Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the President of Color Us United, Kenny Xu to the newsmaker line to discuss his recent article and last year’s meeting with National Commander for The Salvation Army, Kenneth Hodder.
Leahy: With us on the newsmaker line, Kenny Xu, the head of Color US United. Kenny, you have a terrific commentary headline. The Salvation Army Doesn’t Need DEI, It Just Needs to Be Salvation Army. Kenny, finally, somebody has written that!
Xu: Exactly. There is a new movement that tries to say their institutions are racist or exclusionary, and the Salvation Army has always been the counter-examples of to that.
So why they are imposing DEI training and wokeness upon its own members baffles me. But it’s against their mission and they need to stop it. And that’s why we’re organizing a campaign to let them see the light, per se.
Leahy: What happened to the Salvation Army? And I know this is actually not the first year that they’ve gone woke. They’ve been woke for a couple of years. They have a reputation. They go out and they collect money at Christmas to help the poor, which is all great stuff, but they’ve just gone nuts at the top level.
And everything is, you know, we’re woke, we’re woke, we’re woke. You got to repent for slavery. You gotta be diverse. You gotta have equity and inclusion. How does that happen in an institution?
Xu: And may it be said that the Salvation Army wouldn’t be able to do any of its work helping minority kids without the support of Americans. In fact, 80 percent of the Salvation Army’s worldwide donations, 80 percent are from Americans.
When it goes and accuses America and Americans of being racist, they are literally shooting themselves in the foot because these are the Americans who faithfully contribute so that they could accomplish their race-blind mission.
Now, in terms of what happened, what happened was as the Salvation Army became bigger and more social justice oriented, it invited in those DEI creeps from those universities that we all hate. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: Is that a technical term, the DEI creeps?
Chapman: That is a technical term. I like that. (Leahy laughs)
Xu: I’m not beating around the bush. It’s exactly what happened.
Chapman: Oh boy.
Xu: There’s a thing called The International Social Justice Commission that they preached dei within the Salvation Army. Now it’s instituted across its entire ranks.
Leahy: Kenny, have you talked to the head of the Salvation Army and said, what are you thinking and have they responded?
Xu: I have. In fact, I had a meeting with the national commissioner, Kenneth Hodder, where I directly asked him, will you denounce DEI and CRT?
Leahy: Whoah. The national commissioner? Is he the guy in charge of the Salvation Army?
Xu: Yes. Hodder.
Leahy: So tell me, when did the meeting take place? How did it come about?
Xu: The meeting took place in mid-September 2021.
Leahy: Back in 2021. Where was the meeting held?
Xu: At his office in Arlington.
Leahy: In Arlington, Virginia. Okay, so what was the setup? What did you say, and how did he agree to actually meet with you?
Xu: So we were starting to conduct this campaign. Getting the support of over 18,000 donors kind of tends to get the attention of the national commissioner, but he invited me over to talk.
Leahy: So describe what’s the building like. You go in there. Are they, like, really friendly? Do they give you a cup of coffee or a bad cup of coffee, as we do here in studio with Gary Chapman?
Chapman: Very bad.
Xu: It’s beautiful. It’s brick, like the rest of the buildings there. It’s basically right next to Amazon headquarters. They decided to build their national headquarters next to Washington, D.C. I assume because of all of their government and lobbying efforts.
Leahy: Big brick building in Arlington?
Xu: Very nice. Very nice. Brick. Brick building. Yeah.
Leahy: Okay, so you step into the reception. I’m Kenny. Hugh. I’m going to give you guys a hard time. What do they say?
Xu: Well, I didn’t think he expected that this is why I came in. I think he expected that my concerns would be wiped away easily when he points out, oh, we are discriminatory and we are committed to anti-racism. That’s the point.
Leahy: Let’s set the table here. Are you ushered into his office, or do you have a big conference room? Where do you have this meeting?
Xu: I get this really nice tour, and I have to say they’re all extremely gracious. They are very hospitable. I get this very nice tour, and we come in, then we discuss it over lunch.
Leahy: Okay, so you have lunch. Do they bring lunch into his office? What was the room like?
Xu: Basically, they have these servers and they bring the lunch into the office? The room was like a conference room.
Leahy: So they’re doing pretty well. They’re doing well. They’re good, right?
Xu: And you know what they do? So this is their structure. They take 10 percent of the local Salvation Army branches, funds to fund the national Salvation Army branch. And this national Salvation Army branch, they’re responsible for doing some of the big money fundraisings, doing some of the big lobbyings, and, of course, crafting and controlling the message. So this was a national message of anti-racism they sent out last year.
Leahy: So there you are having lunch with Kenneth Hotter. And it’s just the two of you, right?
Xu: Yes. His wife was there.
Leahy: His wife was there. Okay.
Xu: I don’t want to bring his wife into this.
Leahy: What’s the conversation like? He says, you say, what happens in this?
Xu: So this is what I say. I say, Commissioner Hotter, we’re here for a purpose. I lead Color Us United. We fight for a race in society? We saw your documents accusing your own members of being racist and fermenting critical race theory, which, as we know, is antithetical to what biblical gospel ideology is. The gospel is colorblind.
Xu: And he said, well, that statement was sort of a mistake on our part, but we adhered to the international positional statement on racism that we made. They made, like, a separate positional statement on racism. But I said even that statement, and he did not expect this, has flaws because that statement says that racism can be a systemic or an institutional force without clarifying what that is.
Because as we know, people love to talk about racism as a systemic or institutional force without ever saying who the actual races are and who we should blame. Which is, of course, an easy way of saying it should be blamed on America. And he had no response to that.
Leahy: Did the temperature in the room drop like 20 degrees when you said that?
Xu: At least. Probably about 35 degrees.
Leahy: What was his facial expression when you said that?
Xu: It went from warmhearted to grave. And he said, well, Kenny and I showed him this and I said I wrote this book called An Inconvenient Minority. And this book is basically the answer to critical race theory because it shows how a minority Asian Americans have been able to overcome discrimination in this country and actually become the most successful group in the United States in household income and education. And this is the antithesis of CRT. And there’s no way he could not acknowledge that.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Kenny Xu” by Color Us United. Photo “Kenneth Hodder” by Christian Leadership Alliance. Background Photo “The Salvation Army” by The Salvation Army USA.