Benjamin Watson Tackles the Racial Divide With Real Conversations

Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson joined The Glenn Beck Program on Tuesday to talk about his ongoing efforts to heal racial divides and bring people together. In addition to his book Under Our Skin, Watson will be a featured speaker at Under Our Skin: A Forum on Race and Faith, taking place this weekend in Tampa.

"What we're hoping to foster is an honest conversation. We've had conversations before, but we want this one to be one where people can come in, truth can be proclaimed. People can let their guards down. Nobody is going to get offended by honest questions. But also, we want people to leave with tangible tools in their tool belt of ways that they can, in their own spheres of influence, attack this racial problem and also see where they stand," Watson said.

Learn more about the forum at underourskinforum.org, which also features esteemed broadcaster James Brown, Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy and former NFL Walter Payton Man-of-the-Year award winner Warren Dunn, among others.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: This weekend in Tampa Bay, there is something really cool happening. Tony Dungy is going to be there. Warrick Dunn, who I think was with the Bucks when we lived in Tampa. Tony was there.

STU: Yeah, it's weird. Yeah.

GLENN: And also Benjamin Watson is going to be there in a forum, getting real about race and getting free from the fears and frustrations that divide us.

Benjamin Watson is with us right now. Hey, Ben, how are you?

BENJAMIN: I'm doing well. How are you guys doing?

GLENN: Very good. Very good.

First of all, any thoughts on the Super Bowl?

BENJAMIN: Well, I tell you what, having played in New England for 6 years, it did not surprise me. I have a lot of Atlanta friends, including my in-laws who were crushed. I have never seen a comeback like that before. Especially didn't expect it in the Super Bowl. But, honestly, as I talked to the guys after the game, I was like, you know, if any team was going to come back, it would be New England. It was surprising.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Yeah. So, Ben, you've been on with us before. And you have one of the sane voices in America that is trying to bring people together and say, look, yeah, we have things that divide us, but let's have this conversation.

So tell me what you're trying to accomplish this weekend and what you think is going to happen.

BENJAMIN: Yes. Well, one of the things we talked about last time I was with you, was -- it was when my book Under Our Skin came out and just this whole issue that we have with race in America, ethnicity in America, that has been a part of our thread for a very, very long time, since the inception of our country. And it keeps on coming back in different ways, and each generation has to deal with it in their own way.

And so this weekend in Tampa, Florida, what we're hoping to foster is an honest conversation. We've had conversations before. But we want this one to be one where people can come in. Truth can be proclaimed. People can let their guards down. Nobody is going to get offended by honest questions. But also, we want people to lead with tangible tools in their tool belt of ways that they, can, in their own spheres of influence, attack this racial problem and also see where they stand.

And, you know, maybe people may come, and they may feel like, you know what, I have no racist bones in my body. I have no prejudice in my body. I'm forgiven. I'm protected. And all those things. And then they come and hear things. And they say, you know what, this is something that keeps rising up in me, and I need to deal with it first in myself. And then, how do I affect the people around me positively when these sorts of things happen on a television set or we encounter certain instances of racism in our community.

GLENN: I will tell you that Pat and I were on a plane once with Hutch, who was a Cowboys player.

BENJAMIN: Yeah.

GLENN: You know him.

BENJAMIN: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And we were on a plane coming home from Washington, DC, one time. And both Pat and I were from the Pacific northwest. We grew up. Became aware in the early '70s. And didn't feel like we had any problems, you know, with race relations or anything.

We got off that plane with him after he explained the things that he went through in life. And both of us realized, there is so much work to be done in America, that we just don't even know. But it's -- we're stopped sometimes because we don't want to open that up because, A, okay. So you're going to excuse me of being a racist.

BENJAMIN: Yeah.

GLENN: Are you going to say, oh, I have to pay extra money or I have to -- you know what I mean?

So nobody talks about it because it opens up a can of worms, where extremists can play.

BENJAMIN: I agree. I agree. And it's easy to point our finger at white supremacy or at, you know, maybe the black power movement or whatever it may be and say that those are the epitomes of racism and prejudice. But really, it's those of us that are in the middle -- like I said before, some of us that don't really realize -- some of us that don't -- because of our situation, don't have to engage and have to learn about someone else's experience.

