Very recently, I endeavored, in good faith, to inquire of Dr. Rick Turner, to understand how he could hold to the presumptions he espoused. For those of you who may not be aware of the exchange, you can find it on the WINA Schilling Show Podcast. Though Dr. Turner utterly failed to answer my question directly, the manner in which he responded was quite telling, and it exemplifies with crystal clarity, why there is a continued racial tension in America. The tension exists because there exists a contingency of individuals who refuse to move on and enter the 21st century. Who view the present day issues through the clouds of a time decades past. The modern day notion of racism has always been in one direction, that of the white individual against the black individual. However, Dr. Turner’s attack on me and my character and history, displays well, the fact that this is a blade that cuts both ways. The definition of racist is:
- A person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
- Having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
Dr. Turner does not know me, nor my history nor how I was brought up, yet, do his comments immediately accuse me of being a racist raised by parents who were racists? This is preposterous. While Dr. Turner falsely accuses me of racism, I do submit that he is guilty of bigotry. We tend to think of these two words as being the same, however, in the strictest sense of the word, they are not. The definition of bigot is:
A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.
The substance of my assertion comes from Dr. Turner’s own lips. His response to my question was that “Your response is typical of a person who does not know much of anything other than white privilege, cover-ups and lies. Where you are getting this information from is where you learned your behavior as a child. Racism is a learned behavior, you need some help and I hope you get it. I pray for people like you.”
Herein lies the other side of the failed dialogue of race in America today. Arguing in ignorance. Because Dr. Turner allowed his past to prejudice his present, he wrongfully attacked one’s character and immediately jumped to conclusions woefully false. Dr. Turner is correct, racism is a behavior learned as a child. But, by God’s grace, I had grand-parents and parents who chose to place the Blood of Christ over the petty attitudes of man. He could not know that my grandfather chose to aide many black families in his small North Carolina town, by providing security on loans, when the banks were reluctant to lend during late 30’s and throughout the 40’s. He did not go around crowing about this. Indeed, I never would have known of it, had it not surfaced at his death. He did not act as a loan shark, and took considerable risk himself, but he wanted to see ALL families in his community succeed.
Dr. Turner could not know that growing up, I often times rode my bicycle down the road into the Proffit community to play and learned as much about God at the little one room Baptist church on the corner, as I did anywhere else. It made no difference to me what skin pigmentation the other child had, as long as we treated each other well. Dr. Turner could not know that I was the only white individual in my Cub Scout den, and that Mrs. Payne, who was my choir teacher at Burley Middle School held this at her home.
Dr. Turner could not know that my father made it quite clear that if he heard of me acting in a disrespectful fashion to any of the fathers of my friends or if he heard one particular word come from my mouth, that my next thought would be why aren’t my teeth and I in the same room together? Dr. Turner could not know that for years, my best friend was black, and he and I were interchangeable fixtures in each others homes.
Dr. Turner could not know this, because he does not know me. He does not know me, and given the rude and hostile fashion in which he delivered his answer to Carol Thorpe’s invitation, he never will. Why? Because he does not want to. He would rather continue this nonsense of unnecessary tension. Why? Just like nearly every government bureaucratic office which has been established, if the problem is resolved, the need for the office is rendered moot.
I am appreciative of the messages left for my by those friends of yesteryear who have contacted I, to both apologize for Dr. Turner’s comments and attitude, and to reiterate what I’ve long suspected. Dr. Turner and those of his ilk, Jackson, Sharpton etc., do not represent them, nor their attitudes. Indeed, they find them pathetic, and contributing to the problem. I was reminded by one, of the quotes he frequently employs when facing someone like Dr. Turner, it is by his personal hero, Booker T. Washington:
“The man is unwise who does not cultivate in every manly way the friendship and goodwill of his next-door neighbor, whether he be black or white. Great men cultivate love. Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.” – Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery (1901)
I can forgive Dr. Turner his actions, just as I must forgive a blind man when steps on my foot. I know that this issue was resolved on the Cross of Calvary, and can only be resolved now, when it is recognized that anyone of any color, would attempt to stir up strife, based solely upon pigmentation, is one who delivers a message and a sentiment straight form hell’s pit.
The conversation in question wasn’t Dr. Turner’s finest hour, but one conversation hardly shows that racial dialogue is by nature a monologue, as Hank’s title suggests. Blacks are still living with the consequences of past white racism. So are whites. Many white people have run across the sort of contempt Turner displayed, and have you ever heard a black person, even a politically conservative black person, say that white racism is mostly a thing of the past? Neither have I. We need plenty of honest (not politically correct) racial dialogue.
I know that this issue was resolved on the Cross of Calvary, and can only be resolved now, when it is recognized that anyone of any color, would attempt to stir up strife, based solely upon pigmentation, is one who delivers a message and a sentiment straight form hell’s pit.
Does calling your political opponents positions demonic seem to be resolving anything? Why would it?
