Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy shines the shoes of black Christian rapper named Lecrae during a talk about race at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The megachurch’s pastor, Louie Giglio, was also in attendance and part of the three-person discussion. To call the event a “cringefest” would certainly be an understatement. It was difficult to watch and was ultimately did not get much accomplished.
But there were plenty of key moments and issues discussed that are worth diving into for other purposes.
The talk between the three aforementioned men appeared to have the purpose of healing racial divisions. Or at least, that would be the intended purpose even if it were not accomplished. Especially after the police-involved shooting at the Atlanta Wendy’s that resulted in the death of Rayshard Brooks. It wound up being something else and there’s not much Giglio could have done to prevent that.
A Tale Of Three Men
Let’s start with the megachurch pastor, Louie Giglio. He is a white male in his early 60’s hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. In an attempt to smooth over tensions and deal with certain “triggering” terms like “white privilege,” Giglio attempted to “flip” the term. He wanted to turn the term “white privilege” into a more palatable term for both “sides” of the argument so everyone would be happy. The term he came up with was “white blessing.”
Giglio explained “white blessing” as all Americans existing in an excellent country due to the blessing gained from the pain of slavery. But of course, his words were taken as slavery is the equivalent to a “white blessing” and he was forced to apologize. It doesn’t appear like Giglio was aiming to offend. Far from it. The issue is that his words came off totally wrong.
Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy chimed in on a few occasions with his two cents. He came across as the nicest guy in the world throughout the entire event. Everyone that has gone to a Chick-Fil-A can easily recognize their commitment to excellence and desire to go above and beyond. Maybe Mr. Cathy buys into that “above and beyond” mantra a little too much, because that’s exactly what he did here.
Here’s Where It Gets Really Cringey
Cathy shared a story of humility and grace involving a man shining another man’s shoes out of a desire to show empathy and guilt. So he decided to pull a giant brush out of nowhere and commence to get on his knees and brush Lecrae’s shoes. He did not even have on dress shoes. They appeared to be casual tennis shoes.
Cathy and Giglio were simply the poster children for the concept of cringe during the talk.
Shortly after the hour-plus long special aired, Lecrae responded to the mountain of criticism he, as well as the other panelists, received. He acknowledged that the “white blessing” thing was crazy to say and “white privilege” in itself. He didn’t say much else about Dan Cathy or his requirement to get some Chick-Fil-A stock for free after he brushed his shoes.
What Was Learned?
Overall, the special was a cringefest. Dumpster fire. Trainwreck. Everyone in this talk was on the offensive, either trying to justify their perspective or defend against a perspective that they don’t have. There is no need to become overly apologetic just for being white. It’s ok to be white just as it’s ok to be black. Just be yourself and don’t attach your personality to race. Whether you think you are the victim or you think you’re the “underserving” victor. Don’t get weird or awkward. Just be real.
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