RaceBYUSportsWhen Race, Religion, and Sport Collide tells the story of Brandon Davies’ dismissal from Brigham Young University’s NCAA playoff basketball team to illustrate the thorny intersection of religion, race, and sport at BYU and beyond. Author Darron T. Smith analyzes the athletes dismissed through BYU’s honor code violations and suggests that they are disproportionately African American, which has troubling implications. He ties these dismissals to the complicated history of negative views towards African Americans in the LDS faith. These honor code dismissals elucidate the challenges facing black athletes at predominantly white institutions. Weaving together the history of the black athlete in America and the experience of blackness in Mormon theology, When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide offers a timely and powerful analysis of the challenges facing African American athletes in the NCAA today.

Dr. Darron T. Smith is a frequent political and cultural commentator on various issues of U.S. based issues of race, racism, and discrimination in forums ranging from Religion Dispatches, The New York Times and Chicago Tribune op-ed to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. His research spans a wide myriad of topics on race including healthcare disparities, Religious studies, Race & Sports, and Race, Adoption and the Black Family. His current research focuses on health care workforce discrimination involving African American physicians and physician assistants. He is the co-author of White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption and co-editor of Black and Mormon. His current book, When Race & Religion Collide: Black Athletics at BYU and Beyond was released in 2015.

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  1. Mike M. March 31, 2016 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed the podcast and see a new perspective on institutional racism. And, I don’t mind his comment that all white people are racist. However, I also think that such a broad definition waters-down the label “racist.” I can’t change the fact I am white, I can only do my part to recognize inequality and take action to change it to the extent that I can. John, keep making podcasts, I get so much more done around the house with every episode. Looking forward to Tyler Glenn. A true rockstar!

    • Trace April 8, 2016 at 1:24 am - Reply

      Well I take exception to being called a racist simply because I’m white. Never once have I looked at a black person and thought…. Well obviously due to their colour they are inferior in this matter…. Whatever it may be.
      I’ve had black teachers and never had a thought that they where incompetent simply because they arrived and are black.
      I get there is a race issue but I’m sick of being lumped in with those who have one. I was brought up that we are all equal and not just at face value. And I truly believe that. If I’m ignorant of anything it’s of the full scale of struggles that blacks face, but that is because I accept they are human and have struggles just like me. I don’t dwell on whose struggles more. We all do! In different ways. I think it’s important to highlight the struggles and make us aware. But don’t stereotype me by saying I’m white and listen to my society, therefore I have no way to reason it out and think for my self.

  2. Lgaj March 31, 2016 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    I graduated from BYU in 1977. No one likes sports any more than me. But I got to say this, I wish BYU would get the hell
    out of sports altogether. It was a problem with race when I started there in 1971 and it’s still a problem today. There’s got to be a lot of better places for nonmember African American athletes to play sports than BYU. I my opinion the church was racists on banning Blacks from the the priesthood and this ugly issue just keeps raising its ugly mug. The church to mug Elder Oakes. Admit it needs to offer an apology as part of the repentance process and stop trying to pretend it’s a sports school and separate missionary work through sports. If I had a child that was a real athlete, the last school I would encourage them too attend would be BYU, now that everyone who has studied church history is aware–that the church isn’t TRUE, everyone except those on the payroll and those stuck in the terrible claws of it’s cultish environment.

  3. Bob April 1, 2016 at 12:53 am - Reply

    I was in the play “A Raisin in the Sun” and discovered as the only white character in the show. I didn’t realize until the 4th performance, naïve as I was, that I was the villain. I noticed the word “cracker” in the script over and over and didn’t understand it. At the beginning of the show we would get together as a cast to get the energy up. Someone asked “Does anyone have any questions?” I had noticed the word “cracker” over and over. So I asked “What’s a cracker?” It was funny because the rest of the cast all looked at each other wondering who was going to tell this honkie it was me.

    A few years ago, I intentionally went to hear the daughter of Martin Luther King. It was her opinion that there hadn’t been much progress made either.

    I’d like to recommend that you become aware of an acquaintance who I had met a few years ago by the name of Lanier Phillips and the town of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. If you’re not aware of him, his story is remarkable. Lanier past away a few years ago but his story will touch you.

    • Debbie Allen April 5, 2016 at 4:35 am - Reply

      Just looked up Lanier Phillips. Thanks for the lead. I look forward to doing some reading. Given your story, which I definitely understood and appreciated, you’ll identify with my own. I just posted a comment today, April 5th. Debbie

    • Debbie Allen April 7, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Just finished reading about Lanier Phillips. I had assumed that he was white, and had been rescued and cared for by blacks, rather than the other way around. Experience with people is the very best way to eliminate discrimination. It’s how we come to understand that “they” are just like us, with all our strengths and weaknesses, joys and sorrows.

      What struck me most of all, was recalling how segregated and racist the military was (maybe still is), and how they are still struggling to keep up with the times (with women, for example). Like religions, the military, with its sense of self-importance, sense of righteousness, and rigid hierarchy, is always lagging behind human rights progress in the general society.

      This is why it is so hard to change institutional racism. The organization, itself, is resistant to change.

      Here is Lanier’s story on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJkbkBbTaYI

  4. Dane April 1, 2016 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Dr. Darron
    I’m a raciest because I’m white? That statement alone couldn’t be more raciest. Placing judgement on a person, a whole race, solely by the color of their skin? I grew up in L.A. One of only three whites in my class. I was the one who learned to break through the resist barrier with the Blacks, Asians, and Latinos all around me. I was the one, my whole life, that was judged poorly because the color of my skin. I see the judgement as I approach a group of guys, or go into a store, and have learned not to take offence from their actions and ignore their racism. I do not care what color, shape, gender, height, income, car, political affiliation, country, religion, school, family you come from. I care about how you treat your fellow (wo)men. To talk about race perpetuates racism. Focus on how one should treat others. I’m sorry if you have had to deal with unfair judgement in your life, we all have, but don’t flippantly discount my experiences . You don’t know every white person in the world and what they have experienced just like I don’t know everyone in every race in the world and make callus statements that perpetuates mistreatment of them. You know the things that are said behind my back(and in front of me). Maybe you’ve participated in saying them yourself? The ease in which you said that statement tells my that perhaps you have. Excuse me if I don’t participate in the same bigotry. There are good people who say stupid things out of ignorance and there are plenty of stupid people not willing to learn. Give them a break or avoid them. Focus on yourself and those around you. The positive selfless caring nonjudgmental good people, and grow with them. Don’t judge them unfairly.

    • Darron Smith April 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      You missed the point entirely Dane.


      • b0yd April 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm - Reply

        Because she’s white?

        • DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm - Reply

          Yes because she’s white.

      • Dane April 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm - Reply

        Dr. Darron
        I’m sure I did. I’ve taken a lifelong frustration out on you and that wasn’t fair at all. I’m sorry. After that comment I allowed myself to fume and didn’t absorb the point you were evidently making. I need to finish the interview and I’ll do so with an open and understanding mind. I grew up in California but had plenty of family in Utah. What I saw was my Utah family just never had any experience with life outside the very white and very Mormon environment and that’s not their fault. I do understand there’s a learning curve for many. I’ve seen reverse discrimination though and that’s not progress. Perhaps your insight will help enlighten me further. Maybe making that statement turned off many who might have learned by your experiences.