Hank, thank you for taking the time to write this. I think it was completely warranted; and I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the inappropriateness of Dr. Turner’s remarks regarding someone he obviously knows nothing about. I personally think he owes you a public apology!
Contrary to Ken’s earlier comment about Dr. Turner’s latest remarks being only “one conversation” on this subject, I recall an earlier appearance by Dr. Turner on The Schilling Show during the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting by George Zimmerman. During that interview, the substance and tone of Dr. Turner’s remarks were virtually identical to those he made during his latest interview. So, this is NOT an isolated incident.
It is unfortunate that Dr. Turner feels a need to turn any high-profile national news incident like the ones in Ferguson, MO, or Sanford, FL, into an opportunity to advance his own racial agenda — regardless of what the incidents’ facts seem to indicate. By repeatedly doing this, I believe he diminishes both his own stature and that of the NAACP, the organization he prominently represents, in the Charlottesville community. I hope he soon comes to understand this.
I too would like to echo Aaron’s sentiments, and extend my compliments to Mr. Martin for having taken the time to more adequately address Dr. Turner’s poor behavior. Ken tries to make it sound as if Dr. Turner was just having an off day, but as Aaron has stated, almost without exception, Dr. Turner appears on the air with Rob, choosing to display a combative, arrogant and acrimonious demeanor. Mr. Martin is absolutely spot on with his comment that Dr. Turner is living in the past, for that is exactly how he presents himself. The possibility of conversation is destroyed before it can commence, with such blustering comportment. I too feel as if Mr. Martin is owed a public apology by Dr. Turner, but won’t be holding my breath.
Mr. Martin and I had similar experiences growing up, as I too found myself blending in with, as they were referred to back then, “the colored children”, as they were more comfortable to be with. We also were not cognizant of pigmentation, as Mr. Martin puts it, indeed, I was grown and at my first real job, before I was aware of the racial tensions, which ironically, were created by my fellow black employees. Why? Because they were continually fired up by the small minded leaders who either could not get into the present, or found it more profitable to not do so.
Kens comments adequately display a large part of the problem. He chooses to be blinded to fact, and instead participates in fueling the fire of tension. I found it to be almost of Shakespearean irony, that within forty-eight hours of Dr. Turner’s challenge to Mr. Martin’s sources of information, Mike Brown was shown posing with a wad of money in his mouth and aiming a semiautomatic pistol at the camera, in a selfie he had taken. Also, his previous criminal record came to light as well.
While the Ken’s of the world contribute to the further breakdown of the black family and community, individuals like Mr. Martin, and a multitude of others, have their truly noble efforts to assist, thrown back in their faces. This was more than self-evident in the manner in which Ms. Thorpe’s invitation was refused by Dr. Turner. There is racial prejudice aplenty, but coming from the side that allegedly wants to “heal” it the most.
Dr. Turner’s “racial agenda” is to further the fortunes of his people, a people who have suffered enormously from racism, still suffer from past racism, and still suffer from the conscious and unconscious racism that exists today (google “Nicolas Kristof, Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist?”) even among good people. He deserves criticism for how he treated Hank, but he also deserves understanding. He judged too quickly, but which of us hasn’t done that? Which of us can know that if we’d had his experience of racism, we wouldn’t have done the same?
We whites have benefited from racism, from the prejudgment of blacks. What right do we have to judge a black man for judging us? Whatever happened to showing mercy? Matthew 7:2 (For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you) applies to all of us.
Rick Turner has made quite a good career out of racism. I grew up in a large northern city, and it continues to slide downward due, in large part, to policies that exploit groups of people to be more dependent on those in power. Turner’s ilk does not want true “equality and fairness,” for that would mean the dissolution of their profit-making machine. The poor–whatever their skin color–have been exploited for ages. Sometimes it’s a televangelist doing the exploitation selling snake oil to a poor congregation; sometimes it’s a politician in a large city, and sometimes it is a so-called race activist catching a last-minute First Class flight to Ferguson, Missouri wearing a $1,000 designer suit with a $300 silk tie.
Deep down, I suspect Turner is a bit jealous that he was never able to break out of this mono-dimensional tiny town onto the national stage to peddle his hackneyed agenda.
Dan, I challenge you to show how Dr. Turner is part of a “profit-making machine.” And don’t forget that he’s no longer employed at UVA.
George, I challenge you to show how I am “contribut[ing] to the further breakdown of the black family and community.” I also challenge you to respond directly and specifically to the questions I asked and other points I made in both my first and second posts.
You may not have been “conscious of pigmentation” growing up, but if as you say African-Americans were still referred to as “colored” back then, everyone knows that they were, because they had to be. I’m not a progressive on race. I’m currently debating progressives on race in another online forum. But conservatives are naive at best when they try to pretend that racism and its effects no longer impact African-American lives. Two and a half centuries of slavery, another of legal and/or defacto segregation . . . ‘but it’s all better now. Why are they still so suspicious?, you guys say. Try loving your neighbors as yourself instead of patting yourselves on the back all the time, and you’ll understand why.
