Racial Injustice and Civil Unrest in America (Transcript)

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Roger Marsh: Over the past few months, racial tension has risen to an alarming level all across the United States. Protests intended to raise awareness have actually erupted into violent riots, instead. And oftentimes, those who were planning a peaceful protest, find that their event has been infiltrated by hate-filled groups, and that's caught people of all races in the crossfire.

So, what can be done to heal our land and bring unity back to our cities? Well, a few months ago, Dr. Dobson talked about this racial unrest with U.S. Senator Tim Scott. With these issues still facing America, we thought it would be a good time to revisit this conversation. So, without any delay, here once again is Dr. Dobson to introduce his guest, on this edition of Family Talk.

Dr. Dobson: Now we're going to hear today the views and comments of one of my favorite senators in the US Senate. And he's going to join us today by phone. I want to tell you that I admire this man greatly. I am deeply honored to have Senator Tim Scott on the phone with us. He is a Republican from South Carolina and he is the first African American in history to ever serve on both the House of Representatives and the US Senate. He is passionately pro-life and he's championed many commonsense initiatives through the years. I want to tell you, I'm very proud of this man. Senator, I think you're on the phone, right?

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes, sir. Dr. Dobson, let me just say what I've always thought, which is that you have been a profound leader for our nation for decades. I have been blessed by your presence, by your wisdom, and by your just willingness to share your life in a very public fashion. You have never disappointed us, and I am incredibly thankful for all that you have done, and continue to do. It is a dark night in our country, but I am thankful that joy comes in the morning, and I'm looking forward to a very bright day in the weeks and days ahead.

Dr. Dobson: Well, thank you, Senator, for those very kind words, and it's why I wanted to talk to you today, and I'm so pleased that you made time for us. I know that there must be hundreds of reporters and commentators who are standing in line to talk to you so, let's get right to it. I want you to address the tragedy that's unfolding, even as we speak. Millions of people around the world share a sense of outrage at the merciless killing of George Floyd, the father of several children, including a six year old girl. And we saw him lying face down on the street, with the knee of the police officer in his neck. It was one of the most disturbing images ever seen on the media, so we can identify with the rage of African Americans and others who flooded onto the streets. That's a constitutional right to protest and it was called for in this situation. But this has led to a mob mentality that's utterly lawless and violent. And I see it as a thin veneer of civility that's broken down. Give us your take on what's happening at this time.

Sen. Tim Scott: I think, Dr. Dobson, it's impossible to start a conversation without first acknowledging what really has been the trigger for all that we see around the country, which is another death of an African American man at the hands of the police. That has been a unfortunate reality for all of my life, I've been watching this unfold. This time with video, so it brings a new level of validation to the cries of so many people within the African American community. That does not in any way, shape or form condone any violence. As a matter of fact, George Floyd's brother, Terrence, spoke out, I think incredibly, asking for calm in the streets that there's nothing that's being done from a violent perspective that will ever bring back his brother. And there's nothing being done with all of the vitriol, from the agitators, that is even helpful to the conversation that we need to have as a nation.

And I would like to separate protestors and demonstrators from these violent agitators that have nothing to do with George Floyd, or frankly, justice from the challenges that we face as a nation. What you're actually seeing on TV, the violent folks, those people are selfishly distracting from George Floyd's death, and at the same time, trying to accomplish a very different objective. And from my perspective, that objective is either anarchy or chaos, and they are cousins. That has nothing to do with the peaceful protest of brutality at the hands of people that we give ultimate life and death decisions, and the authority to execute. Two very different conversations.

Dr. Dobson: I do hope that the people of America will separate those two things because the pain and the agony of people who watched that man die, with everybody standing around, looking at him, and him crying for help and crying for air. I mean, that's awful, it's horrible, but there is something else going on here, and it's violence for violence's sake. I was thinking this morning, violence breeds violence. And we have friends here in Colorado who live just a few miles away from us that sent me a letter a day or two ago, that was posted on the doors of everybody in their neighborhood. All the houses had this statement, let me read it. "Democrat, hear the call. The time for action is near. Republicans are enslaving, killing the brown man. You are next. Warmongering Republicans understand only one thing: war. It's time to eliminate them before they kill us all, we must act now to save the world. Republicans are not actual humans, they are sub-humans, and God approves the killing of them. So no border, no wall, no USA at all. Reject whiteness, reject greed; death to America is all we need."

And it goes on for two pages rambling like that. Boy, there is a wickedness out there that is very, very dangerous, isn't there?