        • Nat April 2, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

          I was impressed by your response here Dane. I am white, and haven’t listened to this interview yet, but I am going to do so with an intent to listen, even if I disagree or it hurts my ego. I am impressed with your maturity. I thought the conversation was going to devolve into typical internet arguing, and you brought it back simply to where it should be: A convesation.

          • Dane April 5, 2016 at 1:14 am

            Dr. Darron

            I finished the podcast and I don’t know exactly how to proceed. Maybe I can explain my feelings this way. My father passed away 5 years ago. He was a kind and giving, hard working example to those around him. He also was a hard core unbending TBM to the extreme. He was born in the 30’s and had his share of racist, homophobic, and misogynistic ideas and views on life like many in his generation (this is not an excuse, just a reality that was). There was no changing him. I could only love him and when he said something that wasn’t very PC, I could ether go to battle (knowing that there will be no winner, just hurt feelings) or just say a little something that reduces the sting of what was said and leave it at that. I could never give him enough evidence to even sway his position no mater how misinformed I felt he was (and who am I to even think I had a right to do so anyway). No, the best I could do was to love him for who he was. Try to learn the best of what he had to offer and live my life the best way I knew how. I do feel though, a lesson I learned a little too late in life was overcoming the homophobic doctrine I was raised in my whole life. Even though I had many lgbtq friends in my life ( I graduated from an art college as a designer) I never addressed the bias with which I had been raised. Their plight wasn’t important to me. Partly because I had my own life to live and figure out how to survive, but also I was ignorant to their daily pain. But as I became more aware, I became more of an advocate. The interesting thing about this is that my oldest two kids (my third is too young to understand sexual attraction) have absolutely no understanding of what the big deal was about two guys or two women marring. They came up with their own acceptance of the lgbtq community on their own. I did not voice my bias, I taught love and acceptance and they came up with it on their own. They are also extremely accepting of kids who struggle with learning disabilities or social issues and I shouldn’t have to say but they don’t care what one looks like, it doesn’t matter to them in the least. I guess my point is that we shouldn’t pin the actions of the past to the generations of the future.

      • Mensch April 4, 2016 at 8:54 am - Reply

        Darron, I think we should take Dane’s statement as written. He/she is raciest because she’s white. Not racist. Raciest. So Dane is apparently offended if we think he/she is sexier because he/she is white. :)

        • Dane April 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

          Yes… funny Mensch. I’m dyslexic and am also very used to being made fun of in the academic world.

  5. john g April 1, 2016 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Racism is a problem. It has gotten better, but we still have a long way to go. Concerning the change most progressives (like me) want, statements like “all white people are racist!” hit the brakes, not the gas.

    • John Dehlin April 1, 2016 at 9:01 am - Reply

      John – That statement was a bit emotionally jarring for me as well….but I just wonder if we should listen more carefully before we dismiss the statement.

      • John Glenn April 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

        i think i listened pretty carefully. What are you assuming I didn’t hear or understand? Elaborate please. Because I would genuinely like to understand how that statement progresses the conversation.

        • DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm - Reply

          John Glenn,

          It is relatively straightforward. You are white I assume and therefore a racist for the reasons I referred to the podcast. I’m sure you are a very nice and decent person, but you are still a racist. It this conversion isn’t about making you feel special or sweet.

      • Robert April 1, 2016 at 2:05 pm - Reply

        +1 on listening more to our African American brothers like Darron. As we work together to remedy racism, the feelings of us white folks cannot be the top priority! Great interview, bravo Darron.

        • DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

          Thank you Robert!!


      • Tom James April 19, 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

        I agree with John Glenn. I too have listened well and have not heard any compelling argument that supports your friend’s claim that all whites are racists. John Glenn wanted DTS to elaborate because wanted to genuinely “understand how that statement progresses the conversation.” Your friend’s retort was to call him a racist. So, who is listening and who isn’t listening?

  6. Joe Tippetts April 1, 2016 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I’m interested in the book and found the ~200 page Kindle version at Amazon for $61.75. Is this is a mistake? Is it a college textbook? Maybe I’ll check the library.

  7. Goya55 April 1, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Great podcast. The book on Amazon has sold out to a used copy going for $90.00 ! Where’s the Audible version? I want it. Kudos for this topic! The dialog and the sharing of stories is paramount in forming understanding and creating safe environments of learning among supportive people who encourage and mentor. We have a long road ahead of us to become civilized. Right ON for pointing out the hierarchy based on color, the shaming and deflamation of the an honor code that REALLY gets enforced on black athletes. It’s a publish lynching of character. A tattle tale society loves a scarlet letter. Either we are ALL equal or none of us are. It starts with the person in the mirror! THANK YOU for the inspiration.

  8. Lisa M April 1, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    So your book has gone viral on Amazon this morning, they are running out of copies and the supply and demand are spiking the prices. Right on for having the courage to cover this topic. The doctrine of “the curse” and how it is still getting passed down by the people like a holy relic of we are superior to the other at the dinner table. Yes you nailed it, the institutional of racism, the ideology in the church/es that supports the hatred of the OTHER. And thank you for telling of the public humiliation- a sort of modern day lynching of black people of Brandon Davies. We are all guilty by being human. People can’t handle that truth. I heard we are all racist, and xenophobic and sexist and homophobic and human and totally agree. Either all of us are equal or none of us are. What we need/want is to be civilized. No more poverty, no more participating of making each other into the OTHER. So glad to hear the message of mentoring, creating relationships, building a supportive and encourage network for these kids of color who are playing for BYU and making them a lot of $$$$$$$. Change starts by fixing the person in the mirror. We have to look at the problem, to fix the problem.

  9. Michael V April 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Wow, this was an excellent podcast and my eyes have been opened, I learned a lot.

    I must admit that I was a little turned off by Dr. Darron Smith’s statement, “all white people are racist.” I understand the point he is making but I have to disagree with him on that point for several reasons.

    Just about everything else that was discussed was absolutely brilliant. Thank you for the great insight!

  10. Ben April 1, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    The problem that I have with the comment “all white people are racist” is that Darron seems to be redefining the term racist. Racist means something, it has a definition. It also has centuries worth of connotation attached. From the Oxford Dictionary:

    A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

    Showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another.

    Both definitions clearly require action. “Show”, “Feel”, “Believes”. But Darron would like to remove action from the equation and state that because society as a whole is racist (benefiting white people) that all white people are racist by association. I just don’t think Darron can do that.

    Now as to the point he is trying to make I completely agree. I benefit simply by being a white, straight, cis-gendered, man. I essentially hit the jackpot when it comes to things I cannot control. But I think Darron needs a new word to describe this phenomenon. I agree that society is racist in the aggregate and if Darron wants to say “white society is racist” or “white people as a whole are racist” I think that would be a much more accurate statement than “all white people are racist”. It might seem like a small distinction but I believe it is an important one. Because while society is racist there are actors within society who are actively fighting against and trying to change that fact, and I don’t believe those individuals deserve to be saddled with the descriptor “racist” and all of the connotation that it carries.

