Andrew Ishee and Scalping Indians

Andrew Ishee has been criticized for a politically incorrect comment  he made while introducing the Jody Brown Indian Family in a Friday Afternoon showcase. Apparently Ishee said “we need not fear these Indians. They’re nice Indians and they won’t come after your scalp or anything.'”

Critics have used this and similar incidents to portray Southern Gospel performers as politically incorrect, backwoods rednecks. But this misses the context, and thus the whole point, of the joke.

In Gold City’s set on Monday night, Jonathan Wilburn introduced Gold City bass Tex McCune, an American Indian, with a joke that played off the sonic similarity of “engine” and “Injun.” Tex McCune acted offended. When Jonathan Wilburn asked him why, he said, “I’m admiring your scalp.” (At this point Jonathan begged Danny Riley to calm him down.)

In all likelihood, Ishee’s joke about Indians coming after your scalp was made in light of the Wilburn/McCune joke on Monday.

While I’m not suggesting that Ishee is making (or, for that matter should make) any attempt to conform to the unrealistic liberal definition of political correctness, there is a reasonable explanation for this joke when it is understood in the proper context of the earlier joke at the quartet convention.


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17 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Even in light of both the context and the humor that was intended, several people in the audience may not have been as understanding. I am a member of the Cherokee Nation, I work for our tribe and take pride in the fact that I am native american. I, for one, would have been very, very offended at the comments made had I been there. #1 – these people are supposed to be professionals and should conduct themselves as such and #2 – it doesn’t help the backwoods, red-neck, hick image one bit to have these comments made.

  2. How about if the remark had been about African-americans–and if someone had used all the stereotypes associated. Hopefully, Ishee wouldn’t have considered it. So why did he do this? Same sort of behavior, is it not? Racial prejudice is racial prejudice.

  3. As I explained in my post, Ishee’s remark was likely in light of McCune’s remark earlier in the convention. Let me propose this question: When McCune said “I’m admiring your scalp,” would either of you have viewed it as inappropriate? Do you believe that Indians can joke about themselves, using “all the stereotypes associated,” but others cannot?

    And as far as racial prejudice goes, remember that Ishee toured with McCune for several years, and would have gone even longer had McCune not gotten the call from Gold City.

  4. I am surprised that we need to discuss this. The joke was in poor taste. Races may make jokes about themselves but that does not give us the right to make those jokes. Garrick Carter is correct that racial prejudice is racial prejudice. I would hope as Christians we would exercise acceptance, love and friendship. If these attributes cannot be exercised by SG artists, then the message of God’s love and forgiveness for ALL will never be heard in their performances.

  5. I’m not usually on the PC bandwagon, but I have to admit this one was a little inappropriate. I happened to actually be there at the showcase when he made that comment, and I cringed a little bit.

    The most shocking thing that happened in that showcase wasn’t that remark though…….I would have to say it was the beat-boxing performed by Crystal River’s bass singer in their first song. While I admired his talent to do that, it just felt completely out of place in that setting and I think it would have been far wiser to refrain from doing something like that. I would be very confident in saying that it really hurt the potential of their CD sales to the audience who were watching them, even though the next song they did was a really good one (When The Star Of Heaven Bore The Stripes For Me). I just don’t think it was a very smart thing to do in that setting where the average age in the room was probably 50.

    • We know this is an old post, but we really would like to know what “beat-boxing” is!

      -TGF

      • Beat-boxing is producing the sounds of a drum/percussion kit with the human voice.

        Oh, and by the way, that bass singer is now with Brian Free & Assurance – Jeremy Lile!

      • Thanks, Daniel. We think we can “hear” what you are describing…could you direct us to any examples/links that might help? 🙂 Is it something like rap?

        -TGF

      • I wouldn’t classify this as the truest form of beatboxing, but I think Bill’s backup should give you the general idea of what it involves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxF1fsWMwjY

      • this should give you a better explanation about beatbox http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhgj8V0RyfM

      • Wouldn’t this be what the bass for the Fairfield Four does on a couple of Homecoming projects? Unfortunately, I don’t know any links for that, and I’m drawing a blank on the song names. It goes over very well for him.

      • The Gaither and Fairfield Four examples aren’t really beat-boxing because they are really simulating a bass guitar. Beat-boxing primarily simulates percussion, as Daniel said, which doesn’t involve singing a pitch.

        I can’t think of any SG examples. And that’s a good thing.

      • Ah, OK. 😀

      • Brian – Jeremy Lile of BF&A can, though I don’t think he’s done it with them.

        My thinking is that I’d get tired of listening to it all the time, but it could actually be a fun change of pace for an acapella number once in an evening.

      • TGF: Here was one example I found of current BFA bass Jeremy Lile beatboxing – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca5eE3Mtzxc

      • Thanks, Josh! That is the video I spent quite a bit of time trying to find! Thanks for tracking it down!

        Given that plenty of groups like doing acapella with a drum track, I really don’t see why this sort of beatboxing would even raise eybrows. 🙂

      • WOOOOOWWWW!!! So very cool! We loved it! Thanks, Josh, for finding this. We do understand what “beatboxing” is now. 🙂 By the way, we’re glad Jeremy cut his hair! 🙂

        -TGF