Sen. Tim Scott: There is. I had not heard that before, but without any question, as an African American who happens to be a Republican, I think the racial overtones and condemnation of the Republican party is a representation of evil in the words and in the thoughts of the person who wrote that - salacious at best, demonic at worst - letter to his neighbors or her neighbors, or frankly likely, they don't live in the places where they passed the letters out. It is just awful to hear someone with that kind of venom towards people they've never met. I liken it to racial hatred of people that you hate because of the color of their skin, that is demonic. And frankly, to hate someone because of the partisan affiliation is equally as demonic.

Dr. Dobson: Talk about law enforcement as you see it. How much of the anguish and anger at the police across the country... How much of that do you see as valid and where do we go with that?

Sen. Tim Scott: Now, I would say there's a complicated relationship between the law enforcement officers and the African American community, and communities of color. Having the chance to talk with so many folks, and then having lived through seven stops, as an African-American driving a car, by law enforcement officers. As an elected official being stopped by law enforcement officers, as a United States Senator trying to enter into the Senate buildings, wearing my Senate pin, they just didn't believe me. There is a complicated and emotional attachment to the fact that the discrimination that so many of us have felt is real. The solution to it, I think it is multifaceted and layered. But the vast majority, and I've had years and years of experience with law enforcement, the vast majority of officers have one objective: it's to do their jobs and go home. It's those apples, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. There's no doubt that - I think it's more than one, but - there is a strong minority of officers that are casting shadows over all of law enforcement.

The problem is it's been this way for all of my life. And that's where you're seeing the type of energy and emotion, not violence, but energy and emotion that really want to have a civil conversation about bringing justice and fairness to the system. That has to be a separate conversation that is hard to have while you're having violence in the streets, watching people break windows, violate buildings, and other people's rights. It's hard to watch. And I just think to myself, that equally as hard to watch is an officer with the knee on the neck, with the hands tied behind the back, laying on your stomach. If you want justice for one, you should want justice for all. And as you said, violence only begets more violence. We have to turn our attention in a constructive manner toward solutions that have nothing to do with the violence of the agitators who have infiltrated and co-opted the nonviolent protest that we've seen around this country. Dr. Dobson: How does the police establishment around the country deal with the minority of cops who are guilty of doing what they're accused of doing? That is obviously a minority, that is not the majority. Most of these guys are out there trying to do their jobs, as you said.

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes.

Dr. Dobson: To be honorable men and women, but there is a problem here to be addressed, isn't there?

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes, sir. Dr. Dobson, the fastest way to do it is what I saw this time, and frankly I'll say this as well: for the first time in my lifetime, I've seen the majority, if not all of the law enforcement agencies in my state, South Carolina, all their associations, have come out condemning the acts of the officer in Minneapolis. The fastest way to get rid of bad officers are for good ones to take a stand against them. That is the only way, frankly, to get rid of bad officers. I say that in every vein, by the way. Whether it's officers, or church members, or politicians, if you're not willing to stand up against those in your own corner, so to speak, your voice is probably not going to be as helpful. And it's the ability to stand against the bad apples on your side, whatever that means to whomever it means it, it is the fastest way for our nation to make progress.

Dr. Dobson: Yeah. Is it true that people in the other party, the Democrat party and others, are failing, or at least not speaking as passionately about the violence, and not condemning it? I'm not sure if that's accurate, but is that what you're hearing?

Sen. Tim Scott: I'm hearing it, but I don't know if it's accurate either. Here's what I think though, I think every single leader in the country should start the conversation with George Floyd. And specifically and intentionally shift the attention after dealing with George Floyd to go right after the violent protesters. If you are not willing to condemn the violent protestors with the same emotion and passion that you condemn the law enforcement officers, you lose credibility on one side. And if you're not willing to condemn death of George Floyd, as well as condemning the violence in the streets, on the other side, you lose credibility, and you should. So, I have always started my conversations off with George Floyd, and I quickly pivot to the violence in the streets because there's no way I can say the killing of George Floyd was murder in my opinion, and then to watch four officers laying in the hospital, I believe in St. Louis, watching the Police Chief of Richmond, Virginia, talk about protestors blocking the way to putting out a fire that put a young child's life in jeopardy.

Or in Indianapolis, or all over this country, law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs and being in harm's way. If you won't speak out against that, I don't think you have the right to speak out against the violence perpetrated against George Floyd. You have to speak out on both sides, in my opinion, to have credibility.

Dr. Dobson: I remember Dallas several years ago, where five policemen were shot down in cold blood. This story has two sides, doesn't it?