A lot of what we don't see -- you know, experiencing somebody else's life. For the white guy who is a coworker in wherever, in West Virginia, who has lost his job and he thinks that, you know what, it's not fair that his perception is that black people get X, Y, and Z. And to the black teenager or the black young man who sees his employment drop and sees the educational opportunities he has, and he thinks he's the only one who is experiencing some of those things. And for those types of people that say, you know what, I may not have your experience. But let me listen to yours, and let me validate what you feel. And let me not disregard what you feel.

And then for you -- you know, for some people who are born in the Northwest or maybe the West and they have a different view of it, to hear some of these stories that are very, very real. That's how we show how we care about each other.

What we do have now is a lot of people being scared to even mention or broach the topic because they're going to be labeled a bigot or a racist. And that's a very real fear that I acknowledge as well.

GLENN: So, Ben, help me out on -- we're talking to Ben Watson, author of Under My Skin. Or Under Our Skin. He has UnderOurSkinForum.com. That's where you can go find out all the information of what's happening. Really important this weekend in Tampa Bay. UnderOurSkinForum.com.

Here's -- here's where I think people live. I came out against Black Lives Matter years ago, when it first started because I read their -- I read their manifesto.

BENJAMIN: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And it is -- it's crazy. Have you read it?

BENJAMIN: Yeah. I've gone to their website. And I can say that probably 75 percent or maybe 65 percent of the things that they stand for, I don't agree with. But then there are some things that I do.

GLENN: Correct. Right. Right. But there's a lot of stuff on there that is just anti-capitalism and has nothing to do with race.

BENJAMIN: Exactly.

GLENN: And so that's what I first saw. Then I met some people who were not part of the founding members. Didn't know about the charter or anything else. But were involved in the Black Lives Matter march here that ended tragically with the shooting of cops here in Dallas.

BENJAMIN: Yeah.

GLENN: And they were good, decent people and I listened to them.

So I wrote a deal about Black Lives Matter for the New York Times, and I said, "Hey, we have to listen to each other."

Immediately, everything in my world flipped. And now people were against me on the other side.

And what happens is -- for instance, up in Toronto -- I don't know if you saw this, the cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Toronto said white people have recessive genetic defects that need to be wiped out.

Justin Trudeau is a white supremacist terrorist. That we need to rise up and fight back. Quote, please, Allah give me strength not to cuss and kill these white folks out here today.

BENJAMIN: Uh-huh.

GLENN: How do we get -- how can we get to a place where we can have a real conversation when there are voices on one side that are absolutely racist, voices on the other side absolutely racist, and our politicians are using those people to stir -- to stir us up?

BENJAMIN: Well, one of the things you do is ask why and what and where. And so I think that's what you did. I remember reading your article. And I remember seeing the backlash that you received. But what you did was you went and you did some research. So you said, "You know what, these people -- for example, the gentleman in Toronto, he's obviously angry. Why do you think he feels this way?" And then you went on. And you looked at the charter. You learned about him. For him, learning about the history of blacks in this country. Blacks on this continent. Maybe some of the things that might have happened in his family. Whatever -- there's a reason why. Now, the way he's lashing out is not an appropriate one. But when we first see why people act the way they act, then we can address them from a human standpoint and we can see why there's upset. And maybe there's some valid reasons why they are. But what we don't have now is, you know, we see the headline, and immediately, like you said, you shut off and you label someone. And maybe they deserve to be labeled. But no one is willing to kind of be in the middle.

So the way -- people ask me all the time, what do I do, Benjamin? How do I change this thing?

And I say, "The first thing you do is you start in your living room. You start in your dining room with your family."

How do you talk about people that aren't like you in your living room at bedtime, when you're praying at night with your kids? What are you teaching them? Are you teaching them that they are no better than anyone else because of their color, or because of their economics, or because of their education, or because of their athletic ability, whatever it may be? Are you teaching them that they need the same forgiveness by the same guys -- the person across the railroad tracks need? Are you giving them a proper sense of self in the home?

Because that's where this all starts, in the home. Whether you're on the white supremacist side, whether you're like the guy in Toronto, wherever it may be. That stuff starts in the home.

And so we as parents have a responsibility to figure it out for ourselves, but also to teach our children. And then from there, you had children who are going to be change agents.

You know, when we look back over the course of our history in this country, and you look at civil rights. And you look at Jim Crow. And you look at neo-slavery, after slavery was abolished. And you look all the way up to the '70s and everything, there were people of all shades of brown, all shades of melanin count, that were -- who stood for justice.

And some of them were maligned, like you were, when you stepped out and you said, "You know, I see some of the reasons why they say what they say."

And sometimes it's going to take you getting out of your groupthink, whatever that groupthink is, black or white or in between, and be willing to stand for what's right.

