I'm White. You're Black. Why Does That Matter?

Last month I had the pleasure of sitting down with two of my oldest friends for a conversation that touched on the history of our country, racism, friendship, hope, and what we need to do to contribute meaning and justice to this world. Thank you so much, Leonard and Ken, for this opportunity. I’ll never forget our conversation. Check it out, and tell me what you think.


Hi, my name is Dan Burrell. Thank you for being here with us today. The conversation you are about to hear is between myself, and two friends, who I’ve had for over 30 years.

The first, Ken Leonard, was born in South Korea. An American serviceman for a father, a South Korean woman as a mother. Ken was adopted at age five by an older Kansas city couple, where he grew up, until he graduated high-school, and attended Lincoln college, while working his way through college at the state penitentiary.

Ken eventually moved to California, where he has resided for over thirty years.

Leonard turner was born in Arkansas, the youngest of eight. He grew up on a family farm of 120 acres, raising livestock and produce.


Leonard left for California after high school, settling in the bay area and joining the Berkeley police department, where he served for nine years. He eventually moved to Los Angeles and pursued an acting career which became quite successful.

during our conversation we touched on a number of topics: police brutality, protests, the pandemic, and the history of systemic racism entrenched in our country. Our conversation deeply affected my understanding of our society and the role we all must play in ensuring justice and equality for all. Thank you for taking the time to listen.

So hey boys

What’s up?

Thanks for doing this. actually, this is, uh, this is pretty important, this stuff, right now. And for everything I’m doing with the wheel of purpose, this conversation can be a really good conversation for a lot of people, so, we’re just gonna take a little time and kind of get into it.

Kenny, let’s start with you. The first question I have for you…first let me say anyway, for people that do this, we’ve all known each other for over 30 years, and so, I feel that’s a real benefit because we can have a really cool conversation cause I trust you guys and I know you trust me and we can talk about this, so this will be good

So Ken, where were you born?

I was born in Seoul, Korea, actually. I lived there until I was 5 years old, and then I was adopted and came to the states and grew up in Kansas city, Missouri.

You grew up in Kansas city, Missouri. 


Where did you go to high school?

I went to Lincoln high. Lincoln high school. I grew up in a black neighborhood.

In Kansas City?

In Kansas City. 

And was it a 100% black high school?

yes. It was, definitely. It was…it was 99.9 percent.

If I was to say something that Hunter would say right now if we were together, he’d go “you mean they didn’t let white people in there?!”

No the white people didn’t want to go there. I was definitely in the hood. I lived in the hood, brother.

Tell us about what your parents were like.

My parents, like I said, I was adopted when I was 5 years old. My mother, actually, she was working as a house keeper. She was a domestic servant in Kansas city. And my father worked for one of the larger funeral homes. He was a driver for a funeral home, E.W. Newcomer.

No kidding? Man, he had some interesting stuff happening in his life I bet.

So what were they like? What kind of parents were they and how many brothers and sisters did you have?

actually, I was the only child. My parents they were, were then they were a little older. They didn’t have children in their marriage, so, they decided to adopt.  And actually my mother’s, one of my mother’s best friends, who was the pastor of our church, they were like sisters. And she adopted two Korean orphans and that gave my parents the impetus to adopt me. And basically it was like a mail order adoption. They had a pamphlet, saw pictures, and said “I want him!”

and it happened to be me. And so, it was, they were very loving, loving, you know, uh, parents. That’s one of the things I felt from them, was their love. So I didn’t have any, I had a comfort level, because of that. My dad, he was very jovial. He liked to hang out with his buddy and have him over and the neighbor couples from around the neighborhood, would come over and they would play cards and just have a good time. My mother was a…she was church going, and she was also a…just a,

Yeah my childhood…it was very joyful in the fact that I didn’t know we were poor. You know, cause they would, I was the only child and I felt that I have everything I needed.

So you felt you were lower class or middle class as far as income…standard of living?

You know, I felt that we were lower middle income. We weren’t poor, because, you know, we weren’t in poverty. We had…my parents were living check to check. Paycheck to paycheck That type of living, you know.

Ok I’m gonna go back to some questions for you. I’m gonna introduce Leonard here. Mr. Turner!

Yes, sir!

Where were you born?

I was born in a little small city in Arkansas, it was called mccaskil arkansas, population 62, youngest of eight kids.


62. However, they did not count the black people on the dirt road that was 2 1/2 miles from the little city that had one post office, one gas station and one grocery store. But yeah, the posted population was 62 for McCaskil arkansas.

17 miles from what they call Clintonville now, but Hope Arkansas, where bill Clinton is from.

17 miles? 

It was 17 miles from Hope.

How many brothers and sisters did you have?

I was the youngest of eight kids.

Of eight kids? And you were the youngest?

I was the youngest, yes.

And you lived on that dirt road you were talking about?

I lived on that dirt road. At the end of the road. The only thing that was deeper on that dirt road was actually the church, because when you grow up in the south, you were church going. So, I went to church every Sunday. In fact, I had the key to the church, so we’d have to be there first thing Sunday morning to open the church, have Sunday school, etc, etc.

So, tell us about your mom and dad.

um, typical country folks. My dad, my dad actually worked before the war in what they called a proving ground. It was, it had something to do with where they dropped bombs and did all sorts of things. In fact, they purchased the land from us for the government so that they could use that area as what they called a “proving ground.” And later sold it back to my dad. But after that, he was a farmer, I mean, we raised everything we ate. Again, I was listening to Kenny. We were…we didn’t have ghettos there. It was just farmland. You know, everyone owned several acres. Like, when I was growing up, my parents had, what, 120 acres. They had 80 acres in a place where they just had timber on it and the other place was 20 acres where we farmed and lived and ya know I had pigs in the back yard, a garden in the backyard, where we literally raised everything we ate.

There were no white people living in our neighborhood.   We – The schools were black. They were, it was only about, well…first of all, the school was 1-12. There were 20 kids in my graduating class. The white school was next-door to us, like, 300 yards from the black school. It was called Blevin’s Training school.