Sen. Tim Scott: Every single one does. And that's the unfortunate reality, that you have to be willing to have a 360 degree view, and then a conversation that leads to understanding. And I will say that II Chronicles 7:14, an often quoted verse, still has application today, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves." That's a good way to start. James 4:10, I know your name is Dr. James Dobson so… James 4:10, humbling yourself so the Lord will exalt you, as opposed to exalting yourself so the Lord will humble you, and James 3, be reminded that the tongue is a poisonous toxic thing. If it's not harnessed, it's got to be the rudder of the ship, and then certainly, James 1:5, "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God." These are things that we should do as leaders. We should push back against the sentiment that there aren't any solutions. We should deny the reality - it's a false reality, it's a false narrative - it's not true that we can't come together. Galatians 3:29 tells me that we're all seeds of Abraham and part of the same family.

And if we saw ourselves in that light, Dr. Dobson, as you have been preaching, at least in my ears, for four decades now, we would be a lot better off. We'd have a lot fewer problems and we'd have a lot more solutions.

Dr. Dobson: Well, the solutions begin with prayer.

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes, sir.

Dr. Dobson: And I'm convinced that we're not going to settle this one and get out of the mess that we're in without taking it to the Lord in prayer.

Sen. Tim Scott: Amen.

Dr. Dobson: And we need to humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways. Before we go, talk again about your own experience. Have you seen this oppression up close and personal, as a child and in your youth?

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes sir, Dr. Dobson. I remember 1999, the year I was vice chairman of the local government, Charleston County Government, and I was stopped that year seven times by law enforcement officers, basically wanting to take a look at my car and try to figure out if I was doing something I shouldn't be doing.

Dr. Dobson: Just because you were black?

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes, sir. I call it DWB, "driving while black." And I'll say that just this year I was pulled over for using my turn signal too late in the lane change. Interesting concept. And then last year in November, I was pulled over for having my flashers on while I was helping someone look for their phone. I had gotten back in my car, was getting ready to turn my flashers off, and the law enforcement came behind me. And I spoke with the police chief in a different jurisdiction, and they tell me that those are just ways for officers to get a chance to take a look in your car, to get the windows down so they can see if there are any drugs in the air. This type of targeting is not helpful.

And frankly, I remember the lessons that I was taught early on, which is, I always roll all the windows down, put both of my hands out of the window, recognizing that the officer, for whatever reason he pulls me over, still wants to go home unharmed. And I want to make sure that he understands from me, I want to do him no harm. And so please do me no harm. So I try to be as cooperative as possible. But those are two stories from the last six months of my life. And it continues, no matter your position in life.

Dr. Dobson: Well, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you. You just have the sound of judgment, and wisdom, and common sense. And I thank you for what you're doing for our country, consider us a friend. And I'm going to ask that our listeners pray for you and pray for the members of both parties in Washington, that they will act not impulsively to exacerbate the problem, but they will seek a solution that's been eluding us for many, many years.

Sen. Tim Scott: I am optimistic, Dr. Dobson, that we are going to get there together. I am very confident that this nation is rising to the occasion. Even if it feels like we've taken a couple of steps back, I think we've taken leaps forward, and the best is yet to come for this nation. And for each individual in this nation, the future can be very bright.

Dr. Dobson: Well, you have other interviews that are on hold, no doubt, waiting to talk to you. Thank you for giving us this time and for what you do. I will come by to say hello, and I'm going to give you a hug. Is it okay to hug a Senator?

Sen. Tim Scott: Absolutely, I look forward to the warm embrace, and I also look forward to continuing to increase and deepen our friendship. Much respect I have for you has only been increased and enhanced because of this conversation.

Dr. Dobson: God bless you, my friend.

Sen. Tim Scott: Thank you, sir. And thank you to all the folks who help us get this together. I know sometimes it's challenging, but you have a great group of folks working with you and I am appreciative of their skills. I don't have them, so I'm thankful for people who can do what I can't do, and do it well. Thank you.

Dr. Dobson: And God bless America.

Sen. Tim Scott: Amen. Amen, amen. Thank you sir.

Dr. Dobson: Okay. We'll talk again, sir.

Sen. Tim Scott: Yes, sir. Bye bye.

Roger Marsh: A serious look at the racial tension that is rocking our country right now. I'm Roger Marsh, and you've been listening to Dr. Dobson's recent conversation with United States Senator Tim Scott here on Family Talk. I pray this discussion spoke to you, and highlighted our need for understanding and unity during this tense time. Visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org to learn more about Senator Tim Scott and his meaningful work on Capitol Hill. Once you're there, you can also request a CD copy of this interview, as well. Simply click on the "order a CD copy link" to order yours today. That's drjamesdobson.org, and then go to today's broadcast page.

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