Once again, Chick-fil-A is the subject of controversy after CEO Dan Cathy encouraged people to shine the shoes of black strangers as a means of crossing racial barriers.
The suggestion seemed to be likened to the Biblical roots of washing of people’s feet—a trend that made waves in churches last week, particularly after an old episode of Mister Rodgers washing a black man’s feet resurfaced.
Cathy’s comments were made during a roundtable discussion with Lecrae Moore and Pastor Louie Giglio at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14. Putting action to his words, Cathy got up during the discussion and shined the shoes of Lecrae, a well-known black Christian rapper.
The restaurant CEO explained that the world should feel a sense of shame and embarrassment and have an “apologetic heart” after what has happened.
“I invite folks to just, to put some words to action here,” said Cathy as he shined the rapper’s shoes. “And if we need to find somebody that needs to have their shoe shined, we need to just go right on over, and shine their shoes.”
During the event at Passion City Church, the CEO said that protesters had vandalized a “dozen” Chick-fil-A locations over the last week. He begged white people to “see the level of frustration, exasperation, and the sense of hopelessness that exists among some of those activists within the African American community.” He added that America is in a “real bad situation” and that we can’t afford to “let this moment miss us.”
“It has to hurt us,” he said with conviction.
Cathy’s comments regarding shoe-shining enraged Twitter users, who once again, were quick to call out the fast-food chain’s connections to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Chick-fil-A’s previous donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, two groups criticized by LGBTQ advocates, have been a hot topic of debate in recent years.
Cathy connected the suggested act of service for our fellow black brothers and sisters to the Christian values that he stands by, but that didn’t stop the heated backlash from spewing all over social media.
“So the CEO of Chick-fil-A said that white people should find a random black person and ‘shine their shoes’ for repentance. The Popeye’s chicken sandwich is better anyways,” quipped Ashley StClair—with many of the other Twitter comments just getting worse from there:
What do you think of Dan Cathy’s shoe-shining suggestion as a means of combatting racism? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.