GLENN: Ben, can I ask you a real honest question that I'm sure you've reflected on: You don't need this. You know, there's nothing to gain here, to, you know, sell a book. You could sell a book a million different ways. And that's already in the past.

Now, you're going to do these forums. You're going to get backlash from both sides. Why? Why are you doing this?

BENJAMIN: Well, honestly, a part of it is a groupthink. A positive groupthink. And it's the number of people who I consider to be friends, Tony Dungy, you mentioned one of them. We have pastors there. We'll have authors there. We'll have my publishing group, which Tyndale Publishers, is a big part of this, that care about this issue.

And alone, honestly, sometimes I want to throw my hands up and say, "You know what, we're just never going to like each other on a large-scale. It is what it is."

I get frustrated just like everybody else. I get backlash when I say certain things from the black community. I get backlash from the white community. You know, from non-Christians. From Christians.

GLENN: I know.

BENJAMIN: You know, it's frustrating. But when you have a group of people who say, "You know what, we're committed to this. And my job is to stand for kindness. For love and kindness. For justice. For truth. For righteousness."

Those are things that I committed my life to. And so whatever realm I can influence someone, even if it's one or two people, I'm committed to take that chance. And this is just one example. And we hope that people will join and then come to livestream.com. Obviously, if they're not in Tampa, they can tune in on livestream.com.

And we've got some good feedback. Hopefully, this thing goes well, and some people's hearts are changed. Their minds are changed. They're encouraged when it comes to this topic. And we go and do it somewhere else. Or maybe we don't. Maybe someone else does it.

GLENN: Speak specifically to someone who you want to come. Who are they? And why should they come Saturday?

BENJAMIN: Well, I want everyone to join in. People who hate blacks of everything they've done to black people in this country and their parents. People who hate blacks because they feel like, you know, they whine and complain and they're lazy. Those things they say about us. I want people to join in. I want the person that you're sitting there and you think that there's really not an issue of race, at least in your neighborhood, and everybody gets along. At our church we all hang out each other. I can't imagine anybody having problems. I want you to join too. I want the people to join that sit there and say, "I've been working over and over and over, and I've never seen any fruit from my labor when it comes to this topic. It seems like I'm getting nowhere, like I'm in quicksand." I want you to come and be encouraged.

And so it's for everyone. No matter if you're not black, if you're not white. If you're just curious. Whether you're a believer or not -- it's being held in a church. But you know what, we believe that our faith is a huge proponent and the reason why we do what we do. But we also understand that you know -- whether you're a person of faith or not, this topic is important because we all have to deal with it at some point.

GLENN: It is always good to talk to you. And I hope we get a chance to work together on something, Ben. Because I think you're an amazing man. Benjamin Watson.

BENJAMIN: I appreciate you having me.

GLENN: You bet. And go to UnderOurSkinForum.com, if you're anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. It's happening, I guess, not this weekend. It's happening on Thursday.

Tony Dungy is going to be there. Warrick Dunn will be there. Other celebrities. It will be Thursday at the Crossing Church, which is a great, great church in Tampa.

STU: He downplays how brave that is to do. I mean, to take stances that are, you know -- that disagree with kind of the way things go in the media and certainly in athletics. It's not easy to do. He's really strong-willed to do that. And he's an impressive guy.

Are your kids doing well in school? They might not be doing as well as you think.

A recent study found that the majority of parents in the US think their children are doing better in school than they actually are, and we largely have COVID to thank for that.

Due to the disastrous educational and social policies implemented during the COVID pandemic, millions of kids across the country are lagging and are struggling to catch up. They are further impeded by technology addiction, mental illness, and the school system, which is trying to mask just how bad things are. However, due to continued COVID-era policies like grade inflation, your kid's report card may not reflect the fallen educational standards since 2020.

Here are five facts that show the real state of America's youngest citizens. It's time to demand that schools abandon the harmful COVID-era policies that are failing to set our children up for success.

Gen Alpha is struggling to read

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Literacy is the foundation of education. Being able to read and write is paramount to learning, so when a young student struggles to gain literacy, it severely impacts the rest of their education. According to a 2021 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):

In 2019, some 35 percent of 4th-grade students and 34 percent of 8th-grade students performed at or above NAEP Proficient.

