Racial Confusion

After a chapel message wherein Bob III addressed his stance on interracial dating/marriage, “Peter” sent a letter simply asking how BJU could take this this position since Moses had married an Ethiopian.
The response from BJII is below, exemplifying all of the grace, compassion, and wisdom that one would expect from a fundamentalist. Can you spot the bit where he goes really off track on the matter of which races are which?

To answer the question I posted above, here’s a picture of Emperor Haile Selassi I, “the famous white dude” and his wife.

One can only imagine that all through history people like the Joneses had in their possession a a sacred color wheel that they passed down through the generations to determine who is morally allowed to date whom based on shade, tint, and hue.

216 thoughts on “Racial Confusion”

  1. From a letter Dr. Bob III wrote to Congressman Joseph Crowley (D – NY) on 3/28/2000:

    Your statement, “The recent public uproar over your institution’s restriction on interracial dating convinced you to alter that policy,” is untrue, and I want you to be assured of that.

    “…the policy was not altered because of public
    pressure. It was altered because it was such an insignificant and immaterial thing to us that it was never discussed or taught here. Many generations had come and gone and didn’t even know what it was.

    The policy was changed to show how wrong they [the Media] were about its importance to us and how wrong they were about it being a symbol of racism. We’re not at all like they caricatured us.

    Because the rule gave them a wrong impression of this school, it was incumbent upon the institution to take the initiative to give a right perspective of what it is.

    We’re people motivated by principle, not by pressure.

    1. After reading that, I’m convinced that BJIII is just full of ****! What a load of crap! Someone should have sent a copy of “Is Segregation Scriptural?” to the Congresssman….

      “it was insignificant and immaterial thing”….pure and unadulterated grade A+ South Carolina BULLSHIT!

    2. @The CEO. My attendance at Bob Jones stretched from the elementary school on and I ASSURE you that we students were WELL aware of that policy. It is a lie to insinuate that generations had come and gone and had not known about it. Wow.

      1. I agree that even as late as my freshman year (98-99) students were quite aware of the rule. It never directly affected me or my closer friends, but we talked about it.

        Again, 1999 was only a year before the big blow-up. So, I call BS on BJIII’s assertion that:
        “it was such an insignificant and immaterial thing to us that it was never discussed or taught here. Many generations had come and gone and didn’t even know what it was.”

  2. True Story. I had a friend at BJ who was half Korean, half American. She was one of those children fathered by a US Serviceman. She was adopted by a white American family, raised as an American and dated ‘white’ guys. I believe she was raised in New England so apparently she didn’t have much of a choice.
    There was a guy at BJ who was half Chinese.
    These were both good kids btw. Not rebellious…decent people.
    HE was allowed to date anyone he wanted to. SHE was not. She could only date Asians.
    Why? Because by some trick of genetics she happened to LOOK more Asian than he did.
    It was about what things looked like…not about what things were ‘true’.
    She didn’t complain or cause any trouble but quietly withdrew and and attended another Bible college.

    And I was one of those kids who was ‘several generations down the line’ from my Cherokee ancestor. I’ve had a good life and I thank great grandpa every time I go to cash a casino check. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    1. I’m so glad that my BIL (a BJU graduate) decided not to send his daughter to BJU for college. He’s married to a Chinese gal; they live in Hong Kong. And I’m afraid that even today, my niece would be pressured (not told outright, because, after all, that policy is “gone”) to date only one race.

      Instead, she’s at Calvin in MI – close enough to family and still getting a Christian, regionally accredited, education.

    2. “It was about what things looked like — not about what things were ‘true’.” This is sadly so true of fundamentalism. They are like white washed sepulchres full of moldering bones, cups wiped clean on the outside but dirty inside. They’re so concerned with “appearance” that they discount the reality. It’s so warped.

    3. So when you have to check which ethnicity you are when filling out papers at BJ it’s for more than statistical info? they used it to track you? Wowee. What a busy life chaps must have had. Makeing sure all the right people were dating The One that had been chosen for them.

      I wonder if a converted Jew had to keep his bloodline pure at BJ too.

