The CEO of Chick-fil-A has asked white Americans to repent for racism by shining the shoes of a black stranger, even after a dozen of his stores were damaged by protesters.
Dan Cathy, a devout Christian, shared his views in a roundtable discussion on Sunday at Passion City Church in Atlanta, where the fast food chain is headquartered.
The city has been rocked by protests over the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks there last weekend, as well as the earlier in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
‘We’ve had a dozen Chick-fil-A restaurants that have been vandalized in the past week, but my plea would be for the white people rather than point fingers at that kind of criminal effort would be to see the level of frustration and exasperation and almost the sense of hopelessness that exists among some of those activists within the African American community,’ said Cathy.
Dan Cathy, a devout Christian, shared his views on race in a roundtable discussion on Sunday at Passion City Church in Atlanta
While discussing the topic of repentance, Cathy got up and began to shine rapper Lecrae Moore’s sneakers, suggesting it could be a path for white people to redeem themselves
Cathy was joined in the roundtable discussion by Pastor Louie Giglio, as well as the Christian rapper Lecrae Moore.
‘We’ve got a real bad situation, and we don’t need to let this moment miss us. It has to hurt us,’ Cathy said of recent unrest over racial injustice and police practices.
‘It has to hurt us, we as Caucasians, until we are willing to pick up the baton and fight for our black, African American brothers and sisters,’ he added.
While discussing the topic of repentance, he got up and began to shine Moore’s shoes, suggesting it could be a path for white people to redeem themselves.
‘I invite folks to put some words to action, and if we need to find somebody who needs to have their shoes shined, we need to just go right on over and shine their shoes,’ the CEO said as he crouched over Moore’s sneakers with a brush.
‘Whether they got tennis shoes or not, maybe they’ve got sandals, it really doesn’t matter,’ he added.
The Cathy family, which owns Chick-fil-A, cites Christian values as part of their philosophy guiding their leadership of the company. The chain is famously closed on Sundays to honor the Christian sabbath.
Christian rapper Lecrae Moore joined the roundtable and shared his painful experiences of being profiled by police
CEO Cathy surprised the other participants when he knelt down to shine Moore’s shoes
‘Whether they got tennis shoes or not, maybe they’ve got sandals, it really doesn’t matter,’ Cray said as he scrubbed Moore’s sneakers with a shoeshine brush
Crays’ remarks provoked bewilderment and criticism on Twitter.
‘Don’t watch this if you just ate lunch…’ tweeted actor James Woods with a clip of the incident.
‘I supported Chic Fil A , when they were attacked for their Christian beliefs,’ one person tweeted, adding that Cray’s remarks ‘just made me regret ever doing that, the man is a fool. I will treat people with respect but I will not bend down and shine their shoes.’
‘Any white person who shines a black person’s shoes because they’re supposedly ashamed of racism should be ashamed of themselves,’ another wrote.
‘And any black man who allows an older (white) man to shine his shoes because of “racism” should be even more ashamed of himself,’ the person added.
‘Cathy needs to check his elitism, white Christians saved his company a few years ago, they won’t do it again,’ another added, referring to controversy over Cathy’s prior remarks opposing legalizing same-sex marriage.
During the roundtable conversation, Pastor Giglio drew backlash after referring to the ‘blessing of slavery’ and for suggesting that the phrase ‘white privilege’ could be better understood as a ‘white blessing.’
Giglio issued a tearful apology after realizing the fury his remarks had drawn.
At one point during the hour-long discussion, Giglio suggested that people who may be reluctant to accept the term ‘white privilege’ might better understand the idea if it’s called a ‘white blessing.’
‘We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say `that was bad,´ but we miss the blessing of slavery, that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people lived in and live in. And so a lot of people call this white privilege,’ Giglio said to the panelists.
The pastor later added: ‘Maybe, a great thing for me, is to call it `white blessing.´’
The online backlash was swift, and Giglio apologized in a video message posted to Twitter on Tuesday, his voice audibly shaking as he called it a ‘horrible choice of words.’
During the roundtable conversation, Pastor Giglio drew backlash after referring to the ‘blessing of slavery’ and for suggesting that the phrase ‘white privilege’ could be better understood as a ‘white blessing’
‘To be clear, I don´t believe there´s any blessing in slavery, to the contrary,’ he said. ‘What I am 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 centuries of gross injustice done to our black brothers and sisters.’
Moore, meanwhile, was criticized by some who said he failed to speak out against the words in the moment. The recording artist could be seen nodding his head up and down, and appeared to let out a laugh when Giglio used the words ‘white blessing.’
In his own tweet on Tuesday, Moore apologized to ‘anyone who was let down’ and said he was attempting to be diplomatic during an uncomfortable exchange. He said he has spent ‘years battling racism within the evangelical church,’ and that while he spoke to Giglio afterward, he ‘missed an opportunity to care for the very people I came to represent.’
Cathy, for his part, has not publicly addressed the comments.