Everyone should take a few minutes and watch this exchange.
“I’m a white male and I am prejudiced.” This is how the interaction begins—with honesty, and it only opens up from there.
“I have these different fears, and I don’t want my fears to come true, ya know, so I try to avoid that. And I come off as being prejudiced, but I just have fears.”
It’s not often we hear an open exchange like this coming from this perspective. The caller’s honesty is refreshing and enlightening and Heather McGhee’s response is beautiful. There are many people who feel just like this man, but would never say it out loud. But this is the type of dialogue we need to be having. Feelings bubble beneath the surface and grow into immovable monoliths when not expressed. This man admits much of his feelings derive from fear and fear is conquered through communication.
He ends his call with a question, “What can I do to change? To be a better American.”
McGhee takes a moment to compose herself, clearly struck by the man’s candid confession and his eagerness to change. She responds,
“Asking the question you ask, ‘how do I get over my fears and my prejudices,’ is the question that all of us, and I will say people of all races and ethnicities and backgrounds, hold these fear and prejudices. Most of them are actually unconscious, right, you say to yourself, ‘I’m not prejudice.’ But of course, we all have them. So your ability to just say, ‘this is what I have, I have these fears and prejudices and want to get over them,’ is one of the most powerful things that we can do right now at this moment in our history. So thank you.”
She continues on to give the caller advice on how he can do address his prejudices and break down these walls he’s built. Take a few minutes and watch the full exchange below.