This means that 65 percent of 4th-graders and 66 percent of 8th-graders performed below NAEP proficient. As to be expected, the effects of this lack of literacy are still being felt. A 2024 report called the "Education Recovery Scorecard" created by Harvard and Stanford researchers found that in 17 states, students are more than a third of a grade level behind pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, in 14 states, students are more than a third of a grade level behind in reading specifically.

Grade inflation

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If you thought the U.S. dollar was the only thing suffering from inflation, you would unfortunately be mistaken. Grades are also being inflated, caused by more lenient grading practices that began during the pandemic and have yet to return to normal. While students undoubtedly love this practice at the momentafter all, who doesn't like an easy A?in the long run, it only makes their lives more difficult.

This practice has seen attendance and test scores drop while GPAs rise, making it more difficult for colleges to decide which students to accept, as more and more students have 4.0s. Students are also less prepared for the increased workload and stricter standards they will face when they start college. Overall, there has been a decline in preparedness among students, which will inevitably cause issues later in life.

Failure is no longer an option (literally)

To mask just how ill-prepared students have become, some universities have decided to double down on their grading system. Some schools, like Oregon University, have decided that they will no longer give students failing grades. Instead, if a student fails a class, they will simply receive no grade, thus keeping their academic record blemish-freebecause heaven forbid a student should face the consequences of their own actions.

These universities are doing a real disservice to an entire generation of students. To cover up their failures, they are waving students through their programs, failing to prepare them for the world they will face.

Addiction to tech

Tech addiction has been a concern for parents since before the pandemic, but unsurprisingly, the lockdowns only made it worse. A 2023 study showed that internet addiction in adolescents nearly doubled during the lockdowns when compared to pre-pandemic numbers. This doesn't come as a surprise. Forcing kids to stay inside for months with the internet as their sole connection to the outside world is the perfect recipe for addiction to tech.

Mental illness

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The mental health crisis has been growing across the world for decades now, but it took a turn for the worse during the pandemic. Both a study from Iceland and Australia recorded a decline in the mental health of their youth during the pandemic, and a study out of San Francisco measured physical changes to the brains of children that resembled the brains of people who suffered childhood trauma.

5 SURPRISING ways space tech is used in your daily life

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Is your vacuum cleaner from SPACE?

This week, Glenn is discussing his recent purchase of a Sputnik satellite, which has got many of us thinking about space and space technology. More specifically, we've been wondering how technology initially designed for use outside Earth's atmosphere impacted our lives down here on terra firma. The U.S. spent approximately $30 billion ($110 billion in today's money) between the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the Moon Landing in 1969. What do we have to show for it besides some moon rocks?

As it turns out, a LOT of tech originally developed for space missions has made its way into products that most people use every day. From memory foam to cordless vacuums here are 5 pieces of space tech that you use every day:

Cellphone camera

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Have you ever seen a photograph of an early camera, the big ones with the tripod and curtain, and wondered how we went from that to the tiny little cameras that fit inside your cellphone? Thank NASA for that brilliant innovation. When you are launching a spaceship or satellite out of the atmosphere, the space onboard comes at a premium. In order to make more room for other equipment, NASA wanted smaller, lighter cameras without compromising image quality, and the innovations made to accomplish this goal paved the way for the cameras in your phone.

Cordless vacuums and power tools

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When exploring the moon, NASA wanted astronauts to use a drill to collect samples from the lunar surface. The problem: the moon has a severe lack of electrical outlets to power the drills. NASA tasked Black & Decker with developing a battery-powered motor powerful enough to take chunks out of the moon. The resulting motor was later adapted to power cordless power tools and vacuums in households across America.

Infrared ear thermometer

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What do distant stars and planets have in common with your eardrum? Both have their temperature read by the same infrared technology. The thermometers that can be found in medicine cabinets and doctors' offices across the world can trace their origins back to the astronomers at NASA who came up with the idea to measure the temperature of distant objects by the infrared light they emit.

Grooved pavement

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This one may seem obvious, but sometimes you need a massively complicated problem to come up with simple solutions. During the Space Shuttle program, NASA had a big problem: hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is dangerous enough when you are going 70 miles an hour in your car, but when you're talking about a Space Shuttle landing at about 215 miles per hour, it's an entirely different animal. So what was NASA's space-age solution? Cutting grooves in the pavement to quickly divert water off the runway, a practice now common on many highways across the world.

Memory foam

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If you've ever slept on a memory foam mattress, it probably won't come as a shock to find out that the foam was created to cushion falls from orbit. Charles Yotes was an astronautical engineer who is credited with the invention of memory foam. Yotes developed the technology for the foam while working on the recovery system for the Apollo command module. The foam was originally designed to help cushion the astronauts and their equipment during their descent from space. Now, the space foam is used to create some of the most comfortable mattresses on Earth. Far out.