      1. I’ve always wondered what would happen if you lied about your racial ethnicity on one of those things! “I’m Hispanic, can’t you tell?” “Prove it!”

        Wow… just… wow. I can’t believe someone would get away with having such a rule like this so long. But then again, history tells us that crazy people are often in control. 🙄

    1. He’s not ignorant. He just willfully denies known facts. In his mind, he’s completely correct. It just doesn’t translate to those of us who regurgitated the Kool-Aid.

  3. Soooo divisiveness, bad. Disagreement with the manogid is divisiveness, but RACISM is AOK ❓

  4. When I was a student there, one of my best friends was black. He was very popular – class president our sophomore year. I knew several white girls that were interested in him, and had to be his ‘friend’. The whole thing pissed me off, but since nobody can REALLY date at BJU, it wasn’t a huge deal to him that he couldn’t sit beside his ‘friend’ at an Artist Series. I used to joke with him that they were gonna change the dating policy 5 minutes after he graduated. I was off by about 3-4 years, but he went to law school and met and married his (white) wife there. I asked him one time about how people in the black community reacted when they heard he went to BJU. He told me that he was at Haywood Mall buying something one day. The lady at the register was black. She was very pleasant, and they were engaging in small talk while she checked him out. When he told her he was in college, she asked which one. When he told her Bob Jones she abruptly ended the conversation, and turned her back on him. Didn’t say another word. The story gave me a whole new perspective that I hadn’t considered. On top of the indignity he had to put up with every day on campus, a large portion of the African-American community considered him a sellout, or worse, because he attended BJU. My friend had won a national speech contest in high school. He had a genuis IQ. He had recruiting letters from Harvard. But, because his parents were Christians and he went to a Christian high school, he decided to go to BJU. So I have zero sympathy for BJU when it comes to this area. They haven’t been misunderstood. They have a uniquely racist history that is completely documentable. They DESERVE every bit of negative publicity they get when it comes to matters of race.

    1. And yet how many times did we hear about BJU’s “great Greenville testimony”? I guess they forgot to ask anyone other than white Baptists.

      1. The very white lady who did our after school program is from Greenville. Pretty much everybody with the exception of Greenville area IFB churches can’t stand BJU. It’s rampant. Their “good testimony” in the area exists only in their minds.

        1. TRUE TRUE TRUE! I worked at North Hills Medical Center in Greenville, and sat betwixt two employees, a white Bob Joneser and a (devout, I thought) black Baptist, and I actually had to convey messages to them (“Tell her I need the white-out” “When is she going to lunch?”), since they would not speak to each other.

          When I first got there, didn’t know why. I finally asked the black lady and she simply replied, “Bob Jones,” as if that explained everything in two words.

          I guess it did.

          You could cut the hostility and tension with a knife.

  5. Can we all agree that Bob Jones University and its leadership are neither ignorant nor truly apologetic? To call BJU ignorant is to liken them to “being in the dark”. They weren’t in the dark; they were openly racist, even when the times and traditions had changed. Even when there is no biblical support for the type of racism they were demonstrating.

    What’s worse is BJ3 isn’t even willing to concede (in 1995 – I don’t think he’d dare write something like this today) that this may just be a conviction. Someone that can’t be spelled out directly with Biblical support. All he’s saying is this is “the way it is” and if you don’t like it, keep your big mouth shut.

    I’m not a big Rachel Maddow fan (well, really not a fan at all), but she had a guest on her show a while back that spoke of evangelical leaders and they way they discuss things behind closed doors. Whether it is true or not what the guest said, I’d LOVE to be a fly on the wall in one of the Jones’ homes, office, private setting, etc, just to hear the way they speak of other people. Just based on this letter, I’m willing to bet it’s not all roses.

  6. triple sticks is an ass. i was in that chapel service, and his explanation was a long string of non sequiturs… what an unmitigated ass. plain and simple. so much for freedom of inquiry in a university setting.

