Glenn Bill invites 4 black men, Allan Halliburton, Raphael Coffee, Todd Finnell, and George Nolan to discuss their experiences with racism in America in the shadow of George Floyd’s death.
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SPECIAL EPISODE – Stories Of Black America
Glenn Bill invites 4 black men, Allan Halliburton, Rafhael Coffee, Todd Finnell, and George Nolan to discuss their experiences with racism in America in the shadow of George Floyd’s death. 1:36 – Introduction to the 8:46 Interviews 4:54 – The George…
It’s great to be here with four of my oldest friends. This is a historic show. We are calling this the 8:46 Interviews. In light of all the things that had been going on, I was pondering, what is it that I am supposed to be doing? I have prayed about it. I have watched the leaders on TV. I have watched the interviews. The one thing that came clear to me was doing nothing is not an option. As I pondered and prayed, this was my solution and my part to give the voice to the people that need to share their stories. I want to share the stories of Black men around America in what we call an 8-minute and 46-second interview.
On May 25th, 2020 our country changed not because of what happened that has been going on for a while but because George Floyd was publicly killed in an event, which was filmed and witnessed for everyone to see in real-time. For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, he was unable to breathe and was tortured. He was unable to speak what was on his mind. To make us come to grips with that timeframe of his suffering, we are honoring him and what he went through, and his family with the 8 minute and 46-second interviews.
Anyone who enters the world should understand that everyone has something to share.
These 8-minute and 46-second interviews are meant to help us all grasp the amount of time that George Floyd suffered and to give a voice to his Black brothers and Black sisters for that amount of time in which he could not express his feelings and his words. These are four dear long-time friends of mine. They will first be able to express their feelings in this timeframe to discuss their race history, their thoughts on change and their advice for the future.
I suggest to all my White friends and fellow White people that when we try to understand the concept of Black culture, what do we do, and what do we say, you start with the people you know first and have known the longest. What I believe is that we all need to feel safe. What I want to do in this episode is to create a safe environment, not just for them but for us and for everyone who is reading. I hope that we come out of this with a better understanding of the Black story with real solutions, ideas, and thoughts on how to change things at a local level, and how to improve our lives and the lives of others.
This show is meant to get you thinking. Attitude is the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think. The more we can create attitude alignment when it comes to race, the more and the better chance we have to improve things around us. We are going to start our 8-minute and 46-second interviews with the one and only George Nolan. First of all, I want to introduce all my guests. We have George Nolan, Rafhael Coffee, Todd Finnell and Allan Halliburton, all gentlemen who I have known for a while. George, we are going to start with you. It’s good to see you. I love that smile. It hasn’t changed.
I’m excited to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me to have conversations that are so important given what we experienced every day as Black men. Being able to share our stories is wonderful. I thank you for the platform.
George and I went to grade school. I have known George since I have been in first grade. That puts us years of knowing each other. He’s a Leadership Educator, Director Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean of Students and Equity Coordinator, and turnaround educator committed to rigor and relevance for all students. He strongly believes that it does take a village and a school to raise a scholar hope dealer. George has the unique experience of being around the corner from ground zero of what occurred.
George, what we want to do is to hear your race story. I believe that when we look and engage with the Black community, we shouldn’t only see a Black man but I believe that every Black man and woman has a story that changed them forever, a story of real racism, whether experienced personally or someone in their family. Could you please share with us your racism story so we can feel and understand what’s inside of you?
Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here to share our stories. Primarily growing up in Indianapolis, it was an interesting area and probably one of the most racist areas that a person of color can grow in but at the same time, there was a holistic approach from the African-American community that was very supportive. I remember listening to the old Negro national anthem in elementary. I remember watching the cops and how they were handling and working with some of the people in the African-American community.
Growing up on 51st and Carrollton Avenue, being young, there was a family that was White down the street. We had all kinds of fun on the neighborhood blocks. We would do some fun things and things like that but I remember specifically going down the street and hearing a White parent yell at their kids saying, “Come home.” That was fine. I get it but what happened with that was I heard, “I don’t want you hanging with those Ns.”
I’m young. I was seven at the time. Remembering those pieces right there, I started to ask, “What was this about?” We were playing. The parents were somewhat receptive but then all of a sudden, they felt it was casual and okay to say that. That was my first experience with it. Growing up, I always worry about how fast you are driving when I started and got my driver’s license, also the interaction that we have had. Fortunately, my relationship with you has been very positive.
We knew each other. We grew up, there were no issues that way but I can’t say that for my whole overall experience at Indianapolis. It was a good base for me to understand collectively what being a bigot and a racist was all about. That allowed me to be grounded in understanding the intensity of dealing with race and not knowing the difference. That gave me a balance on that.
