Letter to the Editor for Support for Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, President of Tennessee State University
January 22, 2014
Dear Duane W. Gang and Tennessean Editor:
I am appalled, but not surprised that you would decide to publish an article that is baseless and has no merit to stand on as it relates to racism and bigotry claim by State Senator Jim Summerville, R-Dickson against Dr. Glover, the esteemed President of Tennessee State University. I have listened to the portion of Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover’s speech that Mr. Summerville has complained to you about, but I must say Dr. Glover’s speech is neither racist nor bigoted as Mr. Summerville as claimed.
Apparently Jim Summerville knows very little or nothing about the term racist from the oppressed perspective or position, which he is so quick to accuse Dr. Glover of being. The term racist is used to denote or insinuate that an ethnic group within the human race espouses the theory or belief that a particular group is either superior, dominate, or better than another ethnic group based upon skin color, physical characteristic, or ethnicity. Dr. Glover never said anything about someone claiming to be more superior or better than anyone else. She stated the facts from her research and her own personal observation. As a fact finding journalist, you already know that observation is part of the conclusion of any thorough research project or plan. Dr. Glover has the right to give her own opinion based on the research she shared in her speech with the NAACP and its supporters.
So, my question is where does the racism come into play? Just because someone talks about a racial issue at a public forum, is the person considered a racist? Is the person a racist because he or she says something about race that someone in the audience disagrees with? Or, does the person or speech become racist because it exposes the ‘deep seated’ racial divide that permeates across nearly every segment and fiber of this nation? Or, does it become racist when an African American leader brings it up as an issue that needs the attention of all Americans at a public gathering? One of the best ways to get to the root of any problem is to first have open dialogue so people can begin to talk and give feedback about the issue(s) rather than suppress it.
Furthermore, Dr. Glover deserves the same respect as any other American Citizen, College or University President, or persons living in the borders of the United States. I am more concerned about State Senator Summerville disrespecting Dr. Glover during her speech by getting up and leaving NAACP gathering while she is speaking. If this is the case, then it could be interpreted that he himself was acting like a ‘spoil brat’ and showing a loss of emotional controlas a professional politician and state leader! I pray this is not the case! Please tell me that Mr. Summerville waited until Dr. Glover finished her speech before he exited the room. Please tell me Mr. Summerville did not throw a ‘temper tantrum’ by walking out in front of NAACP members and its supporters. Please tell me Mr. Summerville did not disrespect the NAACP as he did with the African American Black Caucus on the Hill of Tennessee.
Moreover, what makes a politician (government representative) thinks he or she has the right to dictate to one particular university president how she should speak at a public function? When a person has been trained and educated to sit at the helm of an institution of higher learning, and where the philosophy is to encourage the freedom of unshackled minds, then that person should be allowed to do such. Dr. Glover as any other college/university president should have the freedom and support from the community to promote dialogue and innovative thinking amongst the students and staff which she supervises. This is the framework of the atmosphere of a college/university campus. This is how and why some of the brightest minds in the world receive their wit and boldness to conquer the world through an educational system like Tennessee State University under the awesome leadership of Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover. Dr. Glover has continued to promote a friendly and nurturing educational environment and a compassionate atmosphere where the free exercise of educational ideas are not stifle by dictators of control learning and limited speech. Like with America, she promotes free speech as Article I of the U.S. Constitutions guarantees all citizens.
It is amazing to me how some people are guilty themselves of the offense(s) they try and accuse others of violating. Yes, these people tend to accuse rather than take ownership for their actions and apologize for their own character flaws to those they have greatly offended. Mr. Summerville need not try to usedeflection as an escape door for his racist and bigoted comments in 2012 when he said, “I don’t give a rat’s a . . what the black caucus thinks.” For Mr. Summerville to use the term “rat’s ass” in the same context to address the black caucus – is as racist and bigoted as calling a black person a cock roach, rat, crow, coon, opossum, monkey, buffoon, or buzzard, etc. I recommend Mr. Summerville apologize to Dr. Glover, the NAACP, and African Americans across the State of Tennessee, America and throughout the world for his infamous 2012 email, in which he is talking very condescending against the Black Caucus.
Finally, I am curious how it is that Mr. Summerville can make such diabolical and racist statements about the Black Caucus, and receive no retribution, or reprimand from the ethics committee or pressure from his peers to give a written letter of apology, or take mandatory race relations sensitivity training, or resign from the State Senate?
Bishop Alvin E. Miller, Sr., Pastor
St. John Missionary Baptist Church
Resident of Nashville