Tennessee House of Representatives Candidate for District 35 William Slater Talks About His Passion for Education, Background, and Why He’s Running

Tennessee House of Representatives Candidate for District 35 William Slater Talks About His Passion for Education, Background, and Why He’s Running

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 District 35 candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives William Slater in-studio to talk about his education, background, and why he’s running for public office.

Leahy: We are joined in-studio by the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, Aaron Gulbransen, and a new friend, Mr. William Slater, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 35th district. Good morning, Mr. Slater.

Slater: Good morning, Michael. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Leahy: First, tell us where is the 35th district? What are the boundaries of that district?

Slater: Yes, Yeah, so the 35th district is part of Sumner County. Starts in Hendersonville, runs all the way up through Bethpage and includes all of Gallatin, and then continues on out to Trousdale County.

Leahy: Who currently represents that district?

Slater: Right now it’s Terri Lynn Weaver and it’s the 40th district. Her district has shifted east, and so now it’s the 35th district. It’s a new district. An open seat.

Leahy: Open seat. Now, who are you, and why are you running for the Tennessee House of Representatives?

Slater: I’m William Slater, and I am running because I’m passionate about education, business, and public safety. Lived in Sumner County since 1996, my wife and I met and married in Florida and moved there with our four kids 26 years ago. Love Sumner County, love Tennessee, and just excited to represent the folks of Sumner and Trousdale County.

Leahy: What is your professional background?

Slater: Education and business. I’ve been a professional educator since getting out of college in 1985.

Leahy: Where did you go to college?

Slater: I went up to a small private Christian college up just outside of Chicago.

Leahy: What’s the name of it?

Slater: Hyles-Anderson College. And then went on to the University of South Florida and then finished up here at Nashville School of Law.

Leahy: Nashville School of Law. Do you have a JD from the national law?

Slater: I do, yes. Never intended to practice law, but love education, passionate about it and wanted to teach school law, and that’s what I do. I’m at Welch College, which is a conservative Christian college in Sumner County, and I teach graduate students there.

Leahy: What courses do you teach?

Slater: I teach school law, teach special education law, and then I teach faith and ethics in education.

Leahy: Tell us about Welch College.

Slater: Welch was founded in 1942, is the Free Will Baptist Bible College here in Nashville, [originally] down on the west end in Richland Avenue area, and moved out to Summer County in 2017. And that’s when I came on board. Been there five years.

Leahy: And how many students are there at Welch College?

Slater: About 450 students, and that includes both on-campus students, which we’re the only residential campus in Sumner County. Of course, we have commuting students and then our graduate students as well.

Leahy: Is it accredited?

Slater: Yes.

Leahy: Accredited college.

Slater: That’s correct.

Leahy: And are you a full professor there?

Slater: I’m a dean. One of the deans there. I’m the dean of adult and online studies. And then, as I mentioned, I teach in our graduate program. I teach in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Leahy: Now, tell us a little bit about your teaching background.

Slater: So I started out teaching in Christian schools and my favorite thing to teach in my teaching background is English and history. So that’s what I was trained for, and taught a lot of history, American government. And then of course, when I got to Tennessee, Tennessee history, world history, those kinds of things.

Leahy: When we come back, we’ll have more with William Slater, who’s running for the Republican nomination in the 35th district of the Tennessee House of Representatives. This is The Tennessee Star Report. I’m Michael Patrick Leahy.

Listen to the 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.




Former NYU Professor and Thought Criminal Author Michael Rectenwald: The American University System Is Rotten to the Core

Former NYU Professor and Thought Criminal Author Michael Rectenwald: The American University System Is Rotten to the Core

Live from Music Row Friday 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 former NYU Professor and author of Thought Criminal and other titles, Michael Rectenwald in studio to promote his book signing and what makes him a thought criminal.

Leahy: We welcome to our microphones in studio, our very favorite thought criminal, Michael Rectenwald! Welcome, Michael.

Rectenwald: Hey, thanks for having me, Michael. It’s great to be here.

Leahy: You are a recovering academic. You actually had a problem in academia because you thought academia was about freedom of speech and freedom of thought and intellectual integrity. You were on the faculty at New York University. (Chuckles)

Rectenwald: Yes, that’s right. And then I actually used my academic freedom, which was my first big mistake.

