Phil Vischer, creator of the popular animated Christian cartoon "VeggieTales" and voice of Bob the Tomato, has released another video addressing race, this time looking at U.S. history and past regulations that suppressed the advancement of black Americans.
Following the police-involved death of George Floyd, many Americans are discussing issues pertaining to race and the debate of systemic institutionalized racism. To address this issue, Vischer made a video titled “Race in America” that's available on the Holy Post channel on YouTube.
"We need to talk about race. Why are people protesting; why are people angry? Slavery ended 150 years ago, the civil rights movement was 60 years ago, racial discrimination is illegal now. Heck, we even had a black president. So why are people still upset? We're going to go through history and we're going to look at some data,” Vischer begins in the 15-minute video.
Showing an image of two houses, he says, "These are two households in America, one is black, the other is white. Today the average black household has 60% of the income of the average white household, but only one 10th of the household wealth."
He said household wealth helps to fund schools, launch small businesses, stabilizes loss of income, and helps families survive unexpected divorce or unemployment.
"What's amazing about this number is that there are lots of extremely wealthy African Americans: movie stars, pop stars, 75% of the NBA, 70% of the NFL, Oprah, Tyler Perry, [Dr.] Ben Carson, Morgan Freeman. And there are a lot of extremely poor white families; think of Appalachia and other parts of rural America. But even when we factor all that in, the average black household still has only one 10th, the wealth of the average white household,” Vischer said.
Vischer also highlights post-emancipation laws, including vagrancy laws which made it a crime for black men to be unemployed, Jim Crow segregation laws, redlining, banking and homeownership, the GI Bill, the war on drugs, the militarization of police departments, and the prison system.
He concluded by saying that the unrest in America against injustice “didn't happen by accident."
It happened by policy. We, the majority culture, told them [black people] where they could live and where they couldn't. Then we moved most of the jobs to the places we told them they couldn't live. When the predictable explosion of unemployment and poverty resulted in a predictable increase in drug use and crime. We criminalized the problem. We built $19 billion of new jails, and sold grenade launchers to the police.”
“As a result, a white boy born in America today has a one in 23 chance of going to prison in his lifetime. For a black boy, it's one in four. And that is why people are angry,” Vischer maintained. “Many people care deeply about these issues, many have suggested solutions. Some of those have been tested with results ranging from moderate success to abject failure. I'm not here to tell you what the right solutions are, because I don't know. I'm just here to ask you to do one thing. It is the thing that begins every journey to a solution for every problem. What am I asking you to do? Care!”
On Tuesday, Vischer took to social media to share how encouraged he was by the feedback he’s been receiving by those who've watched the video.
“I'm encouraged. I know, that's not something you hear often in this B-horror movie of a year we call 2020. But I'm encouraged. I put out a video about racial inequity about 48 hours ago as I write this. In those 48 hours, the video has been watched 750,000 times, which is amazing and kind of freaking me out, but also isn't the part I'm encouraged about,” Vischer wrote on Facebook.
“I'm encouraged by the responses. Thousands of responses on Twitter and Facebook, more than 99% of them positive,” he added.
Last week, Vischer published a blog where he talked about the privileges he's had growing up in a well-connected white community which helped him lead a successful life, including over 65 million "VeggieTales" views to date.