Change My Face: James

"In my home, I am the Bill Gates of Microsoft. In my home, I am the George Bush of the United States. I am the head coach of my home," declares James. "I want my wife to surrender to this concept."

Roseanna expresses her displeasure. "James does not treat me as an equal partner. I am not allowed to have my own money," she says. "James does label women as ‘ghetto chicks,' especially my family and anybody else who doesn't have a college degree."


James elaborates. "My wife recently opened a bank account, and I am very offended. My wife has a 'ghetto girl' ability of managing money," he says.


"I believe he is a racist," Roseanna says.


James shares some of his views about other races. "I believe Asians are academically superior. I believe that African-Americans are superior athletes," he says. 


"James is absolutely controlling. He monitors my phone calls, and he gets copies of every text that I send out," Roseanna says. Now she fears their son, Michael, is following in his father's footsteps. "James is raising Michael to objectify women."


"If my wife does not like my rules, I would encourage her to leave," James says. "Dr. Phil, how can I not have my wife challenge my authority in my home?"

"You're the authority in the home?" Dr. Phil asks James.


"I believe I am," he responds.


Dr. Phil turns to Roseanna. "You think he's a racist?" he asks.


"I do," she replies. "He thinks Asians are the supreme, smartest."


"And you're not an Asian," Dr. Phil notes.


"I'm half Mexican, half Irish," Roseanna replies. "I don't think he feels highly about the Caucasian race: 'They don't have any culture.' He's said multiple things, and each race he goes down the line: Blacks are just good for athletics and nothing else. Those really [cause] arguments in my home. I don't want my children to see that, and they look up to him."


Regarding his notes, Dr. Phil says, "You say he thinks that whites are the trash of the earth."


"Yep, he's said that on numerous occasions."


James defends himself. "I deny that I've said that," he tells Dr. Phil. "I believe that I have made statements. For instance, the statements would be that blacks are superior athletes. My next statement would be, it's not a fluke that they dominate the NBA and the NFL. Then I would say that I was aware of a study that Asians, academically, perform better than any other race in the country. I believe my wife extrapolates that to saying that therefore, I am saying something negative about the whites."

"How do you feel about Caucasians?" Dr. Phil presses. "She says that you say they're the trash of the earth."


"I grew up in Pennsylvania, in a completely Caucasian environment. I just dispute the basis of what my wife is saying," James replies.


Dr. Phil reads a list of offensive remarks attributed to James. "You think black men won't step up the plate," he says.


"I was quoting a Charles Barkley interview with Don Imus," James explains.


"Do you have any original thoughts, or do you just quote other people?" Dr. Phil asks.


He turns to Roseanna. "You've got a problem here, right? You're up against the wall. You're contemplating getting out of this relationship."


When Roseanna nods, Dr. Phil observes that James is of the same mind. "You say, 'If she doesn't agree with me, if she doesn't do what I want her to do, then I encourage her to get out.'"


"Yes," James says.

"'Equality is just a farce. Equality, period, is just a farce,'" Dr. Phil continues. He turns to James. "Is that your position?"


"Yes," James replies.


Dr. Phil addresses Roseanna. "He reminds you constantly that he is smarter and better educated," he notes. "How does he do that?"


"Whenever we have a discussion, he'll tell me, 'Unless you have facts to support what you're saying, don't say it at all.'"


"Unless you've read it somewhere and you can quote?" Dr. Phil quips. He turns to James. "She says you're intimidated by powerful women."


"I watch Oprah all the time, and he says that only because she has money can she say the things that she says, and people believe her. But outside of that, if she didn't have that money, she would be a nobody," Roseanna says.  


"She's black and a woman," Dr. Phil reminds James. Gesturing to an imaginary basketball hoop, he says, "She's a dear friend of mine, and she ain't got a hook shot for nothin'!"


"I am certain that Oprah would be offended to hear something like that said," James says. "If it's in the perspective of me being a racist, I feel I need to mention that my first wife of 17 years is black. She is 100 percent African-American. I have three children, one of whom is graduating from law school next year, who are half African-American. The claim that I'm a racist is pretty offensive to me as an individual who was married to a black woman."

"On occasions, he's used the N-word," Roseanna points out. "I have asked him not to use that. 'How can you say that when you have kids who are half-black?' He just thinks it's funny. He says, 'Well, they're not around. They don't hear it.' But in the backseat, my children from [our marriage] are hearing that."


"What is your concern about your son?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I feel that my son is mirroring everything that he does," she replies, giving Dr. Phil examples of James's modeling. "If he looks at women, 'Oh, that one's fat. Don't ever marry a fat one. That one's ugly.' He just objectifies women so much to the point that now my son is doing that."


"You've said that your son is a 'disciple' to your beliefs?" Dr. Phil asks James.


"I believe he is by his choice, not by my dominance," James replies. "I think he just has a natural affinity to hanging out with Dad."


"You really must think white people are stupid," Dr. Phil says sardonically. "What you model, and what you espouse, and what values you embrace, and what beliefs you share with him, you're writing on the slate of who he is."


"I have my imperfections, Dr. Phil," James says.


"Did you say you hope your son marries a more obedient woman than you did?" Dr. Phil asks.


"Yes," he replies. When the audience jeers, James defends himself. "Maybe a bad term. I guess I should have used it as acknowledging his leadership role, like in a company."

"You say you want her to surrender to your authority," Dr. Phil reminds James. He turns to Roseanne. "Are you going to do that?"


"No," she replies.


"Do you think you're condescending to her?"


"I believe that my wife perceives me to be condescending because when I hear something that I don't understand ... I ask, 'What's your source for saying that?'" James replies. "I'm trying to be a good partner, but what I get in response is, 'Listen, Mr. College Educated.' To me, it's the reverse."


"What, if anything, does that have to do with connecting with your wife in a way that when she finishes an interaction with you, she feels better about herself than before she interacted with you?" Dr. Phil asks. "You say, 'Surrender to my authority. I am the leader!' Then how come you've lead this off in the ditch?"


"I just feel like Roseanna is cherry-picking whether she wants me to lead or not," James answers.


Dr. Phil explains how "domains" work in a marriage. "In my relationship, the home is my wife's domain. She makes the decisions about so many of the things over the years about what we've done inside the home, and all that. My job is to support her in that domain. We negotiated that. Y'all don't have that give-and-take here, do you? It's all your domain, right?"


James falters. "It has been my domain," he says. "I think the lack of trust now is causing resistance for me to transfer the domain."

Dr. Phil explains that most men are logical thinkers, but when it comes to emotions, they aren't always as sensitive as women. "Her maternal instincts, in my view, are dead on," he tells James. Turning to Roseanna, he says, "If you allow him to model these values and beliefs for your son, he is setting your son up for conflict. He is setting your son up for all kinds of friction and rub with the world. I can tell you, there are a whole lot of non-Asian people out there who don't feel inferior."


James interjects, "I don't believe it's an Asian thing."


"I don't care if it's Asian. I don't care if it's a black/white, or educated/uneducated, male/female. I don't care where it comes from. It is ugly and wrong!" Dr. Phil says. 


He advises James to re-evaluate his leadership skills. "At some point, a leader needs to say, 'Let's come together and get a plan that we can both be excited about, that everybody can be excited about,'" he explains. "A real leader carves out a position where everybody has a sense of belonging, a sense of acceptance, a sense of contribution, a sense of value."