It was segregated?

Oh, definitely segregated.

After segregation ended?

Uh, no, I graduated in 1966. So, forced integration wasn’t until I guess ’67.

actually, it passed in 1960…yeah, ’65. Uh, Jim Crow.

It didn’t make it to us until ’67. Because in ’66, what they did is, they made it voluntary. If you wanted to go to the white school, you could, or anyone from the white school could come to the black school.

I’m sure that happened constantly. 

Say it again?

I’m sure that happened constantly….I’m kidding!

Ah! No. Only one kid went the…well they wouldn’t let the seniors go. I was a senior that year, that they made it voluntary. But they would not let the seniors go, I’m assuming because of, you know, their grades and, you know, being valedictorian – they didn’t want that taken away or whatever.

But my niece actually went.

And then the next year, they, they forced them to integrate the schools. So they made the uh, they made our school, the black school, the elementary school and made the white school the high school.

So, uh…

So we can…you know, we took a bus, we were six miles – we went to school in Blevins. I lived in McCaskil. But they had several communities, like five or six small communities like McCaskil, and we all would meet in Blevins to go to school. You know, the school bus that took you to school.

so, were you middle class, were you…what were, where were you? Were you lower class? Middle class? What was your status in the, uh, well, you have your own area, and then you have the larger area. Did it matter, or…?

Uh…well, we had 120 acres, so I don’t know that…i guess that didn’t make us poor, even though we didn’t have a lot of money. But we didn’t know anything about middle class and upper class and lower class. We were just farmers, you know, that raised what you ate, you know, we went to school, and didn’t, you know, I worked during the summers. I didn’t have to miss school to work or anything like that. But there were no gangs or…it was even a dry county! So, I never drank a beer until I moved to California after I was 18.

I left the day I graduated high school. 

Because everyone…everyone came home from my graduation…i always knew that I was gonna end up in the bay Area. And as we graduated, we moved into the bay area, from the first one that left until the last one. 

Well, racism exists within races itself. In black culture, there is racism among light skinned blacks, dark skinned blacks, you know, there is that.

The first time I remember…i guess, racism, is when, like I said, my mother she was a housekeeper for some wealthy families. And I remember one of the times, and I probably was about, oh, I’m gonna say about seven. Somewhere around there, 7 years old. And going over, for some reason I had to go with my mom that day, and, and, it was the look and where I didn’t have…you know, I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel comfortable with the people that she was working for because they, you know, they just…

I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone was friendly and just, you know, “Hey, Kenny, have this.” You know? “You can do whatever you want over there.”

I just remember I had to stay in one particular area, didn’t want me to leave out of that area or going anywhere, and I just, it just, like, eyes were always on me, like I was, you know, doing something that I shouldn’t be doing, but I wasn’t doing anything, you know?


And I felt uncomfortable, early on. But then, as, in the neighborhood, like I said, there’s racism. I even remember because…you know, I had, you know, round eyes. My eyes were, you know, a little asian shaped and kids would make fun of me and things of that nature. And one thing about it, see, I couldn’t speak English when I came to the states. 

When I was 5 years old and started kindergarten, I was just, I only had a few words of english. And so I got teased on that. And maybe that’s more teasing than racism itself, but, but those type of things, you know, occurred.

Yeah, that’s, I mean, and you remember that from 7 years old and it’s a feeling of being uncomfortable.


That goes around. 

Leonard, how about you? Tell me your experience of racism.

Well, we had very little connection with white people because we didn’t go to school with them.  You know, my parents worked for them, my dad did, actually. And I did things like picking cotton, picking peas, and things like that during the summer, and hauling hay, but never any…never an incident whatsoever with any of the people that, you know, we had to end up working for.

The only thing I remember is when Emmett Till was killed, which, obviously, we all know about that. And I remember my parents—I remember feeling that when I was in the company of a white girl, to try and make sure that I didn’t – and this is a weird note ‘cause I hadn’t thought about this since then – that I didn’t give the impression that I was winking at her, or anything of that sort. But the thing was that we were never around any white girls. But it was in our–in my head because it was such a big deal to know that, you know, do not act as if you’re flirting with, or anything to do with – if you run away or–you also get killed. And I remember that from…I don’t remember the year that was but I was around 13, 14. Emmett Till must have killed around ‘64 I guess it was.

No, 1955.

What year was it?




Oh, damn. I was younger than I thought when it was going through my head.


Um, maybe it became a bigger deal later, or something? Because that would have made me around 9-10 years old. But I–I do remember it. I remember-I remember, you know, when he got killed. And I remember having that fear of, you know, not showing any signs that you were interested in a white girl – that was it. As far as actually having any bad experiences with white people, it was-it was never. In fact, I remember one time my mom and I were picking peas at–I remember this guy’s name, his name was Dor-dash-Q, and I remember my mom being surprised that, when we got ready to eat, it was just the two of us and this guy’s wife, working that day, picking these peas. And she had us come into her kitchen, and eat lunch. And I remember my mom being shocked that they invited, that she invited us in to eat–inside their house. But never actually-never…never an incident of racism there, in Arkansas. But because of the lack of contact I’m sure put it out of the water–


— no association. 

Right, yeah. And we can talk about that more, but it’s like everything was kept in a certain place–


–that everybody is comfortable–  

You knew your place basically.

–Right. And also what I really like about what both of you said–it sounds really amazing about your parents is that no matter where you were, you felt this was normal life and you were living a normal life and it was great-it was great. 




Alright, I’m gonna switch gears here. One of the things I want everybody watching this to know is, Leonard, you were a former police officer, right? In–


–with the Oakland Police Department. 


Berkeley. And for how many years were you a police officer? 

Um…right at nine years. 

Okay, so I just want that to be clear–Kenny, didn’t you work at a women’s prison? 

The men’s prison–

The men’s prison.