Leahy: I know. Big mistake. They need to tell you, that once you get your PhD, no academic freedom allowed. You have a book signing today. I want to encourage everyone in our listening audience to go to this book signing.

It’s at 12:30 p.m. It’s at Elders Bookstore. Where is Elders Bookstore you might ask? It’s at 101 White Bridge Pike, right across from Tech College. 12:30 p.m.

Now if you’d like to reserve a signed copy, call 615-352-1562. Michael, you’ve written the Thought Criminal, which is a great book. And the other books.

Crom, you don’t know the names of these books, let me tell you. One is called Springtime for Snowflakes. (Laughter) The other is Google Archipelago, Beyond Woke, and Thought Criminal. What’s it like being a thought criminal Michael?

Rectenwald: It’s dangerous. It’s very dangerous. And one feels as if one is being chased. And especially on the Internet, where thoughts are not very insidiously policed.

Leahy: Tell us some of your dangerous thoughts here.

Rectenwald: I have this idea that there’s actually two sexes.

Leahy: No.

Rectenwald: Yes. And I can’t believe it. I just can’t banish the thought that there are two sexes and not like 72.

Leahy: Michael, you are obviously a thought criminal.

Rectenwald: Yeah, it’s dangerous. I’m telling you, Michael.

Carmichael: Did you say or do something in particular that caused New York University to…

Rectenwald: Yes. I started a Twitter account called the AntiPCNYUProf. And I started tweeting about things like Halloween costumes and how you couldn’t wear a costume because it would trigger somebody.

The way they were throwing speakers off of campuses for having other than leftist views. They instituted a biased reporting hotline where the students could report their professors for microaggression or other offenses.

Leahy: Not only are you a thought criminal, but Michael you are also a microaggressor.

Rectenwald: I am.

Leahy: Crom, how can we have him in our studio?

Carmichael: But I’m interested about because you obviously you are a teacher. You are a professor because you cared about our youth.

Rectenwald: Absolutely.

Carmichael: If people like you are not allowed to be teachers and professors, if they’re not, how can our youth development intellectually?

Rectenwald: It’s an outrage. What we’re dealing with right now… And you get into this in your book?

Rectenwald: Yes.

Carmichael: Because this is why Michael, this book is so important.

Rectenwald: It really is. It’s not competence that’s being judged based on your confidence. You’re judged based on your identity and your politics.

That’s it. We don’t have competent professors. We have all kinds of affirmative action hires and advancements and promotions.

Carmichael: But what does it mean for the kids and the students?

Rectenwald: What it means is they’re not getting educated. I was just talking to my publisher last night and I said, you know, students don’t even know what the parts of speech are. They don’t know anything about writing or how to think.

Leahy: They haven’t been taught the basics. How to read, how to write, how to do mathematics, how to think logically.

Carmichael: That was the word for me. It sounds like that if you tried to teach a class on logic, on how to come to a conclusion, how to assimilate the information, to come to a correct conclusion, that would be politically incorrect.

Rectenwald: As a matter of fact, that could be an offense. Logic is masculinist and white supremacy.

Leahy: Of course logic is masculinity.

Carmichael: It’s just fascinating.

Leahy: And masculinity is one of the 72 genders and apparently the least favored.

Rectenwald: Oh, absolutely the least favorite. It’s at the bottom of the hierarchy. The social justice hierarchy takes the putative hierarchy and flips it upside down.

Leahy: You’ve got this book Thought Criminal. You are obviously a dangerous thought criminal. We are really going on the edge by allowing you in the studio today.

Rectenwald: Amazing.

Leahy: We are brave here Crom. We are being very brave.

Carmichael: Well, we’ve known that.

Leahy: Yeah, of course. But do you have any solutions for this general problem of lack of intellectual honesty at the university level and, of course, other elements of education in America?

Rectenwald: The American university system is rotten to the core.

Leahy: Rotten to the core.

Rectenwald: So what I suggest is competition from the outside, competing parallel structures and institutions to take them head on with competition.

Leahy: Competition and education. What an unusual idea.

