It’s bad enough that five white guys thought this would make for a great picture.
It’s even worse when you realize those are faculty members and administrators at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The graffiti says Notorious S.O.P., referring to the “School of Preaching.”
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) April 25, 2017
Nicola A. Menzie of Faithfully, a publication for Christian communities of color, gives the full description of who these people are.
Seen in the photo are the following Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty: David L. Allen, dean of the School of Preaching; Kyle Walker, the seminary’s vice president for Student Services and a professor of preaching; Barry McCarty, a preaching professor and Chief Parliamentarian for the Southern Baptist Convention; Deron J Biles, a Dean Emeritus and a professor of Pastoral Ministries and Preaching; and Matthew McKellar, an associate preaching professor.
One of the faculty members (perhaps McCarty) can be seen holding what appears to be a gun or similar weapon against his chest.
All those tweets from the people in the picture have since been deleted, but good luck finding any sincere apology. Dean David L. Allen said on Twitter that the image was “a going-away picture we gave to one of our faculty members today at lunch, Dr. Charette, who is himself an excellent rapper.” Because when you think rap, you think seminary instructor. (Charette is seen in this clip rapping about how “pimps, players, thugs and hustlers, all my boys that are in lock-down” need to find Jesus.)
None of that, however, makes up for taking and publicly sharing a completely tone-deaf photo that plays up racial stereotypes just for shits and giggles.
And that gun that McCarty is holding in the image? It may violate the school’s own policy against weapons.
— Andrew Caldwell (@AndrewBCaldwell) April 26, 2017
The school’s official Twitter account released a statement simply calling the picture “offensive” (without explaining why):
An offensive tweet was posted to one of our faculty members'
personal Twitter handles. We have asked that the tweet be removed. https://t.co/LUxWmUUAgu
— SW Seminary (@swbts) April 25, 2017
They’re clearly hoping this just goes away, but that’s not going to happen, in part because all those tweets meant everyone had a chance to grab screenshots.
John Fea, a professor of American History at Messiah College, really wants to know the thought process that went into this:
At some point these guys sat down in a faculty lounge somewhere and decided that it would be fun to dress this way and take a picture. At what point in this conversation did one of the guys in the photo think it was a good idea to show his gun? Did he bring it from home? Or did he have it in his office gun cabinet?
And to top it all off, these professors seem to possess virtually no historical consciousness. They have no sensitivity to the fact that Southwestern, like all Southern Baptist institutions, has a long history of racism and segregation…
Let this be a lesson to them: Maybe if they opened a book other than the Bible every now and then, they’d learn something.
(Thanks to @thephilosotroll for the link)