–in Missouri, yes. The Men’s State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. That’s where–that’s where I went to college, at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.



That’s great. Great experience.


Alright, I’m gonna fast forward here, and I’m gonna throw a question at ya and we’ll start talking. Let’s talk about the present day right now. I mean… there’s a lot going on. And-and we are finding…I am finding that…okay, what do I tell–what do I learn…what do I also talk to with my Caucasian friends, because people talk about it and there’s this certain perspective of, you know, I’ve been thinking hard on this Black Lives Matter because it’s the first thing some of these people say whether they are truly racist or not is, well, White Lives Matter too. And my answer right now is that I’ve come up with is, “Well, your lives have always mattered.”


And black lives have not always mattered. So let’s just start there. There’s a difference already. We’re white, you begin this sort of-kind of privilege thing, you know?  So let’s talk about this. How….from you guys with, you know, your life experiences and you’ve met a lot of people, and been around all kinds of people and a hell of a lot of white people–where do we, where do we start in this world to start to make a difference.   

Well, I’ll start on this one, Kenny–

Go right ahead.

–First of all, when a black person is around a white person and the subject of Black Liv—when a black person is around someone white and you say, you know, the words Black Lives Matter come up and they go “All Lives Matter.” First of all, nine out of ten times either they are very stupid or they are racist. Because everyone knows white lives have always mattered. And black lives definitely matter also, which is what the point is. But it doesn’t need to be said that white lives matter. I mean, that’s-that’s-that’s pretty stupid. And that comes along the same with the flag, but I’m sure we’ll get to that later. But when I hear that, I hear someone that definitely needs talking to. And…oh my god, where was I going with this.

Who does the–


–who does the–how do the—how do the–how do people learn to change and how do they get the message? I, you know, my own experience is I’ve had relationships with black men ever since I left high school and went into the service, you know, I became–for me it was no different a person. By god, I’m sure racism exists in the service but I wasn’t going to feel any different because this guy might have my back some day, you know what I mean? It’s the same as–


— as I am! My first bunkmate was from Harlem! 

Yeah, but it’s not enough-not enough, and I love the fact that they’re saying it is, it’s not enough nowadays to just not be racist. You have to literally be anti-racist. And I’m sure you’ve heard the muse thing-this term. This whole…this momentum that’s going on right now feels very different. I’m 72 years old and I’ve seen a lot of protesting, etc. This one seems a bit different. Boy, there’s so much to cover on this. I don’t know how you want to scale it out and ask the questions, but–


— this one is different, and you can talk with Kenny and ask whatever question you want.

Well, well, I think the d–well, first of all, I want to say–and Leonard–thank you for having this conversation because this is something that had been—just not been brought up to conversation and talked about. People hide from having these conversations. When the term Black Lives Matter, when I first heard about it, and the group…yeah, they’re trying to let people know because blacks have been in slavery, even when they…even when slavery was over, after the Civil War. It still took another hundred years. We were still–Jim Crow laws. Another segregation took over. And they were able to discriminate. And it has continued, you know, you gotta remember the Voting Act didn’t really come into promise until, what, like, 1964.  

‘64, yeah.

And it was the mid-60s that that came about. But then, you know, so what–I remember it just meaning to me that, hey, look at us. We’re human beings. There’s humanity here and we in general – blacks in general – have not been treated like human beings. Because there’s been many lynchings. There’s been massacres, man. There’s been communities, towns, that have been totally—where they ran blacks out, burnt the whole town, you know, and it has always been kinda like shoved under the carpet, you know? So no one, you know, after it happened, no one really came out and talked about it and really–


–you know, identified what’s really the problem and the real problem is that America is a racist country. It was born—it came out of, you know, white people coming here, and first the Indians, you know. They got rid of all the Indians, took over the land. Even the Mexicans that were here in the territory. They shoved them outta here and they took over. And so…I….Leonard…when white people say “Hey, White Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. Baseball matters,” whatever, you know. They’re not willing to talk about what really is the issue. And that issue is that blacks have been treated as a second-class citizen throughout the history of this country. Of our government. And that’s what we need to address. And hopefully what’s happening now and, to be honest with you, ‘cause I think what’s helping this–bringing it to the forefront–is this pandemic. Because–


–people have been sitting around for MONTHS with nothing to do, and then all of a sudden, they actually saw a lynching. When that police officer put his knee on the neck of George Floyd, he did it – what was the surprising thing for me – was how casual–

With his hand in his pocket.

— yeah, with his hand in his pocket, like, you know, he’s out for, he’s out for, you know, he’s sitting out on the porch, drinking his, uh, you know, his sweet lemonade or something, man, you know? It was SO casual! 


And he, for eight minutes forty-six seconds, he just–no–his expression didn’t change–


–his demeanor didn’t change. Guy didn’t say a word, but he knew what he was doing.And I think that struck a chord. Because there’s been other videotapes of people–of—

Of a KKK ceremony where the guy actually hung someone right there in their suits standing around, you know what I mean? It was just like–and you were–it was live for us all.

–Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. It was. It–

So, let’s shift there for a quick second, because here’s what I think. I think that there is a percentage of the police department, there’s a percentage of the country – take all the caucasians in the country – that are racist, ‘kay? Let’s not put a number on it. There’s a percentage. My guess it would be a percentage of police officers that go right around that number of a little bit–higher, probably, because of the type of person police tend to attract, right?


I’m gonna move up, be a cowboy, and that sort of thing. Um, so with that being said, the answer lies in all of society, not just the police department. Right? There’s a lot more out there to tackle.


They’re just a representative of it.


But……but we saw that on camera. Go back for the last hundred years with policemen and constables and what hap–what was–what happened that WASN’T on camera?! Or would never be on camera?! Or in the deep South, or in, you know, whatever. All those things. So, like, this has been going on for a long time.