    • Michael Valenti April 2, 2016 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Thank you. That’s exactly my what I feel too, what he is describing needs a different term.

      • ps April 6, 2016 at 11:11 pm - Reply

        I think the usual term is white privilege. But I think it’s interesting to think of it as racism. The sins of the father are not the son’s , so why should the benefits be? You’ve done nothing overtly racist, but have you done enough good to deserve your privilege? Have you done enough to justify being in a higher tax bracket and far less likely to go to prison or be murdered? Do you benefit from the systemic bias in our country? I think that’s why Darron was talking about moving to black neighborhoods and interracial relationships because in order to overcome your privilege drastic changes have to happen. Otherwise, you are in a way perpetuating racism, however benignly.

        Thanks John and Darron for such an honest and thought provoking conversation on race. I never thought I would hear it a Mormon podcast of all things. John you are doing amazing work here.

        • Ben April 7, 2016 at 6:09 am - Reply

          White privilege is I believe, the correct term to use. My question for you PS is who gets to decide what is enough? By going to college and then getting an advance degree does a white person do enough to justify being in a higher tax bracket? By not breaking the law does a white person do enough to justify not being sent to prison? Women are also less likely to be incarcerated or murdered compared to men. Are women doing enough to justify those lower rates? On the flip side who gets to decide who is doing enough to fight societal racism? I live in a predominantly black neighborhood, I attend a mixed-race church, I raise money and volunteer for an NPO that serves at risk youth (predominantly black). Am I doing enough? Or am I still a racist because I fell in love with and married a white girl?

          Societal racism is a huge problem, one that needs to be addressed. However, Dr. Smith takes a societal problem and applies it to all individuals based on skin color, while simultaneously arguing that we need to not focus on individualism when talking about race. I believe there is a bit of a disconnect there. In thinking more about this and would like to add to my point by bringing up some other societal issues and speaking about them in the same terms that Dr. Smith uses to speak about race.

          We live in a society where one benefits from simply being born a man. Therefore, all men are misogynists.

          We live in a society where one benefits from being straight and cis-gendered. Therefore, all straight and cis-gendered people are homophobes.

          I wonder if Dr. Smith would accept being called a misogynist simply because he was born a man and a homophobe simply because he was born straight (assuming Dr. Smith is straight for arguments sake)? According to Dr. Smith’s logic I apparently need to accept that I am a racist and misogynist homophobe.

          • ps April 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

            I see your point, Ben. I was trying to see Darron’s point because I hadn’t ever thought of racism in that way, and I found it interesting. I’m not sure where I stand. I’m curious, though. Do you at least accept that you are privileged?

    • Tom James April 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Very well stated, Ben!

  11. Deborah Aronson April 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much; THIS has been my favorite podcast ever! I am a Warriors fan and feel sick every night by watching exactly what you described. This means a lot to me because I feel and have thought this for years and years. I never liked sports because of this but could not articulate it. This needs to be exposed, shouted from the waves and as far as I am concerned, as a privileged white woman, change can’t come fast enough. Keep talking, please keep talking.

  12. Doubting Thomas April 1, 2016 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    This is a fascinating topic and I like Darron and the way he communicates his positions. I have two comments so far:

    1. I believe many white people are racists too. I also believe many black people are racists. Latino people? Yep, they can be racists too.

    2. No black athlete choses to go to BYU if they can go almost ANYWHERE else. BYU is better than a community college or a program such as North Dakota State, but comparing BYU to Stanford or USC is just silly. I would love to know the name of just ONE BYU football player or basketball player that turned down a full ride to USC, Stanford, Florida, Texas etc. for a full ride at BYU. (Assuming playing opportunities being equal.)

    Safe to say that black, brown and white players who are NOT LDS chose BYU because they are not offered anything better.

  13. Mary April 2, 2016 at 10:22 am - Reply


    You said “They are in the business of saving souls”. You were talking about the leaders at the top, right? ” What constitutes a “saved soul”, I asked myself. When I bring to mind the leaders written and spoken messages from their beginnings to the present I say, “God help us”!

    But, God bless you.


  14. George April 2, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    I had a hard time listening to Dr. Smith. Its ridiculous to say that all white people are racist. The way I understand and I think the rest of world understand racism is that any person no matter if they are White, Black , Asian, Hispanic, etc and hates another person based on skin color is racism.

    Dr. Smith brings up inequalities found in our society are caused by racism. When I see different cultures through music and culture focus on sex, crime, drugs, and other activities and then mock those that aspire being educated. I see that as the problem.

    Dr. Smith also gives a pass to black on white crime which are now more prevalent examples of racism in our society then anything else.

  15. Paul April 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Glad I listened so I was exposed to Darron’s thinking. I can’t say that I felt much sympathy for his views. Seemed like everything he saw in the world around him was racist and awful. Sounds like a depressing way to see the world. I’m sure our modern world isn’t perfect, but if I were black or Muslim, I’d want to live in the United States where there is as much or more economic opportunity, freedom, and safety as anywhere else in the world.
    At one point Darron said his end goal was equality, and it is clear by complaining about blacks being under represented in various areas of achievement, that he means equality of results. I just can’t on board with the goal of everyone getting the same result, which would of course have to suppress the importance of individuals efforts and aptitudes. You can’t have it both ways.

  16. Tom James April 3, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I would prefer not be judged by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character.

    How do you know someone is a racist? Because they are white. That’s your thinking. Your statement that all whites are racists is not only ignorant (as all racism is) but it is also retrogressive and divisive. You put all of us in the same category as David Duke, the Aryan Brotherhood, and Brigham Young. Shame on you!

    Do you really think Bobby Kennedy was a racist? Do you think Ann Dunham was a racist?

    We have come a long way since the 60s but there is much more work to do to attain equality for all people including African Americans, women, and the LGBT community. I understand that a lot of long-established cultural structures put people of color at a disadvantage. I understand that there exists a lot of racism in this country. And I understand that racism comes in a variety of flavors. All racism–even the “benign” racism of the Mormon church–is insidious.

    Perhaps you developed your view of white people because you were a member of a white-supremacist church for so many years. You surrounded yourself with white racists! The Mormon church has a long, ugly history of racism against blacks and yet you remained a believer in it’s racist doctrines for years. Could this be the reason you think Bobby Kennedy and Ann Durham were racists?

    I sounds like you finally left the Mormon church. That’s progress. I hope you continue to progress and mature out of your irrational thinking that all whites are racists! Again, shame on you!

  17. Ben April 3, 2016 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    It sounds like you believe blacks are underrepresented in these areas due to a lack of individual effort and aptitude. Did I understand you correctly?

  18. JJ April 3, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Dr. Darron,
    With all due respect, you don’t get to redefine racist or racism to fit your own agenda. And having white people say to themselves, “I am racist” to get them to believe it is analogous to church members bearing their testimonies in order to receive one. Say it enough, and you’ll convince yourself of anything!

