Emmanuel Acho talks race and ’white allergies’ with Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey sat down with Emmanuel Acho for the second episode of Acho’s recently launched Youtube series, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” to discuss white privilege, systemic racism, and “white allergies.”
The series launch featured Acho having a virtual conversation with “white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting and the hurt African Americans are feeling today.”
McConaughey appeared on the talk show amid social unrest following the police killing of George Floyd, and the demonstrations across the country against racism and police brutality.
“You have to acknowledge that there is a problem so that you can take more ownership for the problem,” Acho said in the video. “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” and “All Lives Matter.” Acho compared Black Lives Matter to finding a cure to COVID-19, saying that while other illnesses and diseases need cures too, right now a cure for the coronavirus is the most pressing.
The actor then explained that many people himself included have “white allergies” or prejudices that he might not even be aware of having.
Acho responded that while prejudices run deep, the best way to make progress is to keep talking and learning and asking difficult questions.
During the conversation, Acho says he doesn't believe there's equality in America as Black people still suffer repercussions from slavery.
"If you get on a boat, there is a wake that follows the boat. Although you may not still be driving the boat, there are African Americans getting smacked by the wake left of slavery," Acho said. "Systemic injustice, poor school systems, voter suppression. There is a wake and that's why things aren't equal. Don't feel guilty, just acknowledge it."
McConaughey read an excerpt from the Langston Hughes poem, “Let America be America Again” to end the episode.
“America, we’ve never been what we aspire to be. We can be but it’s going to take this and those watching to imitate with open hearts. Ready to listen, ready to learn and ready to do,” Acho said.