Yeah. Yeah—well, the racist–the racists and the injustices in society itself has been–the police has been—they’ve been used to implement it. They’ve been used to enforce it. Um, one of the biggest problems with the police is not just the percentage that are racist. It’s the fact that –the blue law, the blue, the cover that they cover up for each other, that they–um–what is really gonna take to help on the police side is that, you know, they want the–they want the gang members to tell on each other, they want the foreigners to tell on each other that may blow up something. But the COPS won’t tell on each other. PERIOD. So until that changes, nothing will change, but like the cops–they are a fraction of what this current movement is all about. And–if people want to be racist in their homes, that’s fine. As long as the policies are not racist. As long as the cops are not racist and the judges are not racist and the teachers and et cetera. But all these people in these positions are human beings and human beings have the-the-you know- the racism is there, so this is-this is- like Kenny was saying, this has been going on for so long, it’s crazy. One of the things I forgot to mention about being in Arkansas is that I do remember not being particularly happy about when you do–you could not go inside of a restaurant. There was a place, a hamburger place, we used to go to, it’s called Pete House. We had to go to the walk up window. We could not go inside the restaurant, and we obviously could not go into the movie theatre and things like that. And another big thing that was a problem was going back and forth because we survived Arkansas every year after. They did it, and once I was an adult, we all did it. We could not–you couldn’t stop at a hotel, you know, we couldn’t stop and sleep at a hotel. Um, so it’s…..it’s even just the minor things like, somebody white like you wouldn’t –you just–how–you probably can’t wrap your brain about it, you know, around it. You know, being–being the white person that you actually are, which is really weird ‘cause I always tell you that some reason I never saw you as being white, which is kind of weird. It would be nice, uh, if every White person I know would feel that way about, but uhhh one last thing here and then I’ll let you move on. I was playing golf yesterday with these two Republican guys actually. And we had some interesting conversations, and the thing came up about the flag. One of them is really more of a redneck than the other one, and he was asking me what I thought about the flag, and I said “Well, you show me a Confederate flag, and I’ll show you a racist!” And he said “Well, what percentage you think…” and I said “Probably 98%.” And, you know, we talked about it and he said “think you can give me maybe 97?” because he probably had a flag. But it was a very interesting conversation. But we’ll talk about–

Was he–was he from the South?

Ummmm, no. No. He was from Southern California here.

In serious–serious–I don’t see any reason, you know, I don’t see how he could not call himself a racist because, to me, from New Jersey and New York, that Confederate flag represents slavery, the fight for slavery, to keep slavery, give their lives for slavery.

Oh well, yeah.   

Right. That was what it was about.

I mean, somebody said this to me. They said “Well, slavery and racism aren’t…necessarily…the same.  


Yeah, someone said that to me. And I said “Wait, WHAT?!”– 


–wait…listen, listen. And I don’t want to say all due respect because it’s hard to respect anybody who can say that, but this is what you get from people who don’t have experiences personally with people of color. They come from predominantly white areas. If I had stayed in my town in New Jersey, you know, where I grew up, there was only, um, you know, one–one black guy. That was it! He played football, he was a split end, faster than anybody else, and they called him *indistinct* and that was my experience of a black person when I was–until I left high school and went in the service. So there is a lot of people in this country that grew up in predominantly white areas and they don’t have experience with black people and they might have gone to a certain university or whatever it was, but, you know, for someone to say something like that, I mean, explain that to someone. What–how is–how is slavery and racism not the same?!      

Right. Well, that’s the thing. This–it’s systemic racism. It’s been institutionalized. It’s structured. It’s been built in–in our laws. Politically. Those—it’s just been existing for all these hundreds of years. And…even…even….the woman that was in New York, that had the dog in Central Park–


–she’s a liberal–


–and she played her race card–


–but on the police, “there’s an African-American man here and he’s THREATENING ME! He’s threatening me!” And–you know–and–see–they–you know, we were talking about, you know, white privilege. It exists, but the thing about it –I think that–we’re now….this whole thing…George Floyd thing, it opened up people’s eyes and given us a platform that’s now where we’re talking about it. And really getting into a discussion of what racism really is and what does it mean to you. And the experiences people–people are starting to listen. And to black people and their experiences of racism. Like, wow, we’ve seen it, but now we’re taking it–having some empathy for it, in the now…I think now what’s also fuming this is the younger generation–


–because they–they’re not living through it, you know. Here they are 20-something, and they’ve seen a man killed right in the middle of the street. In front of their eyes. And they’ve heard about it. Might’ve seen it, on video or whatever before, but this–it happened. And they realized, hey, we can’t live like this–


–You know?


What it was, Kenny, it was–it was literally, like, a message that was un-de-niable!

Oh god. Yes.

You got it.

I mean, it’s nobody can deny that wasn’t murder and that wasn’t….racist, right? I mean that…period. And we all got woken up a little bit. But, uh, so as you were talking, here’s another question for you. Because these are the–these are the comments that I hear. “Well….look at how many people in jail are black!”  “Look at how many crimes are committed by black people!” “Look at how many–” guy said the other day — “tell me about Chicago! All these people in Chicago that *indistinct*!–


–so I don’t get it! What do I tell that guy? What does that guy need to hear?–

Well, because–

–to me, you know, as both of you know, one of my friends produced a documentary about the Rodney King riots called The Fire This Time. You probably saw it back then, Kenny. And it was…it was the same thing boiling up again for over 25 years!  You keep–you keep African-Americans and people of color in a certain place and eventually it explodes ‘cause they gotta get out and they get out and then they calm down and then it happens again 25 years later. THIS IS DIFFERENT now. This is–this is–what we saw is different now. It’s got legs.There a lot of people involved, but–so how–so how do we change somebody–their thinking, ‘cause one – they DON’T know what it’s like to live in an oppressed area. They have no clue–to live in a place where the unemployment may be 60%, to have no markets, to have no infrastructure that the rest of us get. But there’s people that want to say, “wait, there’s a lotta-a lot of problems with the black community and crime!”

