Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Tale of Two "Offensive" Pics--and One Old & Stale Narrative

Recently Jemar Tisby of the Washington Post ran a column with the title, "Why a racially insensitive photo of Southern Baptist seminary professors matters." A photograph posted on Twitter by five professors working at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), then deleted, prompted Mr. Tisby to write said article. Here is the photo:


Readers will have to show patience in parsing this incident, since it is extremely complicated. I will explain more about the photo later. First let us establish the genesis of Mr. Tisby's article. (His Twitter profile states that he is a PhD student, which I assume means he has not defended a dissertation yet. Out of respect, I like to call people the highest title I can infer, so that would be "Mr." here, though I would call him Dr. or Prof. if I could extrapolate that from what's published about him.)

The picture above only circulates on the web because some people took screen shots of it and continue to post it around, against the wishes of those who first published it. But Mr. Tisby seems in concord with those who republish the image. He fears that with the deletion of the photograph, which offended him, people might forget about it before he and others have a chance to explain why it hurt them.