  19. DSmith April 4, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Greetings JJ,

    With all due respect, my thinking on this matter is quite rational. Living in a black body affords me special insight into the nature and disposition of racism and white supremacy in US society. If you believe my thinking is “irrational” then you do not understand racism beyond the trappings of the individuals, which is typical and what I would expect from most well meaning white folk. It has been said that “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

    • JJ April 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

      It looks like the church gave you more than just a good education. It also gave you some effective thought-stopping quotes and a way to utilize rhetoric.
      Perhaps you should take Morgan Freeman’s advice on this issue.


      So long as we continue classifying ourselves as black or white or whatever, racism will always exist…..from BOTH sides. I could easily argue that there are reverse-discriminatory practices embedded in our grievance culture of today. The fact is it’s okay to discriminate against whites and only whites are racist. That’s the party line!

    • Adam April 19, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Fortunately for me, living in my white body has afforded me similar “special insight” into the nature and disposition of my own thoughts and actions. To say that I (or anyone else) am a racist simply because of my skin color is grossly counterproductive.

  20. David Frey April 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Yes, you have a very WIDE definition of racism. So wide that it seems irreconcilable (i.e. uncorrectable). I’m a racist because I’m white and I live in a society that has racism???…that’s just so ridiculous.

    Colored people live in the same society as I do and in many instances, incite racism by calling white people racist simply because they are middle class citizens who live in predominately white neighborhoods, so doesn’t that make them racist too?

    Racism starts with a person and their own personal thoughts and actions.

    One way NOT to stop racism is continuing to call whites racists (that just incites more of what you’re trying to reverse), using mob violence to call attention to racism, singling out a single race and saying only THIER lives matter etc.

    The way to end racism is to STOP talking bout racism altogether.

    Yes, the more you talk about it, the more energy you give it, the more it perpetuates itself.

    Any child phycologist will tell you that, if you’re a parent and you want to stop a certain bad behavior, you IGNORE the bad behavior and REWARD the good behavior.

    So instead of calling out how racist you think whites are (which has the reverse effect you’re looking for) start calling attention to all the GOOD behavior that African Americans do. Start spotlighting African American successes. Start making a big deal about African Americans getting a solid EDUCATION.

    It won’t change over night but if you continue to ignore the negative, focus on the positive and walk the talk, you’ll see racism start to go away.

    My 2 cents.

    • DTS April 5, 2016 at 8:39 am - Reply


      I do not believe “colored” is use anymore. I’m sorry you feel that such a statement as “all white Americans are racist,” is ridiculous. Don’t shoot the messenger:-) What is ridiculous however is the assumption that if people cease talking about race, it will somehow disappear. Unfortunately, such an idea reduces race to mere interpersonal relationships, which does not explain widespread systemic racial inequality. As I indicated earlier, white people unjustly benefit from the spoils of living in a racist society at the expense of Americans of color, which provides ALL white Americans (wealthy or poor) with unearned privileges for merely being the right shade of beige.

    • Debbie Allen April 7, 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Well… being a psychologist, behavior change is a little more complicated than you suggest. IF the child is exhibiting both the positive behavior as well as the negative behavior, you can reward the desirable behavior and ignore or punish the bad behavior. This “reinforces” the desired behavior.

      What is interesting about this scenario thought is the fact that institutional racism is rewarding to those it helps… for example, white people in the US. White people are VERY reluctant to give up the rewards they achieve through not changing “the system”.

      I would disagree that insight and understanding come from “ignoring” issues, and not talking about them. Often times, people do not act better because they do not know better, have not been exposed to certain learning experiences, or have not developed certain skills (for a variety of reasons… innate ability, experience, opportunity, role models, etc.).

      Whether or not we agree or disagree with the assessment that people are racist, I think we can all agree that the inequities in our country CAN be addressed, and SHOULD be addressed.

  21. Nobunaga73 April 4, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    “All white people are racist.”

    I understand why this statement can be so upsetting – but I think it’s deliberately provocative. You can close your ears and deny it has any merit or try to understand where it’s coming from. I’m white and grew up in Utah in an incredibly racially homogenous community (from elementary to high school there were a grand total of 3 black students), through no fault of my own. Luckily my parents never bought the ‘curse of Cain’ malarkey because though I heard that nonsense it was never taught in my home. In my adult life I’ve been committed to equality for all people, voting that way and making contributions to support that when I can. I don’t believe that I personally have ever done something specifically racist – but I have without a doubt passively benefitted from a centuries-old system of institutionalized racism (i.e. the United States of America). For many people that is an offensive idea that attacks many sacred beliefs (funny how our notions of patriotism/nationalism can sometimes be stronger than our need to defend the myths of an actual religion).

    I found the work of the brilliant essayist Ta Nehisi Coates to be incredibly informative, in particular his essay “The Case for Reparations” from the Atlantic. It’s hard to read that with an open mind and not see how, as Dr. Smith has noted, we are all complicit in this system.

    • DTS April 5, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply


      I do not believe “colored” is use anymore. I’m sorry you feel that such a statement as “all white Americans are racist,” is ridiculous. Don’t shoot the messenger:-) What is ridiculous however is the assumption that if people cease talking about race, it will somehow disappear. Unfortunately, such an idea reduces race to mere interpersonal relationships, which does not explain widespread systemic racial inequality. As I indicated earlier, white people unjustly benefit from the spoils of living in a racist society at the expense of Americans of color, which provides ALL white Americans (wealthy or poor) with unearned privileges for merely being the right shade of beige. Nobunaga73 is spot on.

  22. Debbie Allen April 5, 2016 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Can’t tell you how much I appreciated these episodes with Dr. Smith. I have been interested in being supportive of marginalized individuals and groups all of my life. By nature, I think I was born with an abundance of innate empathy that was nourished in a somewhat socially-progressive home. I also was handed a “story” by my family that resulted in me often feeling less-than, and I therefore identified with oppressed individuals around me (beginning with the bullied kid on the playground). And, as an adult, I eventually became a psychotherapist.

    But… I was born white. My life had a particular trajectory because of that chance occurrence. Also, by chance, I grew up in a friendly neighborhood in an almost all white community surrounded by white schools, teachers, professionals, etc. However, there was a black family across the street. Dr. Brown, the father, was the most educated man in the neighborhood, and his kids were good students, a couple sons were exceptional athletes, but most importantly, they were just part of my circle of friends. This family was part of our neighborhood tapestry, and had a profound effect on my subsequent relationships with people of color.

    Another coincidence of my birth, was the conversion of Mormonism by my grandfather when he married a much younger TBM. They raised his youngest son, my favorite uncle 10 years my senior, in the LDS church, and took me to primary most Sundays when I was little. Being around the church in the 60’s and 70’s, though young and relatively naive, I did come to understand the doctrines of the church, and the subsequent racial and gender inequality.

    I traveled to Europe one summer in the early 70’s with my high school French teacher, who happened to be Mormon, and visited temples in several countries. It was there I encountered a black man that could not hold the priesthood. I was appalled. Around this time I was also meeting potential wives my BYU-attending uncle was dating, and they were struggling with their desire for equality and their dissatisfaction with traditional gender roles. I was horrified by the prospect that they had to conform to predetermined roles as wives and mothers. I can thank the LDS church for giving me a good kick toward understanding racism and sexism.