Right. Well, you’re right. You know, there are those who will say, hey, you know, ‘cause blacks will make 13…we’re 13% of the population here–here, in the United States–


–13%, but we’re almost, in certain areas, 30-40-50% of the ones that are incarcerated. And a lot of this has to do with–the systemic racism in the judicial area, man. Usually if *indistinct* a white man and a black man get arrested for the same crime, there’s more chance–more likelihood–the black man is gonna get sentenced and–if the white man gets a sentence, too, the black man is gonna get a longer sentence than the white—criminal. And it’s just because of how the system has just been going–just perpetuating–over time–


 –just perpetuating–


–And the pol–and judges–the DA, you know? And this, like I said, now…I think the dialogue is coming out that hey! Yes, we all—there’s– crime in all of our communities–


–now, but we–we have to now address why it’s proportionately worse in the black communities than in whites and why are they getting more sentencing and why they are getting busted for, you know, police are targeting them more, you know. It’s a dialogue that needs to happen and we need to start making changes in–’cause power is–power is people. And we need to get the right people in these power positions, making the laws that–that’s following off the letter of the law–

Yeah, it’s–

–and that’s, you know, that’s how, that–that’s what I tell people that they say – oh yeah, ‘cause I’ve heard the same thing, Dan. You know. Chicago. You know…just last week, or–just a few days ago. You know, there was a hundred and three murders. You know–



If they’re asking you that question, some of them are cutting you up good. If they ask that question about Chicago, it means they just don’t want to hear what’s actually going on, so I know what they’re saying – all these black people are getting killed! Why is there a problem with just these few getting killed by cops. That’s what they’re asking. Right, Dan?

Pretty much. Yeah. Well–


— you see the numbers from Chicago–I don’t know if I sent you the police captain–commander in Minnesota, and they were giving this guy a hard time for getting on his cell phone during a conference.


Did I send you that piece? Did you see that piece? 

I don’t think so, no. 

Well–he came back and it was INCREDIBLY powerful from his perspective. And why he was on his phone was because–a little African-American girl, five years old, was just shot–


–in the community by drive-bys, gang bangs, that kind of thing–


–that reason, but she had been shot and she was no longer alive, and he was dealing with his officers on that and he was gonna have to go to that scene, that’s why he was on his phone. So really pissed him off and he was like – you know what – he goes, um – you-you know, we have too many African-Americans dying in our community. I am out there, my team is out there every day. Do we have cops? Yes. I’ll send you this video. It’s incredibly powerful. Because that’s the argument on the other side! Is that–which is simple because it’s a geometry equation–is O, an oppressive society, for B, been that many years, C – continuing to keep them down, and E – they’ll just perpetuate this continuous cycle of where they’re at because no one is letting anybody out!   



But you can’t explain it to them. You can’t legislate—hatred. What you have to do is vote them out. Like I said, people can be racist as long as they’re not a mayor, a cop, a judge, except for that, or in power of other people. The bottom line is that you’re gonna have to vote them out. Out from under it, and I even asked you, how do you deal with the people that, you know, white friends that you have that are Republicans that are saying these things. And what do they say to you that they wouldn’t dare say around us? Me and Kenny.

Well, this is why–this is why we’re here though. Because, you know, people don’t–people don’t hear this. They hear the leaders on TV and what they say and we’re gonna do this and we’re gonna do this, and we already know that these leaders promise everything under the sun and very little gets accomplished. 


And that’s why we’ve come back to this place over and over again! We didn’t really make any headway. We’re just more advanced at it–


you know?–


–we’re advanced, so the solution might not necessarily be from the top. The solution is coming from–


–down below, and there’s an awful lot of others supporting the movement right now. There’s an awful lot of Caucasians at these protests that are standing right there, thank god, and–and–’cause they get it! They’re younger and they get it! They haven’t spent 50 years believing a certain way about people of color. They’re younger and more apt to change and more apt to be open–they saw that George Floyd thing and they knew it’s “WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA! This has gotta stop!”         

Yeah, and it was a perfect scenario of everybody–everyone–in the past on a lot of these cop shootings, it was a lot of BAM BAM, should he have shot? Maybe he shouldn’t have feared his life. But when everyone is sitting home, ‘cause they can’t go out, and they see this guy’s knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, then it’s not a lack of judgment call. Oh, like maybe I would have shot him because, you know, lived through a lot of situations and heard about all of them, and when I was on the police department, etc. But this was–there was just NO QUESTION on this one. This was just slow….methodical….murder. Not “I thought he was gonna shoot me.” Or “I didn’t know that wasn’t a gun in his hand. I didn’t…” This was “okay, I’m gonna casually sit here with my knee on your neck and I’m going to freakin’ kill you as you’re asking for your MOTHER.” And it just really touched people a lot different this time. It’s not–you know–the people that are asking “well, what about all the murders in Chicago?” It’s not–it’s not gonna affect them one way or the other. Because they know how the situation got to where it was. They know that raw cocaine brought you ten years whereas powder cocaine a year. They know that, your son, Dan, if he were to get stopped by the cops with marijuana on him, that they would call you, whereas my kid would get stopped, his ass would be in jail. I mean, you know, it’s just that simple. But you can’t change–if someone’s a racist, they gonna stay a racist. Just make sure they’re not in a position of POWER in ANY way, and now we have the president–obviously the biggest racist is out there, and look where he is. But hopefully that will be handled in three or four months.    

Think the president’s a racist?

Do I THINK he is?!  Was that your question?


Do bears shit in the woods? 



Okay. So here’s my next question, and this actually came up today with–somebody–is that–if you, right now in society, you both have OBVIOUSLY been in situations where you could feel that there was maybe–an individual had racist undertones–maybe some sort of a group or something like that–SO actions by people create their truth.Right?




With my actions I create a new truth. Whatever direction I want to go in. So…there are people that don’t recognize that they’re racist – “I’m not racist! I don’t–no way! Not me! No, no, I love everybody! I’m great!” But really, what is-what is the court definition? In other words, what’s the difference between a racist when he looks at a black person, and a non-racist when they look at a black person?

