Already marginalized by the election of a black president and his own left-wing fringe politics, the Reverend Jesse Jackson is further alienating himself from mainstream America by suggesting that “Duck Dynasty” reality star Phil Robertson is worse than the bus driver who refused to let Rosa Parks sit in peace.
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family featured on the hit show “Duck Dynasty” on the A&E basic cable network, was suspended indefinitely from filming after comments he made against same-sex marriage enraged the homosexual special interest lobby. There is, however, a tremendous backlash against the suspension. Additionally, a move by the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain to remove “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from its shelves was quickly reversed after a flurry of complaints.
Jackson is demanding a meeting with executives from A&E Networks and Cracker Barrel to discuss Phil Robertson’s comments in the GQ magazine interview that got him suspended, but is focusing particularly on other comments Roberts made relating to race relations.
In that interview, Phil Robertson complained that progress in the black community was hurt by the creation of the welfare state in the late 1960s. Pointing out that, long before he was as rich as he is portrayed on “Duck Dynasty” and was working on the same farms as civil rights era blacks, he noted:
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.
In particular, Jackson takes offense with Phil Robertson’s additional comment:
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-wlefare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly. They were happy. No one was singing the blues.
These statements uttered by [Phil] Robertson are more offense than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama more than 59 years ago… At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was “white privilege.”
A&E Networks and Cracker Barrel executives have not yet responded to Jackson’s demand.
Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are responding to the Jackson-created controversy, telling the targeted businesses to stand firm against any of Jackson’s potential radical demands and shakedown tactics. They also see Jackson making too much of the situation — essentially leading his own quixotic “me too” campaign to regain relevancy in a nation that no longer seeks his advice.
Project 21 member Demetrius Minor said:
Jesse Jackson compared Phil Robertson’s comment and same-sex marriage and race to the bus driver who demanded Rosa Parks give up her seat to a white man on a bus.
The comparison of a reality show star’s personal beliefs to a key catalyst of the civil rights movement is not only asinine — it’s straight foolery.
Additionally, Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin said:
So now Jesse Jackson want to have a sit-down with A&E Networks and Cracker Barrel over the Phil Robertson flap. Let me guess: he’s gonna try for a shakedown.
I wish that I was an executive or on the board of directors of either company. I’d deal with Jackson the way Rudy Giuliani, as the newly-elected mayor of New York City, did with Al Sharpton.
In less delicate terms, Rudy told Sharpton that his brand of race politics were unwelcome at city hall.