    I heard the occasional racist remark among family members or my parents’ friends, but it was not until a few more black families moved into the surrounding community, and they started busing black kids from a neighboring school district to our 99% white high school, that I encountered significant and ugly racism among my well-respected white neighbors.

    I left for college, from a large metropolitan area, to small, predominately white cities, and never dealt with racism, except to chastise those that were blatant about it. In grad school, I was hired by the university’s Educational Opportunity Program. I ended up being the only white staff member, other than administrative staff, that was providing direct services to students (summer RA, school-year-mentor, tutor, etc). I didn’t think much of that… until we started going through training in how to mentor young people of color… actually, young, economically disadvantaged people of all colors. Only then did I begin to have a fuller understanding of the cultural heritage that none of us can avoid, that informs everything in our lives, and must be actively challenged if it is going to altered. At first I felt misunderstood. “Hey, I’m not racist! I have black and Mexican friends! I’m dating a mixed-race young man! I never did … (fill in the blank)”! I left a few sessions in tears, especially after confronting the concerns of my peers about my color, my experience, my obvious naïveté about race/culture/society and white privilege. If my best friend who had recommended me for the job, an older, more mature Hispanic man, had not supported me through the process, I’m not sure I would have made it. It ended up, as you can imagine, changing my life… changing the way I saw everything and everyone in terms of racial privilege, inherent racism in our society (which includes every single institution within our society). When you are mentoring a group of 60 kids, and you end up feeling responsible for them, you become acutely aware that the small, predominately white college town you love, has it’s share of bigots. You can’t help but notice how people of color find each other, seek each other out – even if it’s just a slight glance or nod of the head passing in the street, because everything in their environment reminds them they are “the other”.

    I did this work for five years at two universities. Although there were numerous memorable moments… it was the only time I found myself on the receiving end of obvious, tangible racism by a couple of Latina girls who were co-workers. It was devastating. It was so unfair and painful. It still stings, but it was also a gift that has informed my life in a profound way.

    John often asks people to give their testimony at the end of an interview. My testimony would begin with something like, “I know this to be true, (and then nod to brother Darron and say)… what he said”! I’ve continued my work with minority groups seeking social justice over the years, and am constantly surprised by the need to confront my own biases and assumptions. This isn’t always about race. At my age, it can be about music, “the good old days”, right and wrong, etc. I am so saddened by the fact that the vision I had for racial equality in the United States that fueled my activism in the 70’s has NOT come to pass. We are as segregated as we ever were… especially on Sunday mornings. And women are still campaigning for equal pay!

    “Let there be peace on earth… and let it being with me…” Until we confront every single bit of racism in ourselves, and no longer tolerate it anywhere in our lives… until we provide stepping stones for people that are not awarded advantages from birth because of skin color or poverty… until we challenge schools that still segregate and discriminate … we will never be free of the past and able to construct a better society.

    If you think there is nothing inside of you that needs to change, you are not looking hard enough.

    Thank you Dr. Smith for your work, your book, and this interview. One question. What do you think about black men getting tattooed with the logo of institutions that look down upon them, will never hire them, and will turn them out without a second glance? Makes my heart hurt.

  23. Aaron April 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    The most interesting part of the podcast for me was discussion of the honor code and how it negatively affects black people (although I’d argue this is more LDS vs. non-LDS instead of white vs. black). Two thoughts from a middle aged BYU graduate:

    1) The theory/observation that black athletes are punished more severely for honor code violations rings true. Not so much after they get caught but moreso in knowing how to either toe the line or cross the line and play the game to avoid suspensions. People that grow up LDS (generally white) have a community and people to go to bat for them. They know how to show the proper remorse with their bishop, how to start the repentance process. I imagine jumping into that culture cold is extremely difficult and definitely has given me something to think about.

    2) That said, how is it a reasonable solution to not recruit black players to BYU? As if Darron Smith wouldn’t be on this podcast screaming racism if BYU were to completely stop recruiting black athletes. How does John just nod and move on from this suggestion? It’s because as he stated he’s afraid of looking like a racist if he at all pushes back on Darron Smith? Isn’t it better for black athletes to at least have the BYU option vs. not having the option? There are 35 comments above and no one has addressed this.

    Thought experiment… LDS church tells children of gay couples that they are not welcome to be members in their church. How do John Dehlin and Mormon Stories community react? Now LDS church tells children of black couples that they are not allowed to play sports at BYU. John Dehlin and Mormon Stories community just nod and agree and move on.

    • Dane April 6, 2016 at 2:19 am - Reply

      That was only one of a myriad of contradictions the good doctor had said during the podcast. I started a list and it just became too long to try to address each one individually. John did let many ideas and statements go unchallenged. He usually would address the harder hitting questions with his other interviews, at least asking for the listener who may have the question. I feel with the subject of racism, one tends to walk on eggshells when less experienced with the subject (again it’s not their fault not to have had the opportunity to interact with this subject on a deeper and more personal level). It’s interesting that my African friends are less likely to have my race be an issue in our relationship. Like Darron said , they aren’t raised to have those attitudes or issues against me. It’s not up to those who aren’t racist to fix the issue, It’ up to those who are racist to let it go. There will always be dogmatism in society and there’s very little anyone can do about it.

    • Darron April 6, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply


      This is not about John Dehlin and Mormon Stories. This is about reform and progressive change in the interest of young men who deserve more than merely being “beasts of burden.” At the very least they need a commitment from the institution to make good on its promises by providing an education to men in desperate need of something better in life beyond the gridiron.

      If no one addressed the issues you raised in your post then feel free to offer up a suggestion to turn the tide in favor of the athlete.


      • Aaron April 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

        Dane and Darron, thanks for the responses.

        My point is that the black athlete having the option of BYU athletics/education is better for them than not having it at all (which is Darron Smith’s suggestion… not sure if Darron Smith is the “Darron” I’m responding to here). Things can always be better, but I’d argue that not recruiting black athletes is a turn for the worse. I also find it disingenuous that Darron and John find this a better solution, that they wouldn’t instead be crying racism if BYU completely stopped recruiting black athletes.

        Darron, was your time teaching at BYU completely wasted time (ie were you a Beast of Burden)? In retrospect do you wish they had not given you the opportunity to teach there, or was there some good in your time there? Would you prefer BYU not recruit and hire African American faculty because of the honor code? I’d argue your time there, while likely far from perfect, gave you valuable work experience and ultimately unique credibility to write this book. So I’d say you benefited from BYU recruiting and hiring African Americans.

        I agree there’s more that can be done for the black athlete at BYU. As already stated, I feel there’s a good point in how they are treated honor code wise vs. white athletes (not from experience, but what Darron said rang true/plausible to me). I also agree they should have more faculty and coaches to better relate to. Not sure Darron Smith thinks that’s a good idea though. It’s abolish Honor Code or bust for him it seems.

