’s head the sins of past is always a helpful way to discuss the matter.

            I know you disagree as you have expressed this in the past. My goal is to focus on fixing the problem, not fixing the blame. I’m not saying you are focusing on fixing the blame, but that your perspective could be perceived as such.

            The dialogue is helpful, otherwise I would not bother. So I appreciate what you are saying.

          • says

            Frank, I think you touched on an important distinction here. Corporate entities can deal only in justice. It is up to individuals to forgive individuals.

            It’s baffling to most white people to be treated as though we have personally wronged someone when we haven’t. The good news is that I don’t get treated as though I have personally wronged someone except by people who assume to speak for blacks corporately against whites corporately or for whites who assume to speak corporately for whites in apology to blacks corporately.

            In this vein, many whites are individually defensive against what they feel are false charges and many blacks are unforgiving against perceived wrongs, some corporate and some individual. There are individuals, both black and white, who treat other people poorly, especially people of other races, so sometimes the perception is correct. It’s easy to point fingers at individuals and condemn everyone corporately when we as Christians shouldn’t be in the business of condemning anyone. We are in the business of reconciliation and if we want to share the gospel with our post-Christian culture, we need to be first at reconciliation within our ranks. That means not thinking so highly of ourselves that we can’t take criticism from each other. But that also means loving each other enough to make the criticism helpful.

          • Christiane says

            The way ahead needs Christian leadership that is not afraid of the continuing pain that is born from a past of discrimination,
            but understands it and embraces it in our citizens who live with it,
            instead of pretending that this pain does not still exist,
            or worse, has no meaning in the life of this country.

          • Bruce H. says


            All the church has to do is incorporate forgiveness and preach it often. This is the first step of our walk with Christ. Thanks for your comment.

      • Donald says

        “I don’t remember anyone saying that if you don’t vote for Obama, you are a racist”


        The first one that pops into my head is Chris Matthews on the MSNBC show Hardball. You should still be able to find that video on youtube. There were others, all throughout the election.

        I will not have hyper-PC sensitivity determining anything about my actions.

        As I said before, the real danger is that the abuse of the term “racism” is going to open the door for more real racism in the future.

      • Trey D says

        Do not mistake the following comment for support of displaying of the confederate flag.

        However, to claim that as a Christian we should not display something solely because of its perception among the world is not the right argument. The reality is that there are many that perceive our life, including the Bible, is a symbol of “hate and intolerance.” I assure you , no matter how much that “perception” will persist and grow, I will not stop. Just a thought…

        • cb scott says

          The Bible as a “symbol” and the Flag of the Confederacy as a “symbol” and any comparison thereof is simply in the poorest of taste.

          Frankly, it is truly high time for any who fly or post the Confederate Flag as a symbol to just stop it. Just stop it. There are some things that need to end. Arguing to support the flying of the Confederate Flag in a public place is one of them.

          • Scott Shaver says

            The confederate flag is the second most purchased flag in the U.S. Not promoting, just saying. Looks like you’ve got a heap of folks to convince C.B.

          • Dave Miller says

            Absolutely true, CB.

            Whatever one means when they fly a Confederate Flag, they need to realize what that flag means to our black brothers and sisters.

    • Frank L. says

      “””That is because of 300 years of systematic enslavement, segregation and dehumanization.”””

      How many years of non-black slavery, or black on black slavery?

      Racism, oppression, is wrong period. It is unsafe and unwise to continue to drive always looking in the rear view mirror.

      • says

        …especially when we have slavery going on today in the United States that the media doesn’t seem to care about because it doesn’t help their political agenda. There are children and young women being sold into the sex market by the hundreds of thousands in the US. Focus on the Family just did a two-day program on it.

        We can talk about whether to be offended or offensive all day long, but there are things we need to be rightously outraged about that are going on today.

        • Donald says

          “We can talk about whether to be offended or offensive all day long, but there are things we need to be rightously outraged about that are going on today.”


