Pass The Mic: Processing James White With Jemar Tisby

Comments (20)
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  2. Daniel Lynem says:

    When I first read Dr White’s post and listened to his response to the request for an apologize, I had the same reaction as the brothers in this pod cast. And before I wrote anything in reply, I prayed, did Matt 15:16-20, got to do some self examination and get the beam out of my eye first. I had to make sure my heart was right before God.

    First, I do feel its a “teachable” moment. Teachable for J.W and for me and for all of us aware of this issue. If God always has us in the process of being sanctified, Phil 1:6, then it a moment for all of us.

    Second, if I heard anyone, black or white do and say the same things with the same tone and attitude as J.W. I would have been just as offended. As a matter of fact I have heard Black people say worse and I’ve taken them to task for it. so, if it was Voddie or whoever, I’m all over them in the same way.

    Third, I’ve soot to remeind people that J.W. is a sinner no more or no less than you and me. So, grace is the proper response to him in view that it was given to us.

    Lastly, I feel these brothers did a fine job in dealing with the issues and taking a most gracious, balanced and biblical approach toward Dr. White. I’m confident God was Glorified. We may not all agree with each point but over all it has saved me the time and effort I was going to put into writing a response. I now can refer those who are interested, in the situation with J.W, to, “Pass the mike” where they can hear my thoughts and positions expressed through others. Lets continue to pray for Dr. White and each other.

    In His Grip,
    (Joshua 5:13-15)

  3. Steve says:

    The Plight of Black Men

    Rest assured, I do believe there are systemic issues plaguing black men. These issues are violence, criminality, and immorality, to name a few. And all of these issues are rooted in and connected to the epidemic of fatherlessness. Any truly gospel-centered response to the plight of black men must address these issues first and foremost. It does no good to change the way white police officers respond to black men if we don’t first address the fact that these men’s fathers have not responded to them appropriately.” – Voddie Baucham

    Where is the outrage against him?

  4. Conrad Steward says:

    Hello brothers, I am a African-American, and I really enjoy your program, but I find it troubling that we as a people have become hyper sensitive. I feel if Dr.Tony Evans or some other respected African-American would have made this comment it would not be an issue. In your opinion Dr. White made a mistake, cover him with God’s grace!

  5. Zachary says:

    White is right. If Dr. Baucham made the same comments there would be no controversy!

  6. CSD says:

    First, your show is such a blessing and I really appreciate your willingness to tackle these types of subjects. Second, thank you for this show in particularly. As someone who was familiar with James White and I have respected his work in apologetics, I found his post extremely troubling and at the same time, not very shocking. As someone who has attended largely White churches and schools much of my life, I have heard and been angered by many statements such as these down through the years.

    Some using Black ministers as a sort of “pass” to say, “If he would have said it, the statement would be okay…” is analogous to saying, “Well, what about black-on-black crime?”. It is a straw-man argument that can be easily refuted if space allowed.

    To say that Mr. White was just pointing out Black pathologies in the community is also a typical White supremacist position, one that signifies that “we” determine what “you” should talk and be upset about. We simply cannot talk about the way the Black community is today, without a discussion on how these pathologies began in the community. To do so in a vacuum means that perhaps they are genetically more prone to some immoral type of life, while other ethnicities are not. Of course, we know biblically, this is untrue, but is is the logical conclusion with such an isolated argument. More importantly, to not have this discussion (which makes your show so needed), means that we keep supporting political and economical positions that keep many of those pathologies alive and well today in the Black community.

    History and experience has sadly taught me that for many (of course not all), when given the choice between being White and being a Christian, it is too difficult to give up the former for the latter. The Church (especially in the United States) has struggled with this for centuries, and we will likely be struggling until the Lord returns.

  7. John N. says:

    Mr. Tisby, why is this a teachable moment for Mr. White and not for you?

    1. Lynnette says:

      Hey John N.

      So this post doesn’t end up causing too much ruckus. Mr. Tisby, said Dr. James White and the church. Mr. Tisby is a part of the church being a Christian. Just to answer your question, which was a good one.

  8. Keith says:

    Thankyou @Ed.

  9. Ed says:

    I have enjoyed the few podcasts that I have listened to by recommendation. I have not decided yet if i will add Pass The Mic to my regular podcast list, but I feel it helps to understand the views of others even if, or especially if, I disagree with them. I prefer clarity to agreement.

    I do plan to listen to the podcast regarding Dr. White again to take notes. I noticed several interesting comments that i would like to have on hand before addressing them.

    I do have two questions that came to mind as i was listening. First, would Dr. White’s message have been better received had it come from Dr. Baucham? If so, why? If not, why not?

    Second, how would you respond to someone like Pastor Saiko Woods, who agrees with and supports Dr. White? I would truly love to hear a podcast addressing his message, as some have simply dismissed him because his narrative does not coincide with their own. His response can be found on his YouTube page. I would post a link, but I do not know your policy regarding outside links.

    Thanks for your input.

  10. g says:

    Stay in there Jemar. lead on. Please! I won’t give up believe that I am already statistically condemned even if some brothers in Christ think it of me, unless you shrink back from defending me and my not yet brothers.

