Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has weighed in on comments made by ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson in a recent GQ interview, calling the reality star’s comments worse than those made by the driver of Rosa Parks’ bus.
“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” Jackson said in a press release Tuesday, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune. “Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.’”
In the interview with GQ, Robertson said blacks were happier during the Jim Crow era in which he was raised.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” Robertson told the magazine. “Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Rev. Jackson isn’t the first to invoke Rosa Parks in the debate surrounding Robertson’s remarks. A Republican congressional candidate in Illinois, Ian Bayne, called Robertson the “Rosa Parks of our generation,” thinking the comparison was complimentary. Bayne later told TPM that the comparison wasn’t “literal” and that he wasn’t referring to skin color.