Go ahead, Kenny.

Well, you know, I think that what difference shapes the racism in a person, and you were just saying it, Dan–it’s your actions. You know–how you treat someone, you know, you can say “heyyy, this person—–I have friends that are black!” You know, but then they go out and—-they are in the car by themselves and someone pulls out in front of them and is like “oh, that black motherfucker!” And so, you know, ‘bout come out with the N word there. You know, and-and-and I think that–the actions that you have IN YOU–shows you, you know, if you’re a racist or not. You know, it was just like *laughs* Kimble. You know, they got on Jimmy Kimble, about, I’m not sure when he did this. A few years back. He did a spot in the mid-90s when Snoop Dogg came out and, uh, and so, Jimmy Kimble did a–one of his rap songs and of course he has the N word in it and Jimmy Kimble, you know, actually–

Who did that?

–Jimmy Kimble. Kimmel! Kimmel!–

The N Word.

–Yeah, yeah, the N word, and he was using the Black comedian George Wallace’s type of, uh, you know, his voice. He was kinda singing like he was George Wallace. You know, this Black comedian. And he was singing Snoop Dogg’s song, you know, and–but–like I said, this guy–he’s saying that he’s not–not–a racist, of course. You know, ‘cause he’s got black friends. You know, he’s in Hollywood and everything. He works with Black–but that ACTION right there touching on racism, you know. If you’re not racist, you’d be sen–you’d–you’d be sensitive to that. And you wouldn’t ‘cause you know–you know–that is not–you don’t cross that line! You know, and that’s outta respect. And that’s where, you know, you’re–being a racist or not being a racist. That you respect other people. And you will not cross that line, you know? 

I have a thought, Kenny! I have a thought right now! My thought is this, is that–in that *clears throat* in working towards all of us being unracist, it’s–it’s like, you know, we start with our thoughts. Our next step is our actions. If we keep our thoughts and actions distinguishing between people because of their race–that’s like a giant step moving forward, isn’t it? 


Absolutely. Yes, yes ‘cause–

I’m gonna work on me and my thoughts, and if I have a thought that comes out that immediately would fall into the racist category, I can change that thought. I can say “no, hold it.” Everybody here, we’re–we’re actually all one race! We’re the human race!–


–even farther, with people that don’t–you know, whatever. We’re the human race! And you know, Hitler was a guy who considered the human race the Aryan, the white race. No! We’re a human RACE, so we’re really all the same race, but it’s the thought–if I was teaching a child, I would say “listen, think. Everybody’s the same. Just because they’re different colors or from different places…we’re all the same.” And then your actions should be the same action you would take to someone regardless of whatever race they are. Right–



–Absolutely. You know, you’re right, you’re right, ‘cause you can have that thought, of, you know–from anger or…WHATEVER, you know? That raises that thought. But you know not to say that. You know, yeah, yeah, that’s not right. You know? So now you put that thought of not attacking someone or not treating someone that—-you know—in–with humility, you know? And now you use that action to reinforce that thought, as opposed to, you know, going—you know—just going up on some place to another. You know?  


If you just–if you just–I’m sorry. If you feel like your skin color makes you feel superior to someone, that’s a clear clear sign of racism. And as far as, you know, where we are now and moving forward, it’s not always about how something is met. You have to run it through your computer. How is it going to be RECEIVED? As, you know, of the state of the actions. But it’s insecurity. It’s–everyone needs to feel like they’re better than someone else. And with the way things have played out in the, you know, with slavery and et cetera, and the third of a person and et cetera, you know, it’s already built in that you are superior! I mean, there was some comedian, what was it, Chris Rock was saying that some toothless broke white guy can still say “yeah, but I’m white,” and they would still want to trade with him, and that’s when–that kinda just let’s you know that–where this thing is right now. You know, it’s been such a long road of fear and cops arresting–well we know what it is more people–there’s so much to cover and I know we only have a certain length of time. But, um, when–

Finish that thought–


–we have a little time. Tell me why–answer your own question right there, or your own statement. Why is there more black people in jail than anybody else?

OH! Because cops–I remember cops in Oakland and Richmond, what they call “good police work,” was seeing a black person and stopping them so they can either find some weed on them or a gun in their car or hoping they had a–a–warrant–do you read the piece I sent you about the cop that was, uh, the bad cop? That wrote about everything you said they do? Did I sent–

Yes you did–



–where they would write bad tickets, for the people they knew couldn’t pay them, so that the next time that they see them there’s a warrant on them? I mean, it’s just that’s–that’s–the whole thing. They call that “good police work” if you stop every Black person you can find on the street. And hope that he has a gun in his car, or weed in his car, or warrant–


–they call that “good police work.”

–you were a police officer. Did that happen as you were a police officer?

Did not–no, not in Berkeley. I mean, we had one guy that I remember used to go by the night clubs and bounce people’s cars. See if a gun would come from under the seat by the black night club. We just kinda laughed at him because he was kind of a nutty idiot. But, um, Berkeley was totally different. I don’t know if we talked about this before, but Berkeley wouldn’t higher you unless you had at least a BA degree. And that makes a big difference in who you hire. The problem with the police department is the hiring process. It’s not the training. You don’t have to train someone not to put your hand in your pocket and put your knee on the neck until they’re dead. That’s not a training issue. That’s a human issue. That’s an issue of who you are hiring. But Berkeley was totally different. I mean, there was noooo–Oakland was dar–Oakland was giving examples of what they call “good police work.” Uh, but no, Berkeley was totally different. Totally different. Totally totally totally, and the only thing I can, you know, attribute that to is the fact that, you know, you’re not a lot smarter because you went to college, but because you’ve been through things. You’ve been around other people. You’ve seen–you’ve had something that you had to stick with, you know, to make it work-type thing, rather than just—my father was a cop so I want to be a cop. My dad was a cop. But yeah, no, Berkeley was totally different. I wish I could give you some examples of something stupid that happened in Berkeley but, uh, I can’t think of one single thing other than the one guy who used to go by the black night clubs. Told me he used to bounce people’s cars to see if a gun would roll from under the seat. 


