Days after Pastor Louie Giglio called slavery a “blessing” during a live-streamed conversation with rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, and hours after the story blew up on social media, he’s issued an apology on Twitter:
I’m sorry—a message from my heart. pic.twitter.com/FD6AYU1mcM
— Louie Giglio (@louiegiglio) June 16, 2020
I just wanted to come directly to you today and sincerely apologize for the use of the phrase on Sunday “white blessing.” And I extend that apology today to every single person who is listening to me right now. But most importantly, I extend that apology to my Black brothers and sisters. I, like so many, am so burdened about what is happening in our nation right now. And I’m heartbroken about where we are as a nation. And one of the things that I’m most heartbroken about is trying to help myself continue to learn and to help my white brothers and sisters understand that white privilege is real.
And in trying to get that sentiment across on Sunday, I used the phrase “white blessing,” for which I’m deeply sorry. Horrible choice of words. Does not reflect my heart at all. I don’t — to be clear — believe there’s any blessing in slavery. To the contrary, what I’m trying to understand and help people see is that I, my white brothers and sisters, we sit in large part where we are today because of the centuries of gross injustice done to our Black brothers and sisters.
So this is my heart. This is what I want to more fully understand, because I believe this will help us stay engaged in this conversation so that we can all move forward together. So thank you for just letting me open my heart to you today. Thank you for letting me apologize directly to you today. And I ask that you would pray for me and possibly even join me as I just decide to continue to learn, to understand, to stay engaged, and to be a part of all of us moving forward together to the place that God wants us to be.
As far as apologies from public figures go, it’s not the worst. He acknowledged that he said a horrible thing, despite his good intentions — which is a sentiment we echoed as well. But he didn’t really explain why his statement was unnecessary and unhelpful. It’s still not clear he understands why people are upset with him. It’s not because we all misinterpreted his intentions.
As one Twitter user commented, there was never any need to “reinvent the wheel” and re-phrase things in ways that will make white people more comfortable.
Here’s some advice: Black people have been talking and writing about systemic racism and white fragility for a few centuries now. There are plenty of existing sources to draw from without having to add more. Cite them. Use your platform to amplify their voices.
I also would have suggested an addition to Giglio’s apology, which is something he should have just said over the weekend: “I know the idea of white privilege is uncomfortable to hear about, but that’s precisely the point. Sit with that.”
***Update***: Lecrae also posted this statement, saying he “wasn’t okay” with the comments even in the moment, and that he was “very uncomfortable” hearing those words.
— Lecrae (@lecrae) June 16, 2020