A video making the rounds on social media shows a frank conversation between a white caller and a black guest on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” during which the caller asks the woman how he can stop being prejudiced against people of color.
The North Carolina man called in Sunday and spoke to Heather McGhee, the president of public policy organization Demos. In the video, McGhee can be seen nodding her head thoughtfully as the man speaks.
The unidentified man told McGhee, in part: “I’m a white male, and I am prejudiced. And the reason it is, is something I wasn’t taught but it’s kind of something that I learned.
“When I open up the papers, I get very discouraged at what young black males are doing to each other and at the crime rate. I understand that they live in an environment with a lot of drugs — you have to get money for drugs. It is a deep issue that goes beyond that. But when, I have these different fears, and I don’t want my fears to come true, you know, so I try to avoid that, and I come off as being prejudiced, but I just have fears. I don’t like to be forced to like people. I like to be led to like people through example. What can I do to change? You know? To be a better American?”
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McGhee responded by thanking the man.
“Thank you so much for being honest and for opening up this conversation, because it is simply one of the most important ones we have to have in this country,” she said. “You know, we are not a country that is united, because we are all one racial group that all descended from one tribe in one community.
“That is actually, I think, what makes this country beautiful, but it’s our challenge.”
She told the man that people of all races and backgrounds hold fears and prejudices. She said that for him to acknowledge his was “one of the most powerful things that we can do right now in this moment in our history.”
McGhee offered the man several ideas on how he could get rid of his fear of black people. She told him not to form opinions about people of color from the news, which she said over-represents crimes committed by people of color, but to get to know black families, to join a black or interracial church if he is religious and to read the history of the black community.
She also urged him to start conversations about race within his own community.
McGhee said the United States is still a very segregated country.
“Millions of white Americans live in places where they rarely see anyone of a different race,” she said. “This fear and set of ideas that we only get from the worst possible news; it’s tearing us apart.”
She said Americans must foster relationships across race, gender and age.
“We have to get to know who one another actually is. And we are always, I think, as Americans surprised when we build relationships across race,” McGhee said.
As of Wednesday, McGhee’s conversation with the man had been viewed more than 2 million times on Demos’ Facebook page. See their exchange below.
Conversations like this one between Demos President Heather McGhee and a caller striving to learn how to confront his prejudices are the key to coming together and solving problems in this country.Posted by Demos on Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.
Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.
The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.
Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.
The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.
The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.
A small town's city council - against the advice of its attorneys - voted to fly a Christian flag over city hall to promote a local Bible-reading marathon.
What could go wrong?
City officials in Cochran, Ga., have now bowed to threats of legal action and "fiscal" concerns and will remove the flag on Friday.
The controversy began early last month when the Cochran City Council voted to help promote a local Bible-reading marathon sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association.
While city officials have said local residents supported the decision, national groups including the D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State said they have received several complaints over the matter.
The group recently sent letters to both the city and Bleckley County, Georgia — which has flown the flag in the past — declaring that flying the Christian flag on public property violates the First Amendment.
The group in part cited a recent legal case in which a North Carolina city agreed to stop displaying the Christian flag, which includes a Latin cross, at a government-sponsored veterans memorial.
The decision to fly and then remove the flag comes just one month after a North Georgia county caught heck for raising the Confederate battle flag over its courthouse.
In a statement on its website, the city of Cochran said it has decided to take the flag down “after reviewing further input from the community, detailed written legal opinions from our city attorney and a second legal opinion from a constitutional lawyer.”
In the future, the city said it would only fly the U.S. and state flags at city hall.
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