In Gastonia, N.C., members of the Pilgrim Baptist Church dressed up in blackface while pantomiming to traditional music. Of course we have all the expected elements from the members when it was mentioned gee this is offensive.
I am not a racist. Check!
York said he’s not a racist and knows that white actors in black makeup often portrayed racist stereotypes. His church performance didn’t do that, he said.
It was not offensive! Check!
“It was in no way making fun,” Holbrooks [the church pastor] said. “Lord knows we love the old spirituals they sing. That’s why they did it.”
I have black friends. Check!
“I have some real good black friends,” York said.
No intent to offend. Check!
The performance at Pilgrim Baptist Church was meant to honor gospel music history, and was not meant to offend anyone, according to the Rev. Thomas Holbrooks Jr., pastor at the church.
Dumb as a rock. Check!
“A little tiny blonde woman sang Randy Travis. So I guess Randy Travis should be offended,” Teresa Holbrooks [the pastor’s wife] said. “My husband pantomimed playing the piano. So I guess the piano should be offended.”
Oops, that last one is not an official category on the checklist. But it always does seem to be present.
Stories like this one, and Rickshaw Rally and Skits that Teach remind me that racism is ever-present in institutions, including the church. Despite the white man’s burden, it appears that Christianity is geared towards white people. Do you suppose there are any black members in the Pilgrim Baptist Church? (Were there any black Pilgrims?)
I keep hoping one of these days the headline won’t read Black Leaders Critical of Gaston County Church Skit Meant to Honor History but maybe Leaders Apologize for Racism, Steps Taken towards Change.
Anybody still looking? The church has changed its name to Anchor Baptist.