Introducing the Reverend T.J. Graham

Summary: In this segment of the show long-time listener first-time caller, T.J. Graham, gives us his take on the immigration issue. The Rev. Graham is the host of another talk show on WVOL and he has very definite opinions on the issue of unauthorized immigration. Opinions that we do not share. We chose to post this hour of the show in its entirety to illustrate how difficult it is to discuss an issue like immigration, where passions run high and complicated issues like race and prejudice intersect with the need for smart public policy.

Listen to: Introducing the Reverend T.J. Graham (56:09 51.4MB)

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11 Responses to “Introducing the Reverend T.J. Graham”



  2. John Calhoun says:

    The Rev. T.J. Graham, unfortunately, is representative of the tension between African Americans and Mexican/Latino Americans. T.J. personifies regression. From his perspective, it’s not even possible for him to be bigoted and racist – he has literally claimed that African Americans cannot be racist because they’ve always been the victims of racism. So in his mind, the hateful views towards Latino Americans he espouses are totally justified. He takes the most extreme, outrageous example of an illegal immigrant committing an atrocious crime, and formulates an argument that ultimately boils down to the fostering and promoting of discriminatory views of Latino Americans.

    He has flat-out said before on his show that he doesn’t see anything wrong with looking at a Latino American and assuming that he or she is in this country illegally. This is tantamount to a white person looking at a young African American male, and assuming that he is a gang member and is involved in gang activity.

    Unfortunately, Rev. Graham’s views are prevalent in the African American community, judging by my own personal experiences and judging from the African American callers on his show who generally agree with him on issues of race, particularly the negative stereotypes of latinos. At some point, people are going to have to open their eyes and recognize that TRUE equality does not mean that each group should self-segregate themselves and look out for its own interests, freely discriminating against other races and assuming the worst in people who are of another skin color – e.g. assuming a latino is an illegal immigrant, or assuming a caucasian is a racist, etc.

    The new Attorney General in Obama’s administration spoke the other day about people needing to have courage and say things that need to be said regarding race relations. Implicit in his words was the notion that white Americans were the ones who needed to muster up some courage. I would acknowlege that, but I would also add that ALL Americans of ALL colors and ALL races and ALL ethnicities need to step up and have the courage to speak out against people within their own communities who say negative things about people of another color, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. I encounter this opportunity quite often, coming from the rural Southern United States where racism is still more prevalent than I would like to believe. But if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. If it was easy for me to tell a person I grew up with that I think his views about black people are ignorant and hateful and that I wouldn’t stand for them – then it wouldn’t be called “COURAGE”. Likewise, I suspect it’s not easy for African Americans to step up and acknowledge the shortcomings on matters of race that many seem to be in denial about. I think Rev. Graham’s comments serve as pretty solid evidence that many people in the African American communities should start turning the mirror upon themselves. This is NOT to say that whites and latinos are any better overall. Obviously, reality proves otherwise. But my point is that many white people in my opinion are honestly on board with the idea of improving race relations, but I’ve heard it said FAR too many times that they think there is a huge double standard in terms of what is expected out of African Americans in terms of how they should view people of other races. Again, this isn’t to suggest in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER that whites have any less work to do in terms of race relations. But I do think it’s high time that people stop painting a worse picture than what actually exists. And I think it’s time for everyone to truly start working towards the goal equality, and I think this will ultimately mean that people must learn to not be so naturally inclined to favor the people, music, art, food, culture, athletes, etc. who happen to be the same race as oneself or who happens be a part of the same culture that one was raised in. Because if we don’t work to try to curb this instinctive self-segregation (which is evident in ALL societies and isn’t unique to anyone) then we’ll ultimately only be working on getting away from outright “racism” but moving directly towards a sort of ethnocentrism which some people already seem to be trying to actually JUSTIFY. Here’s hoping that people like Rev. Graham aren’t the way of the future.

  3. E. W. says:

    Thanks Mary! I appreciate you anwering my post! :o )

  4. Mary says:

    It’s never too late! If more people knew history as you do, perhaps there would be more understanding of the issue. Thanks for your comments.

  5. E. W. says:

    I know i am late on this subject,..but i am just now hearing of it. I have a cousin who lives in Nashville, who told me a little about the issue.

    As an African-American,..I know of the injustices of America in the past and now. As far as i am concerned the Mexican people that are coming to this land belong here just as much or MORE than the people already here. They are linked to the Native Americans over here which as we all know have been pushed off of their land. Mexicans are Natives of the Americas in my opinion.

    The thing is our government has to stop being so selfish and accomodate the people who come here to make a decent life for themselves. We can talk immigration all we want. While we’re talking,..the Meixcans citizens are crossing the borders,..and most of them will be here to stay.

    I can actually see in the next 15-20 years or so this issue won’t even be talked about anymore. By then the Mexican population here will be well settled into this society. I’m already seeing more and more bi-racial children born here who are of half Latino decent. Its already happening.

    In the big picture we should learn to accept this change that this land is going through. We are all just seeing this country evlove. Through learning history we know that any civilization never stays the same.’

  6. El Dano says:

    In his excellent and readable book “Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market”, Eric Schlosser looks back to the Bracero program and states “Once in the country, the braceros were all but powerless and were bound to a single employer.” Sounds like indentured servitude to me. He continues, “The Bracero program was terminated amid revelations that its guest workers were widely being abused. Historians now agree that the program established social networks and migratory patterns responsible for subsequent waves of illegal immigration.” (p. 100). No wonder business likes the guest worker program.

    He also cites the 1951 Presidents commission on Migratory Labor (p. 98-9), which argued that the only way to stop illegal immigration was to punish thise who employ them. What a fascinating concept…

    For all the talk of border security, I think that the root cause of this issue is the ability of employers to hire illegal workers at below market wages without fear of punishment. Until that happens, there is little incentive to dry up the money that lures foreigners across our borders.

  7. Mary says:

    You’re right. The guest worker program in the bill that’s before the Senate is unacceptable. That said, we do not support illegal immigration either. We support intelligent comprehensive immigration reform.

  8. david says:

    yeah I know my typing sucks

  9. david says:

    Actually Im a liberal and I do not support illegal immigration, nor should any liberal. Not only does it widen the gap between the rich and poor. I brings down the wages for all laberors. Furthermore, why do we want to support the likes of Bush and Trent Lott and their efforts to sell out to the business interest that put them in and bought them off. I just hoe we get some honest intelligence third and fourth party candidates very soon. Its time to stop drinking the machine’s Kool aid and think for a change

  10. Freddie says:

    Uh, go ahead and call it illegal, which it is. It just isn’t, by definition, criminal.

  11. [...] The folks over at Liberadio have an outstanding podcast up featuring the Reverend T. J. Graham calling in to speak on immigration. It was an unscheduled call and the background behind it is just as interesting as the call itself. [...]

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