Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, former presidential candidate and the charismatic host of "The 700 Club," raised eyebrows recently after he asked on air if macaroni and cheese was a "black thing."
Robertson made the statement during the Wednesday show, after a clip in which another host, Kristi Watts, interviews former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Both women are of African descent. In the clip, Watts asked Rice what dish she "just has to have" on Thanksgiving.
"It's mac and cheese," Rice replied.
"Sister, that is my dish, that is the one thing I can rock," the host reacted enthusiastically, clapping her hands.
"But only once, once a year," Rice added.
When the clip ended, Robertson was again in the studio with Watts, but looked confused.
"What is this mac and cheese?" Robertson asked Watts. "Is that a black thing?"
"It is a black thing, Pat," she replied. "Listen, and you guys, other people, the world needs to get on board with macaroni and cheese. Christmas and Thanksgiving – we have to have macaroni and cheese. And it trips me out that you don't."
"I really don't, I don't, and I have never," Robertson replied.
Robertson is no stranger to uttering comments that the public finds controversial. In October, he evoked a storm by saying that President Barack Obama is "inciting people to revolt," when talking about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.
Known for his conservative Christian worldview, Paterson has stepped on some conservative toes when he suggested that the GOP presidential field is too extreme; and stretched it too far with Christians, when headvised a viewer of his show in September to divorce a wife that had fallen ill with Alzheimer's disease. While stating that the issue is "beyond my ken," the televangelist told the viewer of "The 700 Club" at the time that divorce and re-marrying would be acceptable in that situation, which involved the husband dating other women.
"I know it sounds cruel but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again," he said, "[and] make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."
He indicated that the person married to the sick should divorce the ailing spouse before seeing someone else. Still, the comment earned him attacks from various Christian groups.
The "mac and cheese" comment evoked a storm of infuriated comments from the online community. Some of the over 180 people who commented under the clip extracted from "The 700 Club" and posted on YouTube accused Paterson of racism. The majority of commenters were mocking the televangelist or seemed outraged.
"He knows what god thinks but is baffled by mac n cheese," one commenter wrote.
"So is potato salad a 'white thing'?" another person wrote.
Watts was criticized as well, with some suggesting she added to perpetuating racial stereotypes.