  24. Micca April 5, 2016 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    This interview was very interesting.

    I think his opinion about all whites being racists is very provocative! It’s accurate but only because he is speaking factually about biology and applying it to sociology. Of course all white’s are racists, they all belong to the white RACE. ‘Course, that makes everyone of every race also racists. It also makes all males sexists, and then females too. Basically, his position boils down to saying that we can’t escape the context of our racial existence, and also of our social conditioning of upbringing. He asks that if racism is just about you and I, what accounts for racial injustice at large? My answer to that is that he is conflating racism as; a way to denote a person who is racially-minded, with; the natural tendency of any animal, any,, to naturally find safety among their own kind, and to lend help and protection and to find purpose and usefulness and a mate to their preference. Additionally, blacks leaving slavery were not wealthy, educated, organized, or militarily powerful. Their long standing disadvantage stems from these realities but then so do Native Americans and Mexicans just to name a couple. For this he apparently thinks you should feel guilty about expressing millions of years of biological programming and hundreds if not thousands of years of social expectations. I find his attempt to label anyone with this infliction as a racists pretty laughable. But like he says, the purpose of his book is to give a voice to a certain audience, if not the books purpose to give audience to his own voice. And if by my reasoning a racists is someone who is racially-minded, he must be among the most profound and should remember not to stare to long into the abyss.

    I’m not sure his strategy to simplify racism to judging a book by it’s cover is a good idea. If we accept his premise that there’s nothing we can do, since we’ll always be racists, why bother to make any effort to grow beyond our genetic and social scripting? Why make any effort, however naive and pointless to try to be less biased, less hurtful, and more careful, and more open to interracial relationships? Additionally, by his logic if being white is being a racist then being racist is genetic and essentially a disability. So, he is condemning disabled people and telling them they need to find a way to fix their poor selves!

    Darron further conflates stereo-typing with racism when he suggests that most people think of blacks as less intelligent. It’s a fair assessment of a negative black stereotype but blacks are also stereotyped for a long list of positive attributes such as being very athletic, musical, and for men; well-endowed. It’s nobody’s fault but what’s the saying.. 2 out of 3 aint bad, you can’t have it all! Again, Darron continues to see racism where there isn’t anything but good old fashion labeling. Personally I found him to be well spoken but if he’s smart you know he’s probably not as well gifted in other areas? Ooops, Was that just another stereotype? Well, what can you expect from a racist?

    Recently I took Strengthfinder course and learned that like Darron believes, there is alot of determination going on in my life. Strengthfinder’s purpose is to find out whats right with people, not what’s wrong. They believe in working on your strengths, not on your weaknesses. I realized that I had been working too much on my weaknesses and in doing so I just kept feeling bad about myself. When we gave ourselves permission to account for our strengths and be our more authentic selves we also realized we had to give others that permission to be themselves and to see the good in them. We came out thinking alot more of eachother from a place of self-appreciation and self love. Afterwards while pondering how I came to working so tirelessly on my faults I realized that some people simply want you to feel bad about yourself, because your not like them so they sell you religion, or self help books, or even education. Or like the last poster Debbie Allen, who just wasn’t good enough being a person who wanted to help and make a difference but had to essentially be hazed. Darron wants whites to make headway on their discrimination (which is addressable and is a form of actual racism) but if whites are racists and racism is genetic how can they possibly change? I can come to no other conclusion that Darron is a simply another hater telling you you’re not good enough and really just wants to see the suffering of whites by angering them and trying some kind of mind voodoo to make them feel bad about themselves. If this were done to provide some satisfaction to his audience so that they could then feel empowered on their way to their own self acceptance and appreciation I could understand, but I doubt it is. Unfortunately people who are good are susceptible to Darron’s message of self hate due to genetics. I wonder where Darron learned this tactic? Was it the Mormon education he referred to??

    Finally,,, While I’m sure there’s some good reason it doesn’t matter I’m not white or black and don’t identify as such.

    • DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Micca said, “My answer to that is that he is conflating racism as; a way to denote a person who is racially-minded, with; the natural tendency of any animal, any, to naturally find safety among their own kind, and to lend help and protection and to find purpose and usefulness and a mate to their preference.” Your assertions about my statement are incorrect Micca I’m not talking about some functionalist paradigm regarding race, racism and discrimination. I don’t give a damn about white guilt either. It is what is ALL white Americans are racist period.

      • Micca April 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

        Are you claiming that all non black Americans such as Hispanics and Asians are also racist? How about all non American whites are they also racists or are these groups and individuals taken on in a case by case basis? How about an American who is half black, racist?

        I think i can guess what your going to say, but the suspense is killing me, so let me guess… all racists?

        • Ben April 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

          That’s a great question Micca and I also look forward to Dr. Smith’s answer. If a mixed race (half black) individual has light skin and are therefore viewed by those in society as white are they also racist? Let’s say they also have a white sounding name and they grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Are they racist? Are they only racist until someone finds out they are mixed race? Are they racist when alone or with their white parent, but not racist when seen with their black parent?

  25. Debbie Allen April 6, 2016 at 2:46 am - Reply

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    You say, “It’s not up to those who aren’t racist to fix the issue, It’ up to those who are racist to let it go. ”

    We cannot leave the solution to those guilty of racism. Most would deny the behavior or intent, and might not even notice when it is happening. AND, I suspect that if they could change, they would. I find most people wanting to better themselves.

    Since most racist policies and unconscious thought processes are now securely “in place”, without individuals conspiring in back rooms to maintain them, they must be weeded out with concerted effort.

    One need only look at the prison system to see how multiple levels are involved in institutional racism… from schools, to social services, to juvenile hall, to the police, to the DA’s office, to the courtroom, to the prison… to death row. A system that is obviously unfair is the not responsibility of one person, nor can it be repaired by just one person.

    • Dane April 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      I like your position. I’m only speaking from my own experiences concerning the subject and how it has improved throughout my own life and those around me. Do you think that a child who is raised with equality at heart would grow up and as an adult start adopting and condoning racist policies? I hope not. That’s where I could see improvement possibly happen. Raise each generation to be better than the last. That’s where I can have an affect, at home. But really, who knows?
      I just wonder if Dr.Darron said what he said to get people talking about his book? If so, I certainly fell for it.

  26. Darron smith April 6, 2016 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Bingo, Debbie!


  27. JJ April 6, 2016 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Funny. I worked on a prison, and most of the inmates were white. Go figure!

    • debbie allen April 7, 2016 at 9:44 am - Reply

      “Most” might be reasonable given than “white” people make up most of the population of the United States. But, when you look at the percentage of people within a group that are imprisoned, then you start seeing the inequities.

      I would like to refer people to the book, “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
      A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

      It was chosen by CSU Chico as their book of the year to be read by courses in a variety of disciplines, as well as the community of Chico so students and non-student-community-members could learn together.

  28. Ben April 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    GSR scores also include a transfer to another university as a success. As such, they are definitely not a perfect predictor of academic success. I’d be interested to know information about the transfer rates, vs graduation rates. Also is BYU’s GSR rate low because of female athletes, who usually academically outperform male athletes hugely in terms of GPA and graduation. As college scorecard shows, females at BYU are way less likely to finish, because they are getting married and starting families instead of finishing their education.

    Interesting discussion of a complex problem. I think college athletics generally is exploitative of all athletes. The NCAA is slowly losing power, but this will be a long fight because there is a ton of money behind it.