  7. I think I grew up in a pretty color-blind environment. I remember hearing about “no interracial marriage” and wondering how such a stance could be Scripturally justified. I have heard many answers, but none of them seemed to me to be convincing.

    But, let me point out that separation is not the same as racism. If someone honestly believes that God wants “the races” to be kept separate, I’ll think he is wrong, but not necessarily racist. One is a racist when one thinks one race is inferior to another race.

    It is implied here that all fundamentalists are racists, and that is certainly not true!

    1. I’ve heard that before, including I think while at BJU, but even if it’s true (and I no longer buy it, at all: in every case I’ve experienced, it’s merely a question of whether the racism is blatant or hidden), it’s a distinction without a difference, at least in the United States. Throughout American history, practically everybody who has advocated separation of the races has believed in the superiority of the white race. The former is, practically and historically speaking, almost inseparable from the latter. (And thus, if one is a good fundy who seeks to avoid all appearance of evil, you really ought to have very strong biblical justification before getting anywhere near a belief that the races should be separated.)

    2. Hunh? No, there’s no reason outside of racist presuppositions that someone would believe it’s morally wrong to marry someone of a different race.

    3. Dr. Camille Lewis has been doing a lot of research into the history of BJU, using accounts of Sr’s meetings and publications at the time (as well as contemporary newspaper accounts). According to her research, to the fundamentalists of Sr’s day, “separation” meant “segregation”. This supposition was a strong platform in the forming of BJU, and obviously continued to be so for many years.

      She says it so much better than I can, and has all the facts to back it up.

    4. Merriam-Webster defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” Notice the part before the conjunction: that race is the *primary determinant of human traits and capacities.* Even if you don’t believe one race is inherently superior to another, making judgements about who should date/marry whom, interact with whom, employ or be employed by whom, etc. based on race is racism.


  8. I remember a young man who went to BJU with me. He was a freshman in my society, half African American, half caucasian american. He was dark skinned but reddish and had freckles. He came to me for advice, obviously upset. He told me that he was told that as a mixed race person, he had to pick which race he would date. My response being the idiot that I was, was to tell him to choose white. After all, 2000 or so white women or 5 Timothy students from other nations. He said, yeah I get it but I feel like I would be turning my back on my father (who is African American) by making a choice for white women over black women. I told him it is tough, ultimately he needed to decide if he could stay at a school that forced himm to make that kind of choice. He did not come back the next semester

  9. As a grad, this is saddening. I was there in 2000 when he “dropped” the rule on Larry King. And I’ll confess that I was one of those students that said it really never mattered to most of us. I know now that that was because I’m white.

    Also, I’m from the south (NC originally) & racist attitudes like this aren’t new to me. Not at all saying that makes it ok, just that I grew up with that. I grew up hearing the N-word spoken by grandparents. I remember my grandmother upset because there was a mixed race family in our church & she thought it was wrong that they could attend. Even my parents, who I’m sure don’t consider themselves racists, definitely have racist-tendencies. So to go to a college that won’t allow inter-racial dating wasn’t a big deal to me . . . at least back then.

    1. And I’ll confess that I was one of those students that said it really never mattered to most of us. I know now that that was because I’m white.

      That’s what us Liberals call a “privilege check”. It wasn’t a big deal for you because it didn’t victimize you.

      Personally, I’m against interracial marriages – who wants to marry a horseshoe crab? Other members of the Human Race are just fine, no matter what color their skin is.

  10. I’m white. It is rumored I have one Native American ancestor way back – considering the black hair on my dad and one of his sisters, and the fact my dad could not grow a beard, that looks like there is some truth to that rumor.

    Anyway, my Dad’s older brother and his cousin both married Japanese women. One of my cousins married a half Mexican, half Native American man, and another cousin married a Mexican man. Guess our family wouldn’t have passed BJU racial tests!! 🙄

  11. This letter really grieves me. As I’ve stated before, my entire family has been closely tied to the university for several generations, and I have relatives who grew up on campus alongside BJIV and Stephen. I myself had lengthy conversations several times with BJIII and Beneth. They were both friendly, down-to-earth, and easy to speak to. I heard BJIII go off in the pulpit, of course, but I thought that was just his thing to do during preaching. This letter, however, is totally disgusting.