Okay, so, so, we’re gonna do two things next. One is—–what’s your solution? The big picture and the small picture to our issues of racism in America today.  


I’ll go. I think that what’s–what’s–gonna come out of this–this time–this conversations that are going on now is that…what we need to do is vote. Like I said, power is in people, and now we really—I think–what’s coming out that we need to not just look at it at the national level. We need to fight it at the local level. We need to now affect the offices. Like Leonard was saying, we need to get these people outta here that’s in power. And that’s at the DAs, the judges, the mayors. We–the representatives. The ones that are making the laws and policies that we live by, you know, just like—-when 2010–when actually the Democrats were—when Obama got in there and became president, but then in ‘10, people didn’t go out and vote and ended up losing the House of Representatives. The Democratic House, when majority, when, when Obama came in, but in ‘10, things changed and that stalled a lot of his movement, his making policy changes and I think now—I think we know that we need to make those–get the right leaders in position to make the right progressive choices that need to–for our support, our kids, their kids, and, you know, for us too. That’s what I see as the big change, ‘cause we do need police reform. But we need political reform too, you know. We need to set–get the right people when they’re gonna make the right progressive choices, and not have the old establishment that’s been running, you know, yeah, yeah, we have these life–lifetime politicians that’s been in–especially been in-in-the Southern states that have been in there for 30 years! Man, you know, they got a 4-year term  and they been reelected 6, 7 times! Or more! In some cases– 


–you know, so, so that’s where I think, uh, is where the power’s at. Is getting the right people into office. And that’s going–and so–in the local level and that will reach up to the national level. So that we make changes that’s gonna last for years, instead of that one time, ya know. We gotta make voting–


–to me–

–Leonard, what you were saying before–right, I mean,  



–yes, absolutely–

–I think that we have to be really motivated in this election if we’re gonna make some changes to this, we have to change the leadership at the top–



Oh, absolutely. Oh, we definitely gotta do that, but then, you know, all the states, you know, sovereign, we need to put in the right people at the local level. So that when we, like, like you said, get the right president in there that’s gonna make a difference. That’s gonna unite us. Because that’s what we need–


–right now we have a president that is dividing the country and not uniting the country and we need to unite–

–becoming a partisan thing with the protest and everything like that. It’s a very partisan thing right now.    


So, here’s–Leonard, this is a question I have for you. You are–imagine you are walking on stage and you are talking to a thousand Caucasians that are sitting in the theatre, and you’ve been an actor so you’re probably pretty good at this. So these thousand Caucasians are–some are struggling with racism, some have had in their past, some don’t understand it. What do you say to them  when you step up to the microphone and have a conservation–how they should, what they should do moving forward to become….better. Better people, better human beings, better understand, you know, what do they do? You’re speaking to them now. 

Interesting question. Before I answer that, there’s one thing that–first of all, do you guys know nothing is going to change that drastically because the people on the street right now, right?–


–what I’m hoping–part of this, part of what happens with this is that, in the long-term, you’ve got to start with—-with the young kids. I’m hoping that part of what comes out of this is that a lot of people will do what Lebron James did. There’s so many rich people out there that could do exactly what he did and even on a larger level. Is…start educating kids and feeding them as kids, as elementary kids. That’s where the huge change is gonna come. As far as talking to a room full of white people that…I don’t know if these are good intentioned white people or white people are that are just–

NO! Let’s say good intentioned white people! Some have come from interesting backgrounds–hey–there are good people who have changed even if they came from an extremely racist background, that’s good on–they’re—they’re there. Of course they’re there. They’re looking for an understanding from you, and you get a chance to talk to them directly about how to move forward. What would you say?

Ummm……I’d wanna know if there’s anyone in the audience that felt that anyone was inferior to them. Whether they–whether they–actually understand why Black people in Chicago and Detroit—do they even know why THEY’RE THERE! Why their parents actually went there! The reason most gays are in San Francisco, LA, or New York is for the same reason why Black people are in Detroit and Chicago and Kansas City. It’s because they could not stay in Alabama  or Arkansas because they were afraid to be killed! So, so, I know that’s off the issue. I’d have to really put some thought into it. What I would say to this room full of people other than just, umm, what makes you think white people superior to any other nationality or if they think so, or maybe I’d just stand up and say BLACK LIVES MATTER! And ask if anyone has any–anyone want to stand up and say All Lives Matter. Because then I would know where to get started–

It’s like what they did the other day!–   

–that’s where I’d get started–

–the vice president the other day, they asked him five times to say “Black Lives Matter.” He couldn’t say it. 

Yes, but–


–he would have said it if he had not been working for Trump. He probably would have SAID it. But, you know, Trump has these, these guys are so afraid of Trump that, uh, you know, they might not actually being themselves. History has gone–really not be good to McConnell on down. But he couldn’t–he couldn’t–obviously say it. He couldn’t say that. Do you ever say anything like this to the guys that you golf with? You ever actually ask them why they feel the way they do about certain things or–


–how they feel.

–absolutely, we have some pretty good conversations about it–


–you know, I’ve–I’ve talked about, you know, my relationship with you guys and I’ve said “If you hadn’t had a relationship like that, you had a friend, you probably aren’t gonna understand. You’re gonna be watching TV and getting the perspective out THERE.” But I know–here’s another thing too! What is it? The third commandment or something? No, I’m sorry, third commandment. *laughs* But it’s in the commandments too! But in the Constitution, “All Men Are Created Equal.”  


But then the guys writing that are also saying that we are one-third of a person, so…–


–you know. 

 That’s true!

This thing is worse than any Bible in that we’re all the same!