Carmichael: I agree with what you’re saying. In theory, when one side has all the money and all the resources and all the power, I believe in competition but in order to have true competition, you have to have a level playing field.

If I were a football team and I got the top 30 draft picks every year, I probably could overcome bad coaching, so I could probably overcome a poor product. So my question is, how should people that gain power in government use that power?

Rectenwald: Excellent point.

Carmichael: To bring about a truly competitive environment.

Rectenwald: First of all, all state colleges and universities should be reviewed in terms of their hiring practices and other promotions so that you would have an oversight board over these colleges and universities to make sure that they’re actually hiring people on the basis of competence.

Leahy: We’re talking about state colleges and universities.

Rectenwald: State.

Leahy: You’ve worked at a private college, but have you worked at state colleges also?

Rectenwald: Yes, I did in North Carolina.

Leahy: Which one?

Rectenwald: It was called North Carolina Central University.

Leahy: Was there a different experience working at a public college versus a private?

Rectenwald: Well, yeah, the public one was underfunded and basically corrupt. The private one was overfunded and corrupt.

Leahy: Oh so the choice then is, underfunded and corrupt versus overfunded and corrupt. Which is more dangerous?

Rectenwald: The overfunded and corrupt.

Listen to the 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 “Dr. Michael Rectenwald” by Dr. Michael Rectenwald.

Madison County Mayoral Candidate AJ Massey: Focusing on Schools and Education Will Help Kill ‘Public School-to-Prison Pipeline’

Madison County Mayoral Candidate AJ Massey: Focusing on Schools and Education Will Help Kill ‘Public School-to-Prison Pipeline’

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Madison County Republican mayoral candidate AJ Massey on the newsmaker line to discuss his agenda for growth and education.

Leahy: We now welcome to our newsmaker line, Mr. AJ Massey, who is running for mayor of Madison County. Good morning, AJ.

Massey: Good morning, everybody. How are y’all?

Leahy: We’re great. We’re delighted to have you on here. So tell us about yourself. What’s your background, AJ?

Massey: Sure. Yeah. I’m a native of West Tennessee, grew up in West Tennessee and went to college here and had a 17-year career in banking. And that ended in January when I elected to run for a local office. You can’t really chase two rabbits, don’t do well with that. So we chose to run for office. So we’ve been doing that since January.

Leahy: People know Jackson as the place you stop to get gas two hours from Nashville sometimes, to the west, about an hour from Memphis. Good restaurants there.

I stop by and take a break there sometimes. But people don’t know that much about Jackson and Madison County. Tell us a little bit about some of the challenges there that you face in Madison County.

Massey: Sure. Madison County is, you’re exactly right. We’re right down in the middle of everything. We’re called the Hub City. Jackson is called the Hub City for a reason. All the West Tennessee, outside of Memphis, looks to Jackson for commerce and for goods and a lot of well-paying jobs.

And so as far as what challenges are, I think we’re a disproportionately high poverty number in the city of Jackson, and really Madison County as a whole. So that’s a challenge that makes education difficult, that makes law enforcement difficult, and that makes a lot of things difficult.

But there’s so much good happening in West Tennessee that, there’s so much good happening in Madison County but also in West Tennessee, bringing on, we’re getting a great Wolf Lodge in Jackson.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s an indoor water park hotel, and nearly 500 rooms have been built in the city of Jackson. We’ll have, of course, the Megasite in Haywood County where Ford Blue Oval City will be in the next few years.

That’s within about 40 miles of our county border. That’s going to be a big shot to Madison County and West Tennessee. So that’s really what we’re trying to do, is trying to get ahead of these things, be paying attention.

I’ve got a young family, and I want the next 20 years. I want them to be around here. I want my boys to choose to locate in West Tennessee and not be too far from Mom and Dad, and hopefully grandkids someday, so we’re trying to make this place as attractive and as safe and, giving them everything they want, where they don’t feel like they need to go anywhere.

Leahy: Crom Carmichael, our original all-star panelist has a question for you, AJ.

Carmichael: AJ, how close is Jackson to that new Ford facility?

Massey: It’s about 40 miles. Between 40 and 50 miles, depending on how you go, between Madison County and Blue Oval City.