  12. I cheer myself up with the possibility that if/when the Joneses get to heaven, they get Al Sharpton’s body, in one of his 80’s track suits, to live in for all eternity.

  13. @Megan – I agree with everything you say, except that BJIII wouldn’t write this letter today. I guarantee his thinking hasn’t changed at all. His attitude is the same. Pride is there. All of the things that made him write the letter in the first place are unchanged, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a letter like this with 2011 on it.

    The ONLY thing that might give him a moment of pause today is their enrollment problems. He’s always believed that it’s his birthright to act in an unChristlike way, on Christ’s behalf.

  14. At FBC Hammond, Hyles would take the time to have each visitor stand, introduce themselves and tell where they were from. The usual joke, when the visitor was Hispanic, was for Hyles to state that he knew a few words in spanish, ” enchilada, taco, burrito…” anyway, One meeting, two Japanese young men introduced themselves and Hyles said, ” I know some Japanese words, Nagasaki and Hiroshima!” We were stunned. Was it generational racism, or just plain stupidity? don’t know, but we were one more step towards leaving.

    1. Wow. That’s truly appalling. What a cruel, arrogant, rude, un-Christlike thing to say.

  15. At FBC Hammond, Hyles would take the time to have each visitor stand, introduce themselves and tell where they were from. The usual joke, when the visitor was Hispanic, was for Hyles to state that he knew a few words in spanish, ” enchilada, taco, burrito…” anyway, One meeting, two Japanese young men introduced themselves and Hyles said, ” I know some Japanese words, Nagasaki and Hiroshima!” We were disgusted. Was it generational racism, or just plain stupidity? don’t know, but we were one more step towards leaving.

      1. @ Presbygirl, I particularly like the OPC’s General Assembly 1936 Liberty of Conscience decision! 😆

        1. @OWB. Do tell me more? I’ve read some of the Book of Church Order but….zzzzzzzzzzz

  16. You’d be surprised. Heh. I’m in an awesome state of being. I couldn’t be less fundy myself, but for political reasons with my parents I’m going to BJU. It’s so much fun. Shit hits the fan every day. I know that one day something’s going to tip me over the edge; I’m going to stand up for what I feel is right and get the boot for it.

  17. Also. I’m going to make someone’s day hell if they kick me out for something like this. Racist bullshit among God’s people is one of the amazing sins that Jesus came to conquer, defeat, and free us from.

    1. i love you alex, so glad we’re fighting the G Fight alongside each other. this kinda crap can’t go uncontested!
      (waiting for fundy troll to point out the fact that strong language is a more vile sin than blatant racism. bring it. and show me how that is biblical.)

      1. I’d like to see a Fundy successfully prove ANY sin they normally rail on as a more vile sin than racism.

  18. Racism makes me SO furious. I hate hate hate hate hate it so much I can’t even explain.
    Triple Sticks makes me SO furious. I hate hate hate hate hate it so much I can’t even explain.
    Combine these two into one and KABOOM. One very angry ex-fundy.

  19. Alex and Nate, I understand your anger, I have been there. I and my family have been attacked from the pulpit in front of thousands of people. I didn’t fight back. We walked away. The sooner you do the same, the sooner you will start to heal with God’s help. You will someday look back with sadness, and yet laugh. This site will help you, we understand.

    1. I’m a very positive person & part of an excellent church where things that don’t matter aren’t part of the equation. but things like this that fight so hard against the spread of the gospel. Convinced they’re doing it in Christ’s name. I can’t help being righteously angry 🙂

      1. Nate, I’m glad there are people like you (and my sister, haha) at BJU, even though I wouldn’t wish BJU on anyone. When I was there and “doubting” fundamentalism, I wasn’t surrounded completely by fundies. . . .

        1. thank you 🙂 i know as long as there is an art department, there will be awesome people. hahah!