  11. keith says:

    Its interesting that jamar, didn’t mention Voddie Bauchams nor Sowells statements on this exact issue. Awhile back, they both addressed these exact same demographics. The %’s, and so on. It’s disingenuous to call out Dr. White for stating the obvious, and leave out baucham and sowell. In Jamars words “that’s hurtful”. Why? Because he cherry picked only when Dr. White said the exact same thing. It is “ethnic Gnosticism”.

    1. Ed says:

      They really need a like button on their comments. Keith, you are spot on in your assessment.

    2. Justin says:

      Baucham has a store of experience from which to draw. He is a black pastor at a black church. White doesn’t. He is not a pastor but a professor and apologist. So these comments are coming from different places, one from experience both personal and professional and one from selective experience and prejudgment. Dr. White doesn’t need to be protected here…he needs to be called to repentance.

  12. Jack says:

    @DJ The argument you and many others seem to be representing is: “Why is it wrong to define black people by and call out black people for their negative behaviors that statistically define their demographic?” The answer to this should be clear, but let me provide some definition. To stereotype people by their behaviors is an insensitive thing to do, and reveals underlying prejudices when not applied equally. Perhaps you don’t care about insensitivity, that is your prerogative, but when Dr. White defines this young black man by his behavior he should then equally define others by their behavior. If he is in Starbucks and he sees a young man on a computer he should write a post about how chances are that young man is looking or will look at pornography on his computer. If he sees a young white man walking around a college campus he should talk about the chances that that man is fornicating, because statistically speaking he is. He also, I’m sure, has seen white students exhibiting behavior that though indicative of their race is socially destructive. I hope that upon seeing it he wrote about it. Perhaps if he did we could see a link to that. If he is going to define people by their stereotypes then he should do it with more consistency, otherwise it highlights a prejudice in his perspective against black youths. Assuming that you are a Christian, I will also highlight an argument that comes from the Christian ethic of loving others, as highlighted as a clause of the greatest commandment, to love God and love neighbor. In an explanation of the practical love of neighbor Jesus highlights men who were walking down a road who observe a man badly beaten. Assuming, probably based on their preconceived notions of the man’s state, they leave him for dead based on their own prejudices. Those prejudices play out in regards to how far above the man they were, as well as how busy they were. They were not willing to care for the man because of the state of his condition or their’s. So then a man comes along who despite the man’s situation cares for him, takes him to be cared for, and serves him in a sacrificial way. This last man is who Jesus highlights as the man who properly exemplifies the greatest commandment. In the future my hope for Dr. White is that if he sees someone who is lost in sin on the side of the road he won’t just make a commentary about statistics and stereotypes, but instead take the step to sacrificially love the man, regardless of whatever preconceived notions he may have about him.

    1. DJ says:

      @ Jack
      You wrote-
      “I will also highlight an argument that comes from the Christian ethic of loving others, as highlighted as a clause of the greatest commandment, to love God and love neighbor. In an explanation of the practical love of neighbor Jesus highlights men who were walking down a road who observe a man badly beaten. Assuming, probably based on their preconceived notions of the man’s state, they leave him for dead based on their own prejudices. Those prejudices play out in regards to how far above the man they were, as well as how busy they were. They were not willing to care for the man because of the state of his condition or their’s. So then a man comes along who despite the man’s situation cares for him, takes him to be cared for, and serves him in a sacrificial way. This last man is who Jesus highlights as the man who properly exemplifies the greatest commandment. ”

      I am a Christian and I’m black, and am familiar with this scenario. That said, there’s a flaw in your appeal and parallel with this example with that of Tisby’s (and yourself, it appears). The Good Samaritan noticed the wounds of the injured man, cleaned them and participated in the care for the wounded man’s continued healing.

      Conversely, Tisby and the likeminded, think caring for the man means intentionally and continually ignoring his wounds, or claiming his wounds aren’t as bad as they appear to be (which is dishonoring him)- and as it follows, if the wounds aren’t serious, neither is the remedy.

      Jack, that’s not caring nor loving one’s neighbor. Surely you wouldn’t apply Tisby’s example to a wayward child would you- excusing and ignoring his/her behavior rather than correcting and fashioning it?

      Again, Tisby’s concern is misguided and misdirected. And it’s sad because blacks- particularly black youth suffer. And so does the church.

  13. DJ says:

    Jemar is WAY off here, and it’s very disappointing that he refuses to address reality in favor off some misguided notion of racial sympathy and solidarity with regard to the subject of James White’s post.

    In actuality, if Tisby were intellectually honest and addressed the statistical realities, as they exist, he’d know that the stats articulated by Dr. James White in relation to black youth are accurate and statistically, predictable, however painful and unfortunate that is. And it is. In fact, Tisby is a bright guy, so I believe he does in fact know these statistical realities, which makes his moral posturing somewhat concerning, particularly since Tisby is a Christian. His unease and discomfort about what James White posted should be from the painful truth contained within the post, not the fact that White said it publicly to his “large following.”