And that’s actually a great opportunity. Ford has a requirement that a certain number of suppliers that are going to help that plan out with different needs are required to be within 50 miles of that facility.

So that really puts East Memphis, that puts some of our north, west counties, and then, of course, Madison County is sitting right there ready to accept a lot of the suppliers. And our infrastructure is ready for that.

Carmichael: So, Jackson is inside that 50-mile radius?

Massey: Yes, sir. Correct.

Carmichael: Okay.

Massey: One of our most, and I don’t know if there was just some foreknowledge there or just some premonition, but the western part of our county nearest to the Megasite has a vast option of industrial sites that are already with wastewater and utilities. And so we’re just waiting for the right businesses to take their claim to those.

Leahy: AJ, what is the main reason why people who live in Madison County should vote for you for mayor of Madison County?

Massey: Absolutely. Well, we’re trying to pay attention. We’re trying to be on our toes. We’ve had similar leadership in Madison County for the last, really, 30 years. And the folks that have chosen to run in this race as well are kind of on the same cloth.

And there are some statistics that came out not long ago that has Madison County ranked 95th out of 95 counties, in nearly every category. And that whole thing is if we do what we’ve always done, we’re going to get what we’ve got.

And I think it’s just time for a change. I think it’s time for somebody with some energy, some renewed focus. I’m not trying to get anybody out of the office. I’m not trying to kick anybody out, but I do think it’s time for people to step aside and allow new leadership with fresh ideas.

As I said, I’ve got an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old boy. And that’s where my focus is, trying to build a community that they can be proud of over the next 20 years.

I’m not looking at the next election cycle. I’m not looking at the next budget cycle. I’m looking at the next few decades to make sure, because I’m going to be here, I’m going to be around, and I’m going to have to give an account to what we did or didn’t do with this opportunity coming to West Tennessee.

Leahy: AJ, what is the most important fresh new idea you have to improve the status of Madison County from, as you say, 95th out of 95 counties in almost every category?

Massey: Sure. I’ve been on the Jackson Madison County school board since 2018. I’m a public school graduate. My wife is a public school graduate. My oldest son is in public school. My youngest hadn’t gotten quite to that level yet.

But it’s schools. Schools really drive everything around here. I’m sure it is with most communities but that’s going to reduce our crime rate.

That’s going to reduce our jail population. That’s a long-term play, though the further down the line we get we have to make sure those children are educated at grade level when they’re first, second, third grade.

That way they kill that public-school-to-prison pipeline that seems to happen, and that obviously helps with crime, helps with commerce, and the ability to supply the workforce for all these great companies. I’m passionate about schools. I think our schools need to be …

Leahy: Let me ask you a question about that. In the four years you’ve served on the Jackson Madison school board, what have you done to improve the status of schools there? Because it looks like everywhere in the state over that four-year period the performance of students has gone down, down, down.

Massey: Sure. Madison County is a unique county. We have four thriving private schools and so there are lots of options here in town for nontraditional public education.

There’s also a district just north of us that’s just done the right things and they’ve attracted a lot of families to move outside of our county to go to that district.

But the way last four years we’ve had tremendous success with our academics in our classroom. We have some very pointed, data-driven curriculum that’s happening in our classroom that’s showing improvement.

Listen to the full 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 “AJ Massey” by AJ Massey. Background Photo “Madison County Courthouse” by Www78. CC BY-SA 3.0.


















PragerU’s Jill Simonian Announces New Platform for Kids at Prageru.com/Kids

PragerU’s Jill Simonian Announces New Platform for Kids at Prageru.com/Kids


Live from Music Row Friday 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 director of outreach for PragerU, Jill Simonian, to the newsmaker line to discuss their new history program and platform for kids at pragerU.com/kids.

Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, Jill Simonian. And Jill’s been with us before. She’s got some videos out at Prager University. And, Jill, you are pushing back against the woke culture in teaching our kids. Welcome, Jill.

Simonian: Hi! Yes. Hi, Michael. Yes, we are. We’re pushing back. We’re providing unwoke lessons. That’s what we’re doing at PragerU Kids.

Leahy: Wow! Thank you. Can I say thank you for that?

Simonian: Of course. Thank you. We appreciate you. We’re grateful for so many people who have been so excited about this program.

