I got back from my long day of driving to and from Farmington to discover that a new outrage fit had broken out on both sides of the political fence over this guy from a reality show called DUCK DYNASTY. I’ve never see the show. Just seen pictures of the bearded males of the clan. So apparently daddy gave an interview to GQ (kind of a new look for a men’s fashion magazine, but whatever), and daddy said some thing about gays that is in line with his fundamentalist beliefs and people were in an uproar and A&E suspended him from the show. What has amazed me as I read reactions today is how everyone just skated past the clueless racism he uttered and just assumed those liberal assholes in Hollywood fired him because he said mean things about The Gay as Rachel Madow would say. Now the Right is howling about his First Amendment right to free speech has been abridged by A&E. No, it hasn’t. The Bill of Rights was to protect us from government suppression of speech. Mr. Duck Guy can talk about his beliefs as regards LGBT people as much as he wants, and other people can take issue with that, and his employer can choose to keep him employed or not, but the government has not been present in any of this.
What also baffles me is why all the focus was on the remarks about homosexuality while ignoring this little gem of thoughtless, and clueless racism?
“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!” Robertson said. “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
This was a comment by Mr. Robertson about African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Acts. You know, back in the good old days of Jim Crow because why would a black person want to vote? Or a black man not get lynched for looking at a white woman? Or get to attend elite universities? Or eat at the local lunch counter? Yeah, things were just great before those people got all “uppity”, and wanted equal rights.
ALERT! ALERT! I am being sarcastic.
Has it never occurred to the outraged right that maybe those remarks also had something to do with Mr. Robertson being suspended from the show? I think he might have skated if it had just been the remarks about the LGBT community, but when you wed it with the racist comment it’s not a brand with which a company wishes to associate. Were the anti-gay remarks hurtful? Yes, and I could see how they might affect a young person struggling with their identity. They offended me, but I acknowledge that for many religious people homosexuality is considered a sin. They are going to hold those beliefs, and they have a right to those beliefs and we have a right to disagree with them, and this debate will continue.
But it is not a First Amendment issue. The government was no where to be found in any of this. A&E may cut ties, but other networks may choose to give Mr. Robertson a platform and they have a perfect right to do so. And some of us have the right not to listen.