Carson-Newman president explains reasoning behind controversial

Carson-Newman president explains reasoning behind controversial Facebook post

Posted:
"I certainly wasn't trying to make a racist statement," added Dr. O'Brien. "I certainly wasn't trying to make a racist statement," added Dr. O'Brien.
We sat down with President Dr. Randall O'Brien to find out more on why he posted "With liberty...justice...and equality for all. Hmm...really? If offered $20 million to become black would you?" We sat down with President Dr. Randall O'Brien to find out more on why he posted "With liberty...justice...and equality for all. Hmm...really? If offered $20 million to become black would you?"
Jefferson City, TN - By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) - A racially charged Facebook post is raising some eyebrows, especially since the post comes from Carson-Newman University's president. A number of viewers called our newsroom voicing their concerns.

We sat down with President Dr. Randall O'Brien to find out more on why he posted "With liberty...justice...and equality for all. Hmm...really? If offered $20 million to become black would you?"

It's that question he posed via Facebook Friday that's causing quite a stir.

"To drive home the point that still today justice is not blind and we do not live in a color blind society though there have been many gains," he said.

In fact, Dr. O'Brien told 6 News the reason he asked this question is because we're closing in on the 50 year anniversary of the Civil Rights movement.

"I certainly wasn't trying to make a racist statement," added Dr. O'Brien.

Some Carson-Newman students say the post could have been more tactful. "It's just not something I would have said if I was the president," said Paul Wodka.

While some believe it was an inappropriate, racially charged question, others disagree and say Dr. O'Brien meant no harm.

"I think people are definitely taking it the wrong way. He's just pointing out the social injustices that still go on in the world," said student Jalen Sanders.

"Because do they actually have justice, equality? You never know until you walk in their shoes," added student Joseph Brown.

And social media is where most turn to start a conversation.

"Apparently I'm not a good communicator because my intent, my heart's desire is to build a better world for us all," said Dr. O'Brien.

Dr. O'Brien also told 6 News he has a number of family members who are African-American and says he wants to learn more about the prejudice and injustices still in the world.
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