5 most HORRIFIC practices condoned by WPATH

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Whatever you know about the "trans movement" is only the tip of the iceberg.

In a recent Glenn TV special, Glenn delved into Michael Schellenberger's "WPATH files," a collection of leaked internal communications from within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Glenn's research team got their hands on the WPATH files and compiled the highlights in Glenn's exclusive PDF guide which can be downloaded here. These documents reveal the appalling "standards" created and upheld by WPATH, which appear to be designed to allow radical progressive surgeons to perform bizarre, experimental, and mutilating surgeries on the dime of insurance companies rather than to protect the health and well-being of their patients. These disturbing procedures are justified in the name of "gender-affirming care" and are defended zealously as "life-saving" by the dogmatic surgeons who perform them.

The communications leaked by Schellenberger reveal one horrific procedure after another committed in the name of and defended by radical gender ideology and WPATH fanatics. Here are five of the most horrifying practices condoned by WPATH members:

1.Trans surgeries on minors as young as 14

One particular conversation was initiated by a doctor asking for advice on performing irreversible male-to-female surgery on a 14-year-old boy's genitals. WPATH doctors chimed in encouraging the surgery. One doctor, Dr. McGinn, confessed that he had performed 20 such surgeries on minors over the last 17 years!

2.Amputation of healthy, normal limbs

BIID, or Body Integrity Identity Disorder, is an “extremely rare phenomenon of persons who desire the amputation of one or more healthy limbs or who desire a paralysis.” As you might suspect, some WPATH members are in favor of enabling this destructive behavior. One WPATH commenter suggested that people suffering from BIID received "hostile" treatment from the medical community, many of whom would recommend psychiatric care over amputation. Apparently, telling people not to chop off perfectly healthy limbs is now considered "violence."

3.Trans surgeries on patients with severe mental illnesses

WPATH claims to operate off of a principle known as "informed consent," which requires doctors to inform patients of the risks associated with a procedure. It also requires patients be in a clear state of mind to comprehend those risks. However, this rule is taken very lightly among many WPATH members. When one of the so-called "gender experts" asked about the ethicality of giving hormones to a patient already diagnosed with several major mental illnesses, they were met with a tidal wave of backlash from their "enlightened" colleges.

4.Non-standard procedures, such as “nullification” and other experimental, abominable surgeries

If you have never heard of "nullification" until now, consider yourself lucky. Nullification is the removal of all genitals, intending to create a sort of genderless person, or a eunuch. But that's just the beginning. Some WPATH doctors admitted in these chatlogs that they weren't afraid to get... creative. They seemed willing to create "custom" genitals for these people that combine elements of the two natural options.

5.Experimental, untested, un-researched, use of carcinogenic drugs 

Finasteride is a drug used to treat BPH, a prostate condition, and is known to increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer as well as breast cancer. Why is this relevant? When a WPATH doctor asked if anyone had used Finasteride "to prevent bottom growth," which refers to the healthy development of genitals during puberty. The answer from the community was, "That's a neat idea, someone should give it a go."

If your state isn’t on this list, it begs the question... why?

The 2020 election exposed a wide range of questionable practices, much of which Glenn covered in a recent TV special. A particularly sinister practice is the use of private money to fund the election. This money came from a slew of partisan private sources, including Mark Zuckerberg, entailed a host of caveats and conditions and were targeted at big city election offices— predominantly democratic areas. The intention is clear: this private money was being used to target Democrat voters and to facilitate their election process over their Republican counterparts.

The use of private funds poses a major flaw in the integrity of our election, one which many states recognized and corrected after the 2020 election. This begs the question: why haven't all states banned private funding in elections? Why do they need private funding? Why don't they care about the strings attached?

Below is the list of all 28 states that have banned private funding in elections. If you don't see your state on this list, it's time to call your state's election board and demand reform.

Alabama

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Arizona

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Arkansas

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Florida

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Georgia

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Idaho

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Indiana

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Iowa

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Kansas

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Kentucky

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Louisiana

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Mississippi

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Missouri

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Montana

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Nebraska

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North Carolina

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North Dakota

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Ohio

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Oklahoma

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Pennsylvania

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South Carolina

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South Dakota

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Tennessee

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Texas

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Utah

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Virginia

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West Virginia

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Wisconsin

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