*When a white man called into C-SPAN to speak with Heather McGhee, an African American woman who was a guest on the show, and is president at Demos Action, a progressive public policy organization advocating for equality, he asked a question that I don’t believe he realized was profound. He asked, how can I get over being prejudiced? First of all, note that he said “prejudiced” not “racist.” We all know that the two words are different, as a racist is backed by a systematic power structure; whereas anyone can be prejudiced.
Even Black folks.
“I am a white man and I am prejudiced. The reason is it wasn’t something that I was taught, it was something I learned. I have these different fears and I don’t want my fears to come true.”
This is how the caller from North Carolina opened up the conversation.
He concluded with, “What can I do to be a better American?”
I was glad that McGhee, who was visibly moved by the callers words, opened her response to this man, thoughtfully, by acknowledging his honesty (and thanking him for it) in posing the question. And further, reminding him that it is precisely this question, or topic, that we in this country need to address. Continue reading