    Tisby’s problem with White’s dash cam is nitpicking and irrelevant. Had White not had the dashcam, the young black youth would have still done what he did and White’s commentary would have still been offered publicly. The dashcam isn’t the central issue.

    Further, in this case, this black teenager’s race had everything to do with his behavior, especially considering the general level of self and social disrespect, particularly for cops (giving the cop the finger, though disconcerting, is minimal compared to what young blacks say and do toward police officers), emanating out of parts of the black community. Granted, White didn’t know the details of this kid’s life story, but again, so what? All generalizations are rooted in varying levels in truth. That a black kid felt entitled to litter and disrespect the police, while walking around in dressed in a manner that indicates a lack of self-respect- in other words, behaving in a manner that breathes life into stigmatizing stereotypes of black males isn’t White’s fault. Rather, it’s the fault, contribution and responsibility of black males who look and act… stereotypical- and the fault of blacks who actively try to ignore and downplay what most acutely understand.

    The fact that close to 75% of black children are born to unwed parents; that many children grow up in multi-partnered, female-headed households with siblings from other men, that only a third of black children grow up with two parents in the household, and the fact that non-Hispanic black women of childbearing age (minus incarceration and those suffering from mental disabilities), a demographic of about 3-4% are responsible for a third of all abortions, gives credibility to White’s commentary, regardless of how hurtful it may be. The lack of fathers in the black community, and the lack of social stigma associated with men abandoning their responsibility as fathers (and by extension, women abandoning her sexual ethics) are past crisis levels. This is a painful reality, for blacks and for Christians. That Tisby intentionally chose not focus on that which ails the black community- self-inflicted pathologies that DIRECTLY contribute to the dehumanization of blacks, internally, while that dehumanization legitimizes stereotypes externally, is really confusing. Yes statistics are good for generalizations, not for individuals. But when someone is acting in a way that reinforces generalizations, especially people we don’t know, and don’t have the time or opportunity to get to know, that’s all we have to go on.

    Are Christians, regardless of color, supposed to swallow their tongues when it comes to black pathology? If so, why and for what purpose(s)? So blacks don’t feel bad? And Tisby’s sanctimonious nerve to condemn White (and by extension, other “white” Christians) for acknowledging painful racial realities and then commenting on them publicly serves no purpose but to shame white Christians into silence while encouraging, rationalizing and justifying, self-destructive and self-debasing behaviors that are associated with black Americans- Christian or otherwise. Does Tisby feel the same when black Christians share Dr. White’s observation and concern, for the moral poverty facing the black community? Or is it just White/white Christians that he has a problem with? Why or why not?

    Again and again, Tisby ignores basic reality in favor of nitpicking around the central issues that afflict black Americans and takes the easy way out by condemning White. If this is the kind of dishonest mentality that’s in the church, which mirrors the dishonest mentality that exists outside the church when dealing with racial issues, then we may as well abandon blacks to altogether and allow them to fend for themselves, as they die a slow, painful physical, cultural, and spiritual death. Dr. White’s post is only “hurtful” to those who refuse to confront the hurtful attitudes, thoughts and behaviors pervading and killing black America.

    I really hope and pray that in the near future, brother Jemar Tisby rejects the ethically paralyzing and emotionalized position of racial solidarity and sympathy, in favor of an ethic that loves his (black) neighbor, and empathizes with his (black) neighbor, at the same time loving him by telling him the truth (about self-destructive behaviors) while rejecting the temptation to castigate, marginalize and scapegoat his (White/white) brothers and sisters in Christ.

    1. Justin says:

      You’re completely misunderstanding Tisby’s points. He isn’t looking to excuse bad behavior, he is looking to do away with pharisaical pontification without relationship. Dr. White doesn’t know this kid, he didn’t take the time to introduce himself to him, to talk to him, he merely went about executing the young man’s character without any thought or care to the young man himself. Were his facts on the plight of young blacks in this country correct…well mostly…although he ripped them from their correct context in order to present them in a fashion that solidified a point he was making (a whole other problem that needs to be contended with). We as Christians are to be more concerned with the person themselves than with a point being made. When our point becomes more important than people…we’ve lost sight of why we’re here and why Jesus came to do what he did. Tisby was in no way castigating white people, he was calling us to be involved in standing against systemic and societal injustice. He is calling us to stand against stereotypes (even if reinforced by statistics) and recognize that every single person has their own story. We are not here to judge that story, or place a value judgment upon it…we are here to hear that story and point them to Christ who has already been at work in it. Stop being so indignant and proud and listen to what is being said here. Tisby isn’t condemning…he educating…he isn’t blame shifting…he’s calling Christians to be responsible with what they have been given. I’m not sure what your race/ethnicity is but if you are white, there is a great discussion on “white privilege” somewhere on this pass the mic archive…I suggest you give it a listen.

  14. Lewis says:

    His ‘post’ was wrong and he needs to repent. The post was public and, while it was deleted, his apology needs to be public. When I heard about his I looked into it and it grieves me reading the original post and follow ups. I’m white, mid 30’s and I for a fact before being saved flipped off the police, littered and the like. So the post was way off base. Christians should do better because we KNOW better. I appreciate you all and the manner in which you have approached the topic.

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