While the response to Rowe’s take was overwhelming positive (here at Faithwire, we deemed it “required reading”), he still managed to offend a few. In a post on his website on Sunday, he responded to a follower named Carla Jamison, who apparently took issue with Rowe’s use of the term “black people” instead of “African-American” when discussing the controversy.
“You do good work with your foundation, but if you want to be heard by everyone, maybe you should speak more respectfully,” she wrote.
In typical Mike Rowe fashion, the Returning the Favor host respectfully acknowledged Jamison’s concern—saying he is “happy to address” a black person or any person in whatever way they wish—while admonishing the “hyphen” and “identity politics” culture we have created.
“I’m not convinced a person’s true identity has anything to do with the color of their skin, the content of the DNA, or the country of their ancestors,” Rowe wrote. “In other words, your heritage is interesting, but knowing where you came from has nothing to do with where you’ll wind up, or what kind of person you really are.”
He recommended a performance Smokey Robinson gave at a Def Poetry Jam several years ago, in which he recited a poem called “A Black American” that brilliantly explained why he loves being black, he loves being an American, and he doesn’t see those two things as mutually exclusive.
The language is a bit harsh at times, but the message is amazing – the delivery is amazing as well!
Watch Robinson’s performance below (content warning: strong language used):
“If I were King of the World, this would be required viewing in every single high-school – starting tomorrow,” Rowe said of Robinson’s poem. “The language is salty, but the sentiment is precisely what America needs to hear – no matter where you’re from.”