Education and voting is what’s gonna change things. We’re not—you can’t change–you can’t really change a racist from being a racist. You just have to make sure that he’s not in the position where he can affect anything. There’s literally something different between the Republicans and the Democrats, and that’s brain. I firmly fir–I read it, about the study–but I firmly believe that. Because the people with racist parents, once they get out, you know, to college–this is why a lot of–if you watch Fox at all, or listen to these right-wing talk shows, which I do, they don’t want their kids going to college! Even though they went to college. They think you go there and they get liberalized, and et cetera, et cetera. So that’s how they–so that’s how they see this. So what goes in is what comes out, but if they grow up and go to college and all of a sudden they don’t have the same, you know, the racist thoughts and the privilege that the parents try to teach them. So it’s gonna be education and voting. Period. Period.

That was great. KENNY! You walk into a room of a thousand people. You get a chance to stand up at the microphone. You got a minute to tell them what–how–how to move forward from what perspective. What do you do, what do you say?

I think that I would appeal to–

No, stay, say it. You’re up to the microphone RIGHT NOW. Look at these thousand people and tell them what you think.

—–I’m looking out here, and I see all these faces, and it’s all white people, right?–



–all you white faces out here. What I want you to think about is that–instead of black—there’s aa black race, there’s a white race, there’s a brown race, there’s all these different races. But in reality, there’s only one race, and that is the human race. Because we all will bleed the same–same type of blood. It’s red. So we all are one in that one race. And think about that. You know? That’s it. That’s it, man. Let’s live and build our humanity. That’s what it is. It’s who that person—you know—it’s the–it’s the character of that person that makes that person a good person or not. You know?

Yeah. Someone said today…there’s–they’re either good or they’re bad people.  

Yes. That’s it. That’s it. That’s all.


Is that true?

That’s so true–


–That’s so true.

There’s no, um, grey area. You’re either good or you’re bad. 


Is Racism good? Well, if you’re a good person, you would say no. And if you’re a bad person, you’d say who gives a…crap.   


Well, one nice thing, Danny, is—it’s kinda like human nature. If you–if you own everything, and if you have a big dog, you don’t want to give up any of your power. That’s part of it.  You know. If you own everything, and you own—that’s why they didn’t want to give up the slaves! I mean, who wants to give up free labor! And once you, you know, once you have the big end of the stick, you don’t want to share it. So a lot of it is just plain selfishness.  And it’s easy to, you know, group all Black people, all Mexicans, or all Russians in one, in one group, ‘cause you can paint them very easily with the same brush. So part of it is convenience on white people’s part! Ypu know, hey, I got it! I ain’t giving up nothing! Period. That’s the selfish in them.  

Yeah. It’s–it’s pretty crazy. It’s, uh–


–well, you know, I’m–I truly appreciate your time. I think that, uh, I think this has been absolutely perfect, and—I really appreciate your honestly, and I hope that as my brand grows, I’m gonna continue to try and help educate people through this process of being able to talk this over. And, um, I hope a lot of people do that, but, you know, from my heart – thanks to you guys for being here and having this conversation ‘cause I’m certainly learning more and, you know, I want to learn more to educate, um, the people that I KNOW. Which a lot of people are good people, uh, where there you go – the good and bad thing again. Um, but you know, the way I try and look at it for myself is always – I’m always – leading, as I was taught, to treat people always the way I want to be treated myself. So when I see a guy sitting on the street and he’s got a cup out and he’s an African-American and he says Veteran or whatever he is, I, you know…how do I just–how do I want to be treated? And even if I didn’t have money in my pocket, or change or whatever, at least I can say “Afternoon, sir. How ya doing?”  That’s what people would do to–that’s what they–want to happen to them. Not to say that I’m perfect or have to work, ‘cause U constantly have work and this is, this is part of it, but, uh, it’s—we gotta get on this and start this now if we wanna be here in 20 years.     

Yep. You wonder what world we would have now if everyone did that one simple little thing?  Just treat people the way they want to be treated. Because we know what fair is. We KNOW, we all know what fair is–


–we just don’t wanna do it–


–it is so simple to just do the right thing. Just BE FAIR. Not all totally fair, not less than fair. Just reat people the way YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.  

And that’s it.

And all heals.  Everything. That would heal EVERYTHING.  

Right. Yeah. But the thing–Dan, I really appreciate you connecting with us, and–and having a conversation. Listening. The thing now we have to do is CONTINUE the conversation–


–don’t let it stop. You know, this has to be part of our lives now, you know, to keep communicating, keep talking. ‘Cause that’s how we’re gonna build it. You know, what Leonard was saying, it’s not gonna happen overnight. No. This is a–this country was actually born on a–in a–racism. And so to make it better, we just have to keep talking about it,  and improving, and I love the analogy, “Hey, treat people the way you want to be treated”–

So simple.

–and all will be happy. It’s a wonderful world.

And it’s good thoughts too. It’s like “how do you want people to think of you?” Do you want people to judge you ahead of time before getting to know you because of your color or do you want them to do what–how you treat someone else, you know. You want to be treated with respect so you get a chance to know someone before they made a decision of who you were–


–and that’s the same thing with someone else.

Yes. Yes. Gotta come in with an open mind, man. You gotta come in here–


–don’t come in with a preconceived, or, you know, stereotyping, or, you know, people that’s…you’re putting yourself behind people already. You’re already, you’re already discriminating.

It’s starting in my head. It starts in the thought. It’s starting–you make the decision of what you want to think.



And if you think, “hey, we’re all part of the human race”–I mean, god, we’re taking the place of God siding if anybody is greater than anyone else. We’re immediately, it’s blasphemy! All the Christians should be like I’M WRONG! That’s judgment right there. And judgment—that’s God’s decision if we believe in God or whatever, but it’s not ours to judge right or wrong. We don’t know, so…A LOT OF THINGS TO THINK ABOUT! We may-we may do something else again, so thanks for your time and thanks for being here, so, um, we’ll talk more about it.  

My pleasure.


Take care.      

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