Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy shines rapper Lecrae's shoes at roundtable, tells white Christians to repent for racism
"Any expressions of a contrite heart, of a sense of humility, a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment … an apologetic heart, I think that’s what our world needs to hear today," Cathy said
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy called for white Christians in the US to repent for racism and fight for justice alongside their black brothers and sisters in a roundtable conference on Sunday, June 14, at Passion City Church in Atlanta.
The 70-minute-long discussion took place days after an African-American man, Rayshard Brooks, was shot to death by an Atlanta police officer, which started a fresh wave of anti-racism protests in the country, which was already reeling with the death of another black man, George Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest on May 25. Cathy spoke with Passion City founder Louie Giglio and Christian rapper Lecrae after his company suffered vandalism in about a dozen of the chain’s restaurants over the past week. Cathy said that instead of white people condemning the destruction of local businesses and property, they should try to understand the underlying frustration of the Black Lives Matter protesters.
“[M]y 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 on some of those activists within the African-American community,” he said. "Our silence is so huge at this time. We cannot be silent. Somebody has to fight and God has so blessed our city, but it’s shameful how we let things get so out of whack."
At one point, he even bent down to shine Lecrae’s shoes on stage. "Any expressions of a contrite heart, of a sense of humility, a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment … an apologetic heart, I think that’s what our world needs to hear today," he said. He added that he had conversations with his employees on the matter and realized even in his corporate office there were "conscious and unconscious biases" that made team members of color feel like they weren't "treated with honor, dignity and respect."
As a result, he deduced that many white residents of the country had not taken the time or put in the effort to hear out their African-American comrades. “This has led to a sense of apathy, indifference – you know, it’s somebody else’s deal, this is about, you know, police shooting people,” he said, then added, “It’s much more than that. It’s about the grind of that kind of indignity and other expressions of it.”
Addressing the fact that protesters had set fire to a Wendy’s outlet after Brooks was shot and killed by police, Cathy said whites need “a period of contrition” and “a sense of real identity, not just criticizing people that are burning down that restaurant last night.” he added: “[W]e as Caucasians, until we’re willing to just pick up the baton and fight for our black, African-American brothers and sisters, which they are as one human race, we’re shameful. We’re just adding to it. Most of us, white people, we're out-of-sight-out-of-mind oblivious to it. We cannot let this moment pass."