Emmanuel Acho’s Conversation With Matthew McConaughey About Racism Is Essential Viewing
Emmanuel Acho recently sat down with Matthew McConaughey to have an uncomfortable conversation about racism as part of his new series, aptly called: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
The former NFL player launched the web series last week to encourage viewers to have discussions about racial issues they might have otherwise felt too uncomfortable to talk about.
Described as a ‘free space for curious white people to answer the questions they’ve always had but have been too nervous to ask’, the series is essential viewing – particularly in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests it sparked around the world.
You can watch the episode featuring McConaughey below:
For his second episode, Acho invited McConaughey to join him for a conversation about racism, implicit bias, the backhanded ‘compliments’ white people often unknowingly give black people, Black Lives Matter, and much more.
‘How can I do better as a human, as a man, as a white man?’ McConaughey asked Acho, who responded: ‘You have to acknowledge that there is a problem so that you can take more ownership for the problem.’
Individually, you have to acknowledge implicit bias. You have to acknowledge that you’ll see a black man and for whatever reason, you will view them as more of a threat than the white man. Probably because society told you to.
McConaughey went on to ask Acho about Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter, with Acho giving an example as to why the latter undermines the former.
He compared the movement to finding a cure for COVID-19, saying that while other illnesses still matter and still need cures, it’s coronavirus that requires the most attention at this moment in time.
‘Right now we’re focused on finding a remedy for [COVID-19],’ he explained. ‘That’s not to say that cancer doesn’t matter, that’s not to say that HIV doesn’t matter, that’s not to say that ALS doesn’t matter. All those things still matter, but right now coronavirus is killing people.’
There’s a virus going on. A specific one too. A specific virus that is eminently ending lives, and that’s the same thing going on in the world. There’s a virus, it’s just of the mind. It’s not of the body.
McConaughey then shared with Acho how the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has led him to change his perspective and address his ‘blind spots’, with the actor saying he is ‘diving deeper’ into how he can learn more and ‘see things from the black side more’.
Towards the end of their 12-minute conversation, McConaughey asked what his responsibility was, to which Acho said it all starts with personal reflection, followed by action.
‘People should take responsibility proactively to say, “You know what? Maybe I’m a part of the problem. Maybe I can fix this issue. Not just by being not racist, but by being anti-racist. Maybe I can level the playing field and make it a fair fight”.’
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
CreditsEmmanuel Acho/YouTube and 1 other
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