  22. Jess Alford says

    Dwight McKissic,

    I don’t know if you know this about me, but I believe in treating people as equals. I had to hire a helper in my dept. once. Six men applied for the job. Five men were white, one was black. I needed someone to take up the slack while I was not in the Dept. or away on a trip. After interviewing
    all of these men, I chose the black man to fill the position. I thought I
    was going to have to fight the other five because it was in house hiring.

    I’m telling you this because I didn’t want you to misunderstand previous
    comments that I have made on this thread. I’m telling you this not to be chummy with you, I’m not sure I even like you. I’m not going to tell you
    some of my best friends are black, because they are not. I only have a few white friends.

    We are Christian brothers preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep up the good work.

  23. Jess Alford says

    Here is the gist of it, until we white people fully understand what it is like
    to be tied up and beaten until blood runs out of our backs, women raped,
    folks chained up, forced to breed like animals, fed scraps and only the Lord knows all the other pain black folks went through.

    How can we that are white fully understand what black folks went through. If I were black, I would not trust whites either, I would hate them until my dying day. Thank God, Jesus changes things.

    It will be along time before all is forgiven.

    I didn’t mean to be so graphic, but truth is truth, and yet the mistreatment of black folks go way beyond what I have described.

    Can you believe black folks were still fighting for their rights even today.

    • Frank L. says

      “”” until we white people fully understand what it is like
      to be tied up and beaten”””

      I think your post begs the question: “do you know anybody that this happened to?” It begs another question: “this is not unique to any one color of skin.”

      This kind of reasoning appeals to the “emotion” but does not further the the cause, in my opinion. I don’t need to “feel someone’s pain” to work to stop racism. For me, it’s not about emotion, it’s about reason and faith.

      Oppression of any kind because of the color of a person’s skin, or any other such factor, is simply wrong . . . period. I cannot change history. I prefer to work on today–and that is a big enough challenge for me.

      • Jess Alford says


        Not feeling soeones pain is not Biblical, emotion does further the cause, if one feels the emotion they will work a lot harder to put an end to what is wrong.

        Intellect can only go so far, when someone with more intellect on
        the opposing side wins the argument the emotion of the offended party will see them through. Emotion with conviction is a winner.

  24. says

    Too often we approach such a discussion culturally, regarding past wrongs and personal feelings. These have a place and need to be discussed, but are not the starting point. We must begin with the scriptures, or, as Job wrote, “this has to be a Christian debate in a Christian context.”

    Dave wrote, “The time is long past when we can say racially insensitive things, or use racial stereotypes, then claim that we did not intend for them to be racist or hurtful.” This is true, but set almost if it is wrong because of the times in which we live. Many years ago I attended a company sexual harassment class in which the instructor told the men, “We can’t do that anymore” — implying that you can’t get by today with things you once could. I think he got his words a little tangled, yet there was a load of truth in that statement as well. But sexual harassment or racial slurs, if they are wrong, have always been wrong. We must judge right and wrong by the Word of God.

    A good place to begin, imo, is Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians found in chapter 4, verse 29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.

    Good communication builds up rather than tears down. It serves the hearers. Does any communication that puts down another minister grace? Rebuke is good and necessary, but what about a mean remark designed solely for humor? I don’t think so.

    Another problem is our efforts to correct this through peer pressure rather than the education of the Word of God and the effects of the Holy Spirit. So many things, whether they are right or wrong, can be affected through “peer pressure”. The vote on homosexuals in the Boy Scouts is good evidence of that fact. Sometimes this peer pressure itself devolves into the equivalent of name calling, which in itself is another form of corrupt communication.

    We would do well to remember that “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Will we be satisfied if people just cover their tracks and don’t say offensive things publicly to the wrong people, or do we hope to change the hearts of men and women? Peer pressure doesn’t change hearts. God does.

  25. says

    Racism is wrong. But sometimes we can be too sensitive.

    Thomas Sowell said, “The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.'”

    David R. Brumbelow

  26. Donald says

    I just want to say a big “Thank You” to everyone who has contributed to this conversation.

  27. Jim says

    This is a really good post. Especially for someone like me who has just given his life to god. I did come across this problem several times in my christian life but was told by my christian brothers that the bible says not to be prideful. Can you please tell me the bible verse’s which says otherwise.