          But yes, it is good to have these people around for the sake of all the poor non-fundy souls who are pressured into going there. (I don’t buy into that illogical, goofy “no one is FORCED to go to bob jones, it’s a free country and they’re adults!” argument. it’s only 10% true.)

  20. This whole discussion just proves what I’ve always said….the only color the Joneses are interested in is….GREEN

  21. Man, reading that letter just makes me more embarrassed of the fact that I actually graduated from that place. I would have been a Freshman when triple sticks preached that message and wrote that letter. My good friend was really hurt by that place over their stupid policy at the time.

  22. Ahh the race issue…. LOL, my freshman year at Bible College, I went to the Christmas Banquet with an absolutely GREAT African girl (originally from Rwanda, moved to the US in her teens). We had a stinkin blast. What made the whole night better was us going up to greet the special speaker after his message. He is strictly AGAINST inter-racial dating, and has written such in his “dating” book. BWAHAHA, it was like, “Hi, I’m Drew. [introduces date].” He looks at us….strained smile…few mumbled nice words…then turned away. EPIC 😈

  23. In all seriousness this is just sickening. Take the name off the letter, and would you believe this was written by a Christian? I don’t know BJIII, nor do I have a particular axe to grind against him, but if that letter is telling evidence of his character, I could not tell that man he should expect to enter heaven. I know that sounds judgmental, but believers are told to make sound judgements, especially of those who call themselves teachers. In 1John, we read that many people claim to be teachers of Jesus, but we will know the true brethren by their LOVE. That letter seems to be quite clear that the writer loves not people of other races, at least enough to break from a highly suspect “tradition,” nor does it show an ounce of love to the addressee. I am but a beggar who depends upon the grace of God but I have dedicated my life to the study and proclamation of God’s word and in my opinion, the grace of God does not reside in that man.

  24. After all, everybody knows that Jesus was a good ole southern boy with a KJV 1611 accent…

  25. We had a sermon about once a year in the fundy college I attended about how God intended to keep the races pure. The president, who was the speaker, even said when he looked for a wife, he looked for someone of the same nationality.

    1. How is that even supposed to work, given that according to the (ultra-literal interpretation of the) Bible EVERYONE ON EARTH is descended from Noah’s family?

  26. Yes it’s hateful and racist, but look at it this way: it probably discouraged a lot of non-white kids from going to BJU, and in the end, isn’t that a good thing?

    1. I think that it discouraged a lot of KIDS from going to BJU, regardless of race. At least I hope so. I wish I could say that I were one of those who decided against BJU based on that.

    2. I did not even apply because I was discouraged about being a minority attending such an institution. So happy that I didn’t go.

  27. Isn’t it sad how people who point out the problem get viciousness and nastiness turned back on them? It seems to be fairly common unfortunately, a lack of compassion and patience.

  28. Someone should publicly call him on this… would LOVE to hear Jon Paite’s answer to this. He’s a liar, besides the fact that he’s completely arrogant and cruel in his response.

    Run Stephen, run!

  29. @ Presbygirl,The 1936 OPC Liberty of Conscience Decision deals with alcohol and the drinking thereof in moderation. After 50 plus years of fundy verbotenism, I now enjoy a wee dram of fine scotch, beer, wine, vodka, gin, etc, and not feel guilty or ashamed but rather rejoice in what God has created for our enjoyment.

    1. @OWB I was pretty sure that alkeehol was the subject matter but now I know for sure! Thanks! Cheers, salut… 🙂

    1. Yes, I agree that the perception is Stephen is kinder. He’s inherited a mess though and his health is not good. He probably should save his family and health and get out while he can.

  30. and by the way im not condoning any of this by ANY means…my sis went to bju when the policy was still in place and had friends that were ostracized…im glad it was gone by the time i went…im still trying to block out those memories…;)

  31. I have posted a link to this letter on my Facebook page. Some have questioned its authenticity. Specifically, it was mentioned that Peter’s name at the top of the second page, but not at the top of the first page is indication that this letter is a fabrication.

    Is this true? How do we know this letter is an actual letter from BJ and not a fabrication?