Leahy: Tell us about the series. When did it launch? And how can people get it and what’s the reaction been?

Simonian: Okay, so for those of you who are in your audience who have heard me before, I’m from PragerU Kids. We are part of PragerU. And what we have been doing for the past several months is developing kids’ shows that celebrate American values and teach American history. Kids videos, resources, shows for kindergarten through 12th grade.

We’ve got a whole line of different animated series, children’s books, and even our recent children’s book: Our debut children’s book, Otto’s Tales: The National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, which launched just last month and hit number one in the bestseller children’s category in a few days. But we’ve got videos.

And our brand new show that we have – for middle schoolers especially – is called TBH. And it’s To Be Honest History. And it’s a video history lesson. It’s very entertaining. It is history meets entertainment. It’s for middle and high school students.

And it teaches history without a political agenda because we know right now in our schools, revisionist history is being taught to our kids that is essentially trying to get our kids to hate America. So we’re pushing back with this brand new series called TBH, which stands for To Be Honest History.

And it’s super fun. And the first episode focuses on the scientific revolution. And if you watch it, Michael, you will laugh and enjoy it. And I would guarantee that you’re going to learn something that you never learned before.

Leahy: I’m looking at it right now at prageru.com in the videos of TBH history. Scientific Revolution. I can tell you, I’m just looking at it, it looks like it’s a fun thing. How many people have been downloading this? How many people have been looking at it? What’s the impact so far?

Simonian: I got to tell you, this particular show just launched. Was it yesterday? I think it was yesterday. What day are we on?

Leahy: It was a day before yesterday.

Simonian: It was the day before yesterday. The response has been incredible. I myself don’t have the numbers yet. Our children’s shows over the past several months have already garnered millions of views from parents and kids and grandparents and everyone inside of our PREP membership program that we do have to support our PragerU Kids content.

Our programs have got millions of views. This new episode just launched. Right now, we have this particular series to have a new episode once a month. I have a very strong feeling it’s going to be much more frequent than once a month. But yes, it’s fun. We have costumed characters.

We’ve got this group of young kids that are based in Arkansas, and they put together all these skits with all the cool hip snappy language that all the kids love. You and me, Michael, we’re a little bit old now. (Laughs)

Leahy: Yes, we are. (Laughs)

Simonian: I know, speak for yourself, Jill. (Leahy laughs) In this particular scientific revolution episode, we’ve got Galileo, Sir Francis Bacon, Aristotle, and these kids. If you guys watch the video or even the trailer at prageru.com/kids you’re really going to be impressed and delighted and thankful that history lessons like this are being provided to our kids that don’t have a political agenda.

Leahy: Crom Carmichael is in studio, and Crom has a question for you Jill.

Carmichael: This is very exciting. I love what you’re doing. And I understand that the way that, as you just described it is parents and grandparents can download these or go to the website and watch them.

Are you marketing them to independent schools, to charter schools, or are you marketing to any of the actual educational institutions? I’m sure the teachers’ unions would fight you like a tiger in government-run schools. But the schools that have autonomy, are you marketing to them?

Simonian: Absolutely. And one of the things that we have is our videos at PragerU Kids can be just like you said, for families to enjoy but also for schools. We have dozens and dozens of resources that are brand new that are absolutely appropriate for school.

This particular series, TBH, is a great resource for independent schools, charter schools, homeschooling parents, and even public schools to use. Because in many of our public schools, I don’t know if you guys are aware, but our schools are using videos just like this that were independently created from, not even from academic institutions.

There’s a particular history video series that many mainstream schools use and it’s called Crash Course. And Crash Course was one of the 100 channels that were funded by YouTube’s $100 million original channels initiative that they called that has been pushed through many schools.

And they’re all politicized videos. So our videos, particularly with TBH, are a response to these politicized initiatives – that these politicized groups have created these videos, sent them into our schools, and our children are at the mercy of watching these slanted “lessons,” which aren’t really lessons.

So, yes, what we are doing is we are telling parents, hey, present this to your school. Get this into your school. And in our membership program, especially for PragerU Kids. We call it our PREP membership program. It stands for PragerU resources for educators and parents.