    • Ken K. April 13, 2016 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      I believe BYU’s low GSR had more to do with how it’s measured. It counts graduating within 6 years of starting. As many serve missions and miss 2+ years BYU will always rank fairly low on graduation rates.

  29. Nancy Melendez April 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Fascinating podcast, I learned so much. I agree that race will become more of a nonissue the more we mix. I look forward to the day when there isn’t a box to check what ethnicity/heritage we are. I always write in American. Race is the issue that caused my husband to delve into LDS church history and eventually leave the LDS church. His interest was sparked because of his Puerto Rican background.

    Question for Dr. Smith and John Dehlin: I was surprised to learn recently that there are several wards in the Utah area designated by ethnicity. I am in the Pacific Northwest and my stake has a Spanish ward. My understanding is that it is for non English speakers. But I hear that most of the people in these wards in Utah are bilingual. I started a thread on a FB group I’m on and most of the ideas for why these wards are formed and allowed were along the lines of supporting or preserving the racial background and culture. Isn’t that just supporting racism when peoples of a like race choose to segregate themselves instead of mixing with what would be a traditional ward boundary? I live in a community with a high population of hispanics and I see the same sort of thing happen at my kids’ schools. You see some kids mix with each other but the majority segregate to their own race.

    My experience has been that people tend to stick to what they know of the culture in which they were raised. So, perhaps all humans are racist.

    • Coriantumr April 8, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Down here in ‘Lanta we have the Norcross Branch, which is Spanish speaking and the rest are English speaking. Funny thing about the Norcross Branch is the dissonance that occurs in young people. The kids, specially those born here speak perfect English and some kinda speak and a few read Spanish. It is painful for some of them to read from a Spanish BoM or D&C. It is NOT always about speaking the language. I think it is better if there’s services in Spanish regardless of the location. My read on the situation is that MOST kids will want to get out of branch and go to English speaking branches where some of their friends from school go. But there is also in some places what you mention. Some kids tend to cluster around their own culture [In a broad sense being Hispanic is about kulture, not race]. My grandson [who wasborn here] spent a couple of semesters here in the same H.S that my daugther graduated from. My grandson has lived in the Third Coast all his life. He’s one of those clustering kids . My daugther was born along the Border in West Texas but she’s a third generation Mexican American and for all purposes she’s a Gringo with a funny surname. Which is fine because she is, after all, American. But it’s all about CONTEXT. Dr. Smith coyly hints at this saying that Caribbean born African descendants do not necesarily eye to eye with INDIGENOUS African Americans on race and equality [or lack thereof]. I, for one, am of the opinion that William Bonney aka William McCarthy aka Billy the Kid should be in the same stature within the Mexican American community as, say, Juan Cortinas. William Bonney spoke fluent Spanish, was well acquainted with the culture given the fact that he grew up in poverty, discriminated and in the company of other discriminated groups: Mexicans and Chinese in Silver City, NM. On the Mormon side you can see the difference between Brother Mitt Romney and his Mexican cousins. One of his cousins has mediated for brothers that have been kidnapped, particpates in local politics and if you hear the interviews revelals a character trend that Brother Mitt WILL NEVER HAVE, neither here nor in the afterlife, given the fact that we’re only the sum of our earthly experiences. Kulture is a matter of context and is not as black and white as some, including Dr. Dennon will have you believe.

      • Nancy Melendez April 21, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

        Well said. Some things I haven’t thought of before. Thank you for the response.

  30. Debbie Allen April 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Are all white people racist? I think this idea, and this suggestion, by Darren Smith has caused some push back from good people who do not think of themselves as “racist” or bigoted, and certainly do nothing to trample on the rights of others in their day to day lives.

    I think we need to consider the issue from a larger perspective. Human beings, by nature, protect themselves, and then, their closest kin (children, parents, cousins). Then, they are most supportive of the community around them, the community that cares for, nurtures, and supports the values/needs/desires of their closest kin. This is simply human nature.

    Given the history of the United States, with slavery, Jim Crow, segregation (quite legal legitimate into the 1960’s), and membership to certain clubs limited to particular racial/ethnic groups… i.e. no Jews, blacks, homosexuals, or women can be members … you can see how we have not been a society in which color, gender, orientation, or religion has not been a contributing factor to who YOU think is a member of your tribe/community.

    As much as I have pushed and prodded myself to see all human beings equally… I don’t. I am more suspicious of some people than others. I am more likely to trust some people than others. I am more likely to feel comfortable and at home with some people than with others. Hey guys… I never go anywhere at night, alone, without worrying I might be accosted or raped by a man. In other words, I have biases that alter the way I see people, or engage with them. [Here I’d like to point out that, statistically, I’m more likely to be raped and/or killed by someone I know than a stranger.]

    The more we come in contact with people different than ourselves, the more we learn that they are just like us. So…. how many African Americans in your neighborhood? In your ward? In your family?

    If I were to canvas individuals, I’d probably discover that most were open-hearted, and didn’t harbor any hateful attitudes toward people unlike themselves. But, if you step back, and look at the how the larger community “scores”… our schools, our courts, our prisons, who’s poor/rich, a CEO or unemployed… you’ll notice some incredible disparities. If you think that every single one of these outcomes is “earned”, then, you are naive. For example, people raised by people with college educations are more likely to go to college. People who are white are less likely to be arrested, convicted, or sentence for the EXACT same crimes. And on and on and on it goes.

    Since WHITE people (especially white men) tend to be the ones most often in power, their unconscious biases are quite powerful in influencing these outcomes. They are less likely to hire people of color, women, etc. So… that generation of workers might not rise as high as they could. NOT because they were not working hard, but, because “someone” felt more comfortable with the status quo, or working along side someone that looked like them. May I point out the disparity between the number of African American professional football players and the number of African American Coaches and Head Coaches??? [And do I need to remind Mormons about how often they prefer other Mormons… for anything and everything?!?]

    Perhaps it doesn’t motivate you to see yourself as a white “racist”. But please don’t get hung up on that. Something is wrong with our society and we are all part of the problem, OR we are part of the solution. If we expend energy protecting our own reputation, then I don’t think our efforts contribute to the solution. If we react to “Black Lives Matter” with frustration and are quick to point out that ALL lives matter, then we are not part of the solution. I’m not asking anyone to become incapacitated by guilt. I’m asking people to understand that their brothers and sisters feel abused by our system, and we need to help fix it. In whatever way we can.

  31. Danny April 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I wanted to respond to John’s question on how believing members can accept the Book of Mormon despite it racist mythology. Judging people of different era to our current sensibilities and social mores is historical presentism. We readily acknowledge that people are products of their culture, their time, and their environment and such is the case for scripture. Contemporary believers of the Bible can dismiss the fact that virtually everyone held misogynistic, homonegative, classist, racist, xenophobic beliefs because those beliefs systems went critically unchallenged at that time. Even Jesus was discriminatory in having the gospel only preached to the Jews in his lifetime. The Bible is replete with etiology stories from people having sex with giants to incestuous relations that supposedly led to the origins of different groups of people. Given the context of the Book of Mormon, one can also assume that the skin “curse” falls in the camp of an ill-conceived etiology story. So under the clause of “If there be faults, they be the mistakes of men” a believer in the Book of Mormon could recognize that the curse could be the manifestation of cultural bias and pre-scientific ignorance. Unfortunately, there are likely people who believe it wholesale, but I don’t think that the mythology is necessarily a “non-starter” as you say.