Ken, your “challenge” demonstrates exactly the arrogant, argumentative and acrimonious attitude which has been previously spoken of. You seem to be in possession of an overly healthy sense of self-importance and assumed righteous indignation. How have you contributed to the breakdown of the black family and community? Here is how. I would like you to view this video:
I come from an Irish background. My grandfather three generations ago experienced discrimination. I remember well being told of the signs in businesses saying “No dogs or Irish Allowed”. O.K? Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and post cards. We moved on. The Jews experienced it. The Chinese, Italians, etc.They moved on. I challenge you Ken, tell me why there aren’t groups of those ethnic groups running the streets, acting like this and a multitude of other videos, demonstrate? If I presume to find your logic correct, I and every other ethnic group would be excused to act the same way. So why do they get a pass? Why? Because Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic party purposefully created a block of voters in order to perpetuate your party. In so doing, the tapestry of the black family was ripped apart thread by thread for the last two generations. That is why you and the supporters of your party are accountable.
You and yours created this problem so why don’t you spend less time and energy forcing others to accept responsibility for your creation, and more time fixing it? You can’t. One, because to fix it would be to rob your party of a built in voter block, and two, because it has grown so out of control, it can’t be fixed with present policy. Why are there so many Ray Rice’s beating their women and street gangs selling drugs and beating innocents? Your party chose to render the black father irrelevant and substituted a monthly benefit check to replace him. Before issuing any other challenges, I challenge you to accept, own and fix this. Again, I won’t be holding my breath.
Aaron, I thank you for the comments, and to you and Dan for the obvious understanding of the point I was attempting to convey. George, I appreciate your comments and POV as well, however, your challenges to Ken, while perhaps relevant and has some merit to the overall issue nationally, sidetracks the central point I was attempting to make. That being, leaps to conclusions, such as the ones Dr. Turner made regarding me, limit the ability to honestly conduct a dialogue on the matter.
I think Hank makes a really important point: leaping to conclusions about a person’s background (or motivations) always hinders dialogue and understanding. People are complicated. Assuming the worst about a person’s motives, and presuming they have no good motives, is an excellent way to misunderstand them.
George, it’s interesting that you think it’s arrogant, argumentative, acrimonious, self-important and self-righteous to challenge someone to prove an accusation.
If I presume to find your logic correct, I and every other ethnic group would be excused to act the same way. So why do they get a pass? Why?
When did I give them a pass? You’re prejudging my opinions just like Dr. Turner prejudged Hank. They don’t get a pass. They get the same understanding and forgiveness you and I sometimes need. They get there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I. You remember being told your ancestors were discriminated against. Dr. Turner remembers being discriminated against. Huge difference. Walk a mile in his shoes.
White racism doesn’t excuse black dysfunction (and let’s not forget all the black people who have raised themselves out of dysfunctional communities), but it goes a long way towards explaining it.
Also, remember how much worse blacks had it than any other ethnic group that came to America. There were no Irish, Italian or Chinese slaves in this country. Their families weren’t separated. Their men weren’t addressed as “boy,” and beaten or killed for smiling at white women. Etc.
Because Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic party purposefully created a block of voters in order to perpetuate your party. In so doing, the tapestry of the black family was ripped apart thread by thread for the last two generations. That is why you and the supporters of your party are accountable.
I wasn’t of voting age when Johnson pushed through The Great Society, but if I’m accountable for Johnson’s actions, I guess you’re responsible for Bull Connor’s. I’ll take LBJ and you take Bull Connor, and let’s see who has the moral high ground. Or let’s not be silly.
It’s sadly cynical to accuse Johnson of passing those programs just to benefit his party. Can’t you admit that good people can disagree on the solution to a problem? Read about LBJ’s life. He cared. A lot.
You and yours created this problem so why don’t you spend less time and energy forcing others to accept responsibility for your creation, and more time fixing it? You can’t. One, because to fix it would be to rob your party of a built in voter block, and two, because it has grown so out of control, it can’t be fixed with present policy. Why are there so many Ray Rice’s beating their women and street gangs selling drugs and beating innocents? Your party chose to render the black father irrelevant and substituted a monthly benefit check to replace him.
Slavery and discrimination created this problem. I think Great Society programs have done plenty of obvious harm and plenty of obvious good. The Democratic Party doesn’t choose to render the black father irrelevant, no more than conservatives chose to leave future generations of white and black children hungry by opposing the Great Society and the New Deal. There is something called the law of unintended consequences. Also, I’m not a politician. Black votes do me no good.
I remember when Dr. Turner was employed by UVA and was influential. But why isn’t he still employed by UVA?? Did he choose to resign? I don’t think so. In fact, I know he didn’t. He made some really poor choices. He shouldn’t be in the position he is in now due to those choices. He is far from a good example for his community. He isn’t the least bit interested in dialogue. He wants reparations. He holds onto a ‘pipe’ dream!
Turner resigned after admitting he lied about a drug dealer in a federal case. He was on administrative leave at the time. It looks like he jumped before he could be pushed.