We have thousands of teachers in our membership group, and they have responded so well saying, oh, my, I want to use this for my history class. I want to present this to the district to even consider us as an additional resource for my history class. So we’ve got a positive reaction, and we are hoping that teachers and parents share this with their schools.

Leahy: Jill Simonian with PragerU Kids, thanks so much. Keep up the great work. Come back again and tell us more. We really appreciate it.

Carmichael: Great stuff. Great stuff.

Simonian: Thank you. Thank you. So we want everyone to join us, become a member because we can’t keep these videos free without everyone’s generous support and membership. prageru.com/kids.

Leahy: Thanks Jill very much!

Listen to the full third hour here:

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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.
















Executive Director of Seeking Educational Excellence Charles Love Recounts His Experience of Growing Up Black in America

Executive Director of Seeking Educational Excellence Charles Love Recounts His Experience of Growing Up Black in America


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 Charles Love Executive Director of Seeking Educational Excellence reflects upon growing up in America in his Black community of Gary, Indiana.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by Charles Love a scholar with 1776 Unites. He’s the assistant executive director of Seeking Educational Excellence. He’s a talk show host at AM 560 in Chicago.

And also a great essay written by Charles that we want to talk about. We must scrap the 1619 Project for an accurate account of American history. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report Charles.

Love: Michael, it’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.

Leahy: So tell us about your essay. Why must we scrap the 1619 Project?

Love: Well, I wrote my essay because I was hearing all the noise at the time, which obviously has shifted since then. It’s gotten louder. But what I saw was missing in a lot of these arguments is logic and context.

Everything that people argue has a sprinkle of truth in it, just enough to get you again so you can’t just say everything in it is not true. But the problem with the project is even some historians, as you know, took it to task.

But it’s beyond that. There were factual errors. But where there weren’t factual errors, there were lies of omission and they just took facts and took conclusions that made no sense. So I wanted to highlight that in my essay, but also use it as an example.

People understand things better when you tell stories. So I was telling a basic, simple story. I was telling my story about my upbringing and the people around me in my community in a majority Black town. I grew up in Gary, Indiana.

Leahy: Gary, Indiana. Not Louisiana, Paris, France, or Spain. From the music man.

Love: Yes. So the music man. So knowing that I felt that I had a pretty unique and interesting way to describe the way they should present the information if they wanted to present it, as opposed to the way they were doing it.

Leahy: Did you grow up there in Gary, Indiana, about the same time the Jackson family, the Jackson Five, was growing up there or were they a little bit before you?

Love: They were a little bit before my time. Especially since they left so young. They were gone by the time I was born. But I was born right when the city was breaking from being segregated.

As I say in the essay, they had elected the first Black Mayor at the same time as Cleveland and LA did. And they had what we all later called the White flight. So it was segregated at the time I was born.

And when I was really little, people were slowly starting to move into other neighborhoods. I was growing up right through that transition and seeing the change in the shift living in America, my childhood and my day-to-day life was not what we hear on the radio and see on the news. And that’s what bothers me.

Leahy: What did your folks do in Gary, Indiana, when you were growing up?

Love: My parents?

Leahy: Yes. What did they do?

Love: My mom was a housewife and my dad worked at the mill. We were kind of a steel town.

Leahy: A steel town. That’s a job working in a steel mill, isn’t it?

Love: That’s what he did until he retired. And so that’s what we did. And my family did.

Leahy: I’m guessing, Charles, you never mess with your dad, because if you work in a steel mill, you’re strong and you don’t put up with anything.

Love: Well, as I said, my mom was a housewife. So there were those classic parents, mother-father roles that you can’t speak of today. You know the P-word. (Leahy chuckles) But that’s what my household was like and many in my neighborhood at the time.

And I got to see the shift because I was old enough to not notice the difference, but see the difference because I was like 8, 9, and 10 and 12. Here’s one interesting thing. We often hear about the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the Black community.

But I’m old enough that things were different. I was coming up during the shift. One thing I didn’t notice and write about until I was an adult, but I started to notice it. All of my friends, I grew up in a community with a lot of people my age.

We all played, ran around, and all of them either had their father at home or knew their father really well. They were active. By the time I hit high school, they were all living in single-family homes.

