The cast of At Home with the Robertsons as they sit down to discuss hot button issues.
Image via Google Images

‘At Home with the Robertsons’ Sets the Stage for Conversations on Controversial Topics

The ‘Duck Dynasty’ household lends an ear to those with opposing views in today’s divided society.

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The cast of At Home with the Robertsons as they sit down to discuss hot button issues.
Image via Google Images

The ‘Duck Dynasty’ household lends an ear to those with opposing views in today’s divided society.

While the Robertsons are best known for their duck call business, their most recent venture, “At Home with the Robertsons,” explores a different family dynamic. The Robertsons quickly rose to fame after their reality show “Duck Dynasty” aired in 2012 on A&E. The show delved into the workdays of Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander, and his family of employees.

It was a hilarious show that captured the redneck antics of a Louisiana family who made their living during duck hunting season. The series also gained attention because of the way each episode ended — with a prayer at the dinner table. In a reality TV world populated with families like the Kardashians, the Robertsons’ faith-based show was a striking contrast.

The Robertsons are devout Christians and have strong values regarding family, service and living a life true to God. Last April, Willie’s wife Korie announced her family’s latest venture on Instagram. The new show, “At Home with the Robertsons,” premiered on Facebook Watch. In it, the Robertsons explore hot-button contemporary issues such as racism and the COVID-19 vaccine by inviting various people into their home to discuss them.

The operative word in the previous sentence is discussed — not argue or debate, but an open-ended conversation where nobody seeks to prove that they are right or wrong, gaining a deeper understanding of a different point of view in the process. In so doing, the Robertsons fulfill their perceived Biblical duty of loving others, regardless of their differences, as Jesus did.

These talks were purposely uncomfortable, with the goal being to keep the conversation rolling so they could learn from one another by discussing issues that are sensitive and typically generate strong opinions. However, if the audience was expecting to have their knowledge of the Robertsons’ beliefs reaffirmed, they may have been surprised. The Robertsons, like many celebrity families, have taken heat in the past. In 2013, Phil Robertson, family patriarch and Willie’s father, was suspended from “Duck Dynasty” because of homophobic comments he made. The family stood by him, despite many angry and upset viewers, and eventually, he was reinstated in the show.

Willie also expressed support for former president Donald Trump, evident in a picture of the men shaking hands, but leaving people to wonder how they could support him when they have a biracial adopted son. The Robertsons’ new show “At Home with the Robertsons” shows the nuances of their values as well as their willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints, a rare quality in today’s society that people of all beliefs often lack. “At Home with the Robertsons” puts aside religion and politics in order to delve into controversial issues as one human being addressing another.

Willie and Korie believe in inviting people into their home to give them a space to share their honest opinions, even if they differ from their own. Their show demonstrates that society can’t progress unless people acknowledge that tolerance and having an open mind is key to productive conversations.

In the episode where football players Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Nate Boyer are invited to the Robertsons’ home to discuss the NFL protests — which entailed kneeling during the National Anthem — Willie’s famous Uncle Si didn’t hesitate to speak his mind. As a Vietnam War veteran, Si expressed he was upset with those that kneel during the anthem, as he feels it disrespects the U.S. military. His strong opinions stem from his service of over 25 years, which the men definitely picked up on and fully understood.

Thomas explained that the protests were against police brutality, not the U.S. military. Statistics were shown on-screen, like “Black Americans account for less than 13 percent of the population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” foregrounding the opinion-filled conversation with hard facts. In reference to America, Boyer said, “This is a great place. But it can be so much greater … It’s more about like ‘this place has so much potential, we have to live up to it because we are the standard for the world in a lot of ways.” Korie made the point that as a public figure herself, she understood the need to use one’s platform for what they believe in after Thomas stressed the importance of taking a stand because his kids are watching him.

Overall, a productive conversation was had, which is not to say that it went perfectly; when people disagree, there are bound to be some tense moments. But the show allows people with different views to be able to truly listen to one another. If athletes and an elderly Vietnam vet with strong religious views can sit down and talk, there’s nothing stopping anyone from having these types of open-minded conversations.

“At Home with the Robertsons” also had a few more light-hearted episodes, like the one where Willie and Christian Huff (the husband of Korie and Willie’s daughter Sadie) compete against each other in a beauty pageant. Korie and Sadie were the judges of this beauty pageant, the idea being to turn the tables on the beauty standards that society set in which women are judged daily. Sadie is no stranger to this topic and has spoken candidly about her time as a model when she was told to lose weight, which in turn contributed to an eating disorder.

With 4.7 million followers on Instagram, Sadie has made a name for herself with her ministry Live Original, in which she preaches about living a life true to the way God made you. She is known for the way she‘s viewed as a sister and a best friend to young women all across the world. In her now-viral YouTube video, she delivers a moving message about the importance of not comparing yourself to others, incorporating quotes from the Bible and speaking from a Christian perspective.

However, at one point she clarifies, “I’m not saying that’s what you have to believe.” Much like her parents, one can appreciate Sadie and what she stands for without feeling as if she’s pushing her beliefs onto others. “At Home with the Robertsons” is just televised proof that the family has always made an effort to bridge the gaps between people in society, and that the Robertsons are more than just funny — they’re also the epitome of tolerance.

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Debbie Aspromonti

Hofstra University
Literatures in English

Debbie is a senior Literatures in English major at Hofstra University. She loves to write and is passionate about books, Broadway musicals, social issues and the law.

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