    • John Dehlin April 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      For me it’s a non-starter because the book claims to be written by God’s prophets, and to be teaching God’s holy word. And one of the central narratives of the book is that God made Lamanite skin dark to make Lamanites ugly to the Nephites due to Lamanite wickedness. It says the curse came from God….and prophets who claim to speak to God are making that claim. So if God can’t correct something that simple in such a MAJOR story line…then for me…it’s stretches beyond reason that the book is really scripture from God. If the BOM can’t get something so basic right…how do we trust its teachings on the atonement, resurrection, the church, etc.

      Then if you add all the anachronisms, DNA problems, plagiarisms, etc. – and if you realize that NONE of Joseph’s Nauvoo doctrine (Melch. priesthood, temple sealings, temple marriage, polygamy, proxy work for the dead, etc.) appears in the Book of Mormon — to me the historicity of the Book of Mormon becomes an obvious and really sad joke played on millions.

      Just my feelings at present. Don’t mean to offend.

      • Tom James April 24, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

        John Dehlin

        Why did you censored my last 2 posts? What was unacceptable or inappropriate about them? You invite people to engage in a discussion and ask questions, but when you don’t like the questions, you reject those posts. Why? If you can’t answer that question, then don’t invite people to ask questions.

  32. Danny April 11, 2016 at 12:33 am - Reply

    Thanks for your response; no offense taken. Your feelings are legitimate and I’m sympathetic to your point of view. Likewise, I am sympathetic to the views of believing members who have a different paradigm regarding prophets. That is, I imagine many members would suggest that, like examples I gave about etiology stories in the Bible, the narrative in the BoM skin curse was evidence of a prophet’s “fallible” understanding of phenotypic differences in groups of people. Inasmuch as one can believe in the Bible and not literally believe that woman originated from a man’s rib, one can believe the BoM and not literally believe that dark skin originated due to divine rancor.
    Since you believe the book is fraudulent then obviously it is a non-starter for you, but I was referring to the ¾ of people for whom you said the book should be a non-starter.

  33. Emma April 13, 2016 at 9:27 am - Reply

    John it was an unusual podcast
    You usually include more of a personal thoughts and feelings of the speaker — although the information he shared about black athletes is true and I agree
    I would have appreciated hearing more about Darren’s personal experience and opinions related to being a black man in the LDS church
    I think you said you interviewed him about 10 years ago it seems clear that he has changed his attitude about the church I would really like to know what happened why it happened and how he feels about the church now – what changes in his perspective his beliefs and his lifestyle
    Is there some reason you or he did not want to discuss that
    Is he concerned about church discipline
    Please give us an update on Darren himself
    Perhaps we could even write a couple paragraphs on this post

  34. Emma April 13, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I totally agree with Darren about BYU black athletes but I would take it a step further and say that bYU’s standards are invasive way too controlling and inappropriate for young adults who should be able to think and act for themselves
    But this was an unusual podcast for John he usually asks more personal questions and I am very interested in knowing about Darrens aparent changes in attitude about the Mormon church —since John talk to him 10 years ago. please get us up-to-date how does Darren Feel about the church what happened to make him change his attitude
    Why and how did he leave BYU
    How has he changed his lifestyle is the reason you did not talk about this because he is concerned about church discipline ? it was just very unusual for you John not to discuss these apparent changes and Darren’s attitude
    Perhaps he could give us an in-depth up-to-date news as a response to this question or should you have another podcast

  35. Concerned April 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    There are many inequities and biases that play out in our culture. They are by no means uniquely played out by whites on non whites. I’m a woman and by the same logic. All men, like Darron, are sexist because we are not treated fairly in the culture. Likewise, I’m in the LGBT community and I’d like to say everyone out there including Darron is a bigot or anti-LGBT. I could go on and on. These biases are damaging and they are hard to irradiate. They are more complex than one person. Blaming everybody does nothing to solve your problem or engender support. Its also starts a blame game we all can be found plenty guilty of. I think a more accurate terms is to say in general circles white people enjoy a position of privilege due to the cultural bias. There are so many other things that could be said about this but this is just one point I just couldn’t let go. To be honest the way Darron approaches this matter really turns me off of as someone who genuinely wants to make the world a better place.

  36. DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I do not deny that I’m a sexist and that I have prejudice. Furthermore, I’m not intolerant of the opinion of others. However, what I do know is ALL white Americans wield white privilege, period. Call me or whatever you like if it helps you sleep better at night. Systemic white racism and oppression benefit white Americans as it always has since the founding of the nation. Racism remains a white problem.

  37. DTS April 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    White racism and supremacy turn me off as it should you. Don’t shoot the messenger I did not create this system your ancestors did so be turned off by them.


  38. Emma April 15, 2016 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Please respond to my questions—- how do you feel about the church now?why did you leave BYU ? how has your life changed? What caused you to change your attitude about the church? Are you inactive? Withdrew membership? Excommunicated?
    Hope you will share…….
    Please don’t ignore these questions

  39. Tom James April 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply


    He won’t respond. He only believes is a one-communication: he talks and you listen, he calls you racist because your skin is white and you agree.

    Questions that challenge Smith’s claim that all whites are racists are ignored. John Glenn said that he listened carefully to the podcast and found no reasonable argument to support Smith’s assertion that all whites are racists. He asked Smith to elaborate because he wanted to genuinely “understand how that statement progresses the conversation.” Smith’s retorted by calling him a racist. Ben pointed out that women are also victims of a society that favors men. Does that make all men misogynists? Fair question! No comment on Smith’s part.

    I tried to post a message with some questions and my post was rejected. This amazes me. There was nothing inappropriate in that post (I tried posting it three times). I don’t know if it’s Dehlin that monitors the posts or someone else, but it’s hypocritical. It’s also bad manners.

    I have been on a lot of forums, but never (if I remember correctly) participated on a Mormon forum. It’s a different experience. On the other forums, there is a more honest exchange of ideas. On this forum, there is a lot of guarded statements, a lot of walking on eggshells, and a lack of critical thinking.

    It’s interesting how many Mormons so easily acquiesced to Smith’s guilt trip. I think it’s a fair statement to say that any member of the Mormon church who believes in scriptures that say a skin of darkness is a punishment is a racist. Anyone who believes that the black race is less worthy than the white race or that interracial marriage is wrong is a racist. In social issues, the Mormon church is always way behind the rest of society. Mormons live in a very small and isolated world. It certainly feels that way on this forum. But many decent Mormons must suffer from guilt for the racism in their religion. Smith is taking advantage of that Mormon guilt. I also think that Smith would benefit from discussing some of his issues with a professional.

    I don’t think it helps calling people racists. That only divides people as the responses from this forum has demonstrated. I think a better solution is to work together toward equality and respect of all people (not just black people).

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