Black C-SPAN Guest Helps White Caller Overcome His Racism (Video)

Demos Action president Heather McGhee expresses empathy for a white North Carolina man seeking to change his prejudicial ways

Amid an election cycle dominated by racially divisive rhetoric and accusations of racial prejudice, there’s at least one beacon of non-racist hope, courtesy of C-SPAN, a North Carolina caller named Gary, and president of public policy organization Demos Action Heather McGhee.

On last Thursday’s edition of the public affairs channel’s “Washington Journal,” host Greta Wodele Brawner brought McGhee on to discuss progressive issues in this election cycle and field some calls.

McGhee is African-American, so there was a moment of tension when self-described white man “Gary” called in to explain that he himself is prejudiced. But the man’s admission turned into an earnest plea for advice on how to stop thinking the way he does. After all, no one likes being afraid all the time.

McGhee gently thanked the caller for his admission, and for asking the question: “People of all ethnicities and backgrounds hold these fears and prejudices,” she acknowledged. “Most of these are unconscious.”

And then she calmly laid out the way forward for him to try and banish those fears and prejudices.

  • “Get to know black families,” the vast majority of which are not involved in crime or gangs.
  • “Turn off the news at night.” Both local and national editions tend to overrepresent African-American crime and underrepresent crimes by whites.
  • “Join a church, if you are a religious person.” But not just any church — one that has a primarily black congregation, or at least is diverse.
  • “Start to read about the history of the African-American community in this country.”

And finally:

“Foster conversation, in your family and in your neighborhood, where you’re asking exactly those kinds of questions.”

Watch the video below: