Baptist seminary apologizes for photo playing to racial stereotypes

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is doing some soul-searching after a tweet from one of its professors created a backlash on social media.

To commemorate the departure of one of his colleagues, Barry McCarty tweeted out a photo of himself and four other professors dressed as what they say are rappers, complete with bandanas, hats turned to the side and gold chains.  One of the professors is even holding a fake gun.  The caption of the photo read “The Notorious School of Preaching faculty’s going away portrait.”

Ironically, the departing colleague is not in the photo but, McCarty said it was a gift to him because the professor is “an excellent rapper.”

However, context is everything. What might play in a close circle may not be equally received in the world at-large.  The photo met with some negative feedback.  One Twitter users even wrote that it was “a tone-deaf celebratory picture with racist overtones.”  In response to the feedback, Professor McCarty took down the photo.

This issue created enough concern that the school’s president, Paige Patterson, felt the need to issue an official apology.  In his statement, he writes, “Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives. Such incidents are tragic but helpful to me in refocusing on the attempt to flush from my own system any remaining nuances of the racist past of our own country.”

An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.