    1. Dan, I assure you that it’s authentic. I chopped it out to obscure personally identifiable info due to my family having close ties with the University. I have the original which does have my full name and University PO box number; as would all correspondence from armnistration.

    2. I certainly can’t confirm the letter’s authenticity, but claiming that it’s a fake because Peter’s name doesn’t appear at the top of the first page is just silly. I just sent out a letter to opposing counsel yesterday that follows precisely this format. The top of the first page of the letter is for letterhead, and you don’t clutter it up with unnecessary information: Why would you need the addressee’s name, the page number, and the date on the first page of a letter, where the name and date already appear and the fact that it’s the first page is obvious? The whole point of the header on pages 2 and following is to allow both sender and recipient to identify what letter those otherwise unmarked pages belong to…

  32. Interracial mixing is a good time. I have been to Colombia and Costa Rica and I have never seen so many beautiful women in my life. When was the last time you saw someone working in an American McDonalds that could pass for a model? Almost every Tica working in the downtown San Jose, CR, McDonalds was cute.
    The BBC ranks Medellin, Colombia as having one of the greatest concentrations of beautiful women in the world. I have an American friend who lives there, and he can testify to that fact.
    Brazil and the Philippines are also known for their beautiful women. Few purely white people in any of these countries.

    1. So, Mark, what you’re saying is that interracial marriage leads to the birth of beautiful women, which we all know leads to lust, particularly in those warm climates where people are more prone to leave their skin exposed to the lustful stares of lust-prone men. I don’t know how any fundamentalist could support interracial marriage when it’s put that way… 🙄

  33. At SharperIron I had the audacity to ask questions about why fundamentalists leaders refuse to separate from disobedient brethren. I had my posting privileges taken away!

    BJ, III is an unrepentant liar. On Lafry King Live, he lied about the importance of the inter-racial dating and marriage policy. Yet not one fundamentalist leader or institution has called for fundamentalists to separate from BJ, III and BJU?

    Why is that? Is lying not a sin? Does separation only take place when a fundamentalist dialogues with a conservative evangelical (historical fundamentalist)?

    I am calling on Matt Olson, of NIU, to publicly rebuke and separate from BJU, III for his lies and for his support and endorsement of the unrepentant, convicted child abuser Caleb Thompson.

  34. Strangely enough, almost all modern geneticists consider Ethiopians to be primarily sub-Saharan African, (commonly known as “black” in Western social parlance and in government statistical categories) even when recent Arab or Middle Eastern mixes are considered. And Ethiopia is located below the Sahara, and is thus “sub-Saharan”. Its people are thus “sub-Saharan Africans.” So how then do the bright lights at Bob Jones say Ethiopians are not black Africans?

    Here for example is data from conservative geneticist Cavalli-Sforza 2002, 1994 on Ethiopians:


    Note Cavalli-Sforza is a conservative scientist who, contrary to many liberals, does believe in the biological existence of races and uses racial categories in his work. He considers Ethiopians, along with numerous of his Italian DNA collaborators such as the geneticist Passarino. Note in the QUOTATION below, at least 4 mainstream scholarly citations are made that Ethiopians are yes, “sub-Saharan” (aka “black”) Africans.. QUOTE:

    “[Ethiopians are] predominant sub-Saharan African substrate.. (Cavalli-Sforza 1997, Passarino 1998, Thomas et al 2000, Cruciani et al 2004, Luis et al 2004).
    –SOURCE: Kivisild et al 2004. Ethiopian mtDNA Heritage. Am. Journal of Human Genetics 75

    Something doesn’t quite jibe with the Bob Jones claim. If a dark-skinned “sub-Saharan African” across the border from Ethiopia a few hundred miles away marries interracial then it is “wrong”- but if a dark-skinned “Sub-Saharan African” from Ethiopia does likewise, then it is OK, because he ain’t “really” black? Such contradictions tend to make people consider the folks at BJU to be hypocritical. Some graduates of BJU consider a bit of Native American heritage a point of pride. But curiously, when a black man shows up in the mix then we see an interesting double standard…

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