You knew it only was a matter of time before Jesse Jackson Sr. joined the “Duck Dynasty” fray and call for some kind of meeting to right all those wrongs caused by Phil Robertson’s recent comments. Yes, Jackson has called for a meeting with himself, A&E and Cracker Barrel executives to discuss the matter and how these two companies have given Robertson a large platform to disseminate his racist and bigoted comments.
Jackson is known for playing the “race card” whenever it will benefit him, threatening boycotts against companies to persuade them to see things his way. One of the most talked about was in 2006 -2008 against Toyota when Jackson and his PUSH Coalition received $8 billion to increase minority participation in the company. This money was to be distributed among various entities subject to the Reverend’s approval and presumably groups he has a financial interest in. Certainly far from the dream his mentor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had when they marching for true civil rights.
At issue are the patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family, Phil Robertson, comments in a GQ article regarding how blacks were treated in the south when he was young. He stated he would work picking cotton with blacks and never saw them mistreated, in fact he said they were always “Happy, Happy, Happy” (sorry for the two extra happys). For anyone white growing up at that time in the south they probably agree with Robertson, and they are probably wrong. Blacks were taught to be seen and not heard and put on a “happy face.” No one can honestly deny mistreatment of blacks, especially in the south at that time in history. But for Jesse Jackson to join the “Duck Dynasty” fray and equate Robertson’s comments to those of the bus driver who told Rosa Parks to give up her seat for a white person are a little out there.
Robertson, in either his comments on blacks or his others on homosexuals committing sins not once said either of these groups should be persecuted or lynched, or anything else, he only stated his beliefs. But then the Jesse Jackson’s, Al Sharpton’s and Jeremiah Wright’s of the world never miss an opportunity to profit from any comment mentioning blacks and even the slightest hint of mistreatment, real or imagined.
The bigger issue here is not what Robertson said, he is free to say whatever he darn well pleases, but rather the hypocrisy of A&E and even to an extent Cracker Barrel. A&E said they were putting Robertson on hiatus, yet they have been running “Duck Dynasty” marathons since the controversy erupted, capitalizing on the publicity. If A&E were really so concerned with his remarks and how they as a company support diversity, they would have pulled the show completely off the air. Evidently they really only care about one color – green. And Cracker Barrel to a lesser extent can also be blamed for bowing to the almighty dollar, although in their case, they should give their customers and the American public more credit than they do. If their customers, just like television viewers are so offended by Robertson’s comments they can show this by not buying “Duck Dynasty” products and not watching the show. It really is that simple.
Jesse Jackson doesn’t need to join the “Duck Dynasty fray, this isn’t a race issue, nor is it a gay rights issue as no one’s rights, other than maybe Robertson’s freedom of religion rights, have been violated. Phil can quack about his beliefs and he is free to believe what he wants and to express those views. There was no chorus of duck calls asking people to relegate blacks to picking cotton so they can sing and be happy, there was no call for gays to stop what they are doing, none of that. But this is America today, anyone who can make a buck, no matter how shameless it may be, will try. Jesse Jackson, A&E, Cracker Barrel and even the “Duck Dynasty” folks are all doing it, but at least Phil isn’t a hypocrite like the others.
Commentary by Paul Roy