President Crutcher confronts complexities of racism on PBS NewsHour

March 1, 2021

University News

President Ronald A. Crutcher recently sat down with PBS special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault via Zoom. She spoke with him about confronting the complexities of racism for a segment on the PBS NewsHour.

In the episode, which aired on PBS stations across the nation, he talked about the importance of engaging students and helping them learn how to have “full-throated conversations in a way that focuses on listening to what the other person is saying, so that you can have a deeper understanding about why they hold that view.”

Hunter-Gault, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist who delivered UR’s main commencement speech in 2016, asked Crutcher if he was hopeful that the United States, in particular, could overcome this challenging time. While he remains hopeful, he said, “I don’t think we have dealt with this in our lifetime.” Addressing and overcoming racism, he said, has to be everybody’s job — and it’s an ongoing process.

Crutcher also spoke with the Richmond Times-Dispatch about his memoir, "I Had No Idea You Were Black: Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership". “Crutcher understands people are worried about the deep politicization of the country," the reporter wrote. "He believes his life is an example of how people can come together. The key is getting people of different backgrounds, races or political parties to sit down, talk and try to understand one another.”

Crutcher said in his book, “Intergroup dialog is the best pathway toward changing hearts and thus deepening a collective understanding of the impact of racism on daily life in America.”