So it’s not that they were born out of wedlock, but the family dynamic shifted over the course of their childhood.

Leahy: Why did that happen so quickly?

Love: I don’t know. I think that for them it was just more circumstances. It wasn’t the same thing as it is now. I don’t think it was the cultural shift as it is now. I don’t think it was media and all that kind of stuff.

But I got to see how it affects kids, though, because I noticed how my friends were different when we were 8, 9, 10, and 11. Same kids, same neighborhood. I walked into high school, and they were just different because that loss of a father makes a difference.

And so now when I hear people talk about it now, I’m like, I know for sure it’s different because you’re talking about going your whole life and your childhood, without knowing your father.

I can tell you about people who grew up with their father in the house until they were nine to 11. And by the time they were 16, they were defiant and they were getting into trouble. Not that no one else gets into trouble but there was not that stern figure to put them back on track.

Leahy: Did you go to a public high school in Gary, Indiana?

Love: Yes, I did.

Leahy: What was that like?

Love: All the way through. It was actually, as I write an essay, tremendously wonderful. I think my essay spins the narrative that you hear about the Black people. So my concern is that there are problems for sure that need to be fixed.

But too many people both Black people because they’re trying to prove a point, and White people because they don’t know any better, keep telling a tale of Blacks being underclass across the board. they’re all poor, they’re all uneducated and they’re all criminals.

So do we have problems in each of those lanes that need to be addressed? Of course. Is the percentage higher than Whites? Yes. But they act like it’s all violent crime in the Black community.

Everybody talked about how it’s higher than Whites, but the percentage of violent criminals is like two and a half percent. So most of us aren’t committing violent crimes. Yes, we have a poverty rate that’s higher than Whites, but it’s like 18 percent.

Too high? Yes. But that still means 80 percent of us aren’t in poverty. So my childhood was great. I went to an elementary school at the time. The city is smaller now, but at the time we had six high schools and lots of elementary schools.

I don’t know 50 or so. When I graduated high school, every valedictorian went to my elementary school.

Leahy: No kidding?

Love: From the public school down the street. I tell this often. I went through K through 12 and never had a White kid in my class, my same year. I only remember two in the school the whole time, and neither was in my year and both left before they graduated.

So you can’t call it a race thing. The city was not that socioeconomically diverse. There were really poor, poor working class and a few middle-class people. So you can’t really call it that either. But they focused on excellence.

What I try to focus on what we talk about at Seeking Educational Excellence, we focus on STEM and you focus on what you can change and don’t worry about the others. And so my experience was great.

I often say that I don’t think a middle-class White person, White picket fence in the suburbs had a different life, at least when I was growing up, as I did. So maybe their vacations were a little nicer. (Chuckles)

Maybe they had some nicer toys, but I didn’t want for anything. And I think I have the traditional American experience, as anyone else would.

Leahy: Grant Henry is in studio with us. He has a question for you. Go ahead, Grant.

Henry: Charles, the last paragraph of your article says, I suggest we take a different approach than the critical race theory approach of the 1619 Project. Instead, let’s take one that my teachers took when I was a child.

We learned an accurate account of American history. Charles, what do you say to someone and help us understand how to respond to this point when someone says, well, that’s what critical race theory does. It presents an accurate account of American history. What’s the response there?

Love: Wow. You’re going to make me do that in under a minute?

Henry: I’m sorry.

Love: The answer is twofold. The answer is, this not what it does, because what they do is they shift. If we want to say that history is not being too barely, and it’s making Whites with the savior, what they’re doing is only pointing out the Black.

I mean, the negatives of Blacks, which is not true. So they’re still leaving stuff out if that’s the case. But the real argument is all this talk about CRT is a waste because what’s being pushed in the schools that are upsetting students and parents, it’s not CRT.

Call it what you want. When you teach two boys kissing and you make that mandatory reading. When you say transgenderism is going to be taught in junior high school. When you’re saying that White privilege is going to be telling things of that nature, you’re not teaching accurate history.

You’re giving your opinion, whether it’s right or wrong, and you’re forcing it down parents’ and students’ throats without any say.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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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 “Charles Love” by Seeking Educational Excellence.