Take me back to being seven. This is what I don’t think people get. Being called an N-word at seven by a bunch of White neighbors, what was happening inside? What was the feeling in your gut? Did it resonate? Did it shake you? You’ve got to remember the feeling. Clue me in a little bit about how was it for you.
It was hurtful to me because you had a relationship with their kid and they seemed cool. The family seemed accepting but when you hear that as casual conversation right out the mouth, it was a struggle because I was trying to figure out those boundaries and what that was about. There was some anger but at the same time, I was too young to understand the importance of what that meant.
I want to go to our second question. If you could create instant change, what would that be? What would that look like to you in terms of legislation, police interaction or procedure, prosecutorial process or inherent bias? I know there are a lot but pick 1 or 2 things you could change tomorrow if you could be king of America, especially dealing with kids and the educational system. What would that be, George?
Providing more academic opportunities and building empathy for our kids in the community. We have White men who grow up, who have never been exposed to what it is to be empathetic and so they don’t understand the history. In some aspects they do but it’s always centered on their existence. Especially pre-K, we don’t have opportunities or push African American history and what that looks like. It’s not put in their daily lives to understand the struggle.
There’s a sense of being naive to the struggle, not understanding the struggle and what it means. Coalesced with, how do we educate our families and kids about the importance of education and making sure that we address the inequities that we have, not only in the education field but also in the social-emotional field and what happens in society?
My blue-sky world is that everybody that walks through the door clearly understands that we all have something to share. I always say this is a buffet. I have always thought it’s important to have people come to bring something to the table and share it with everybody. The more we can educate, build empathy, and support all of our kids that way, the better.
What do you think White people need to do or hear? I know White guys were like, “I didn’t even know a Black guy until I was ten. I didn’t even meet one or say hello to one.” What do White people need to hear or do in your eyes?
They need to understand that we are immigrants. That’s one. Number two is that the Black male and the Black person have contributed to our society in ways that have not been shared with people. They don’t understand who built The White House and some of those components of our collective contribution to society. What happens in education is we separate the kids all the time. They don’t have the chance to be part of the process and understand. Our school system is polarized. If you go into a lunchroom, you will see White kids over here, Black kids over there but they don’t understand.
They don’t want to understand. How do you build that empathy if they can’t understand and build those relationships that are important? Also from a legal standpoint, we have to change how we approach people. When and how are we going to approach people in a way that is all about being respectful, kind and generous? As an American society, we failed in that area. It’s tough.
George, thank you for that 8 minutes and 46 seconds. God bless you and thank you for leading our young people. I know that if your magic is with the students up in Minnesota, things are going to be better than if you weren’t there so that was great. I want to go to my second oldest friend who I met probably back in 1976.
Just like there are good and bad people, there are good and bad cops.
He’s an Indianapolis native, has years career in IT with a major corporation, years member of Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity, Inc. and immediate Past President of the Indianapolis Alumni Chapter, football coach of grade school, high school and college men. Todd Finnell, it’s good to be with you. Thank you so much. What I want to do is the same thing we did with George, share your personal or shared racism experience. How old were you when you experienced that? How did it make you feel?
Glenn, you reached out and invited me to participate in this show. I appreciate having the opportunity to have this dialogue with you and others. I didn’t hesitate to tell you yes. I know I asked a few questions but I didn’t hesitate to accept the offer. What I will say upfront is number one, I have lived and had a very blessed life. I have grown up in a multicultural neighborhood, multicultural schools, things of that nature.
Let me say up front. My grandfather was an Indianapolis police officer. I’ve got a cousin who is on INPD. I’ve got a ton of good friends who are police officers in one form or fashion. There’s nothing in what I’m sharing or speaking about here that is specific to all cops or anything of that nature. We need to understand that as people, there are good cops and bad cops though.
The one-story I would share with you, however, does have to do with a police officer. It had happened when I was probably 16 or 17 years old. I grew up in a multicultural neighborhood, Butler-Tarkington, 51st and Capitol. I didn’t grow up in the hood. I don’t know what it means to live in the hood. I can’t speak about that experience. Nonetheless, one summer evening, I was walking home from a friend’s house. It was dark outside. I’ve got to my house on the corner of Capitol and Beverley. I was beginning to walk down the hill to my house. A police car rolled up.
Without making the story too long, he detained me in front of my house for about 10 or 15 minutes. He didn’t put me in cuffs or anything like that, didn’t ask me any kind of questions but just detained me and was harassing me. I pleaded with him, “Let me go to the door and get my dad. Let me help you understand that this is my house that you are detaining me in front of. Let me go get my dad so we can get this all squared away.”
Eventually, he went on about his business, never did allow me to go up and get to my parents but as soon as he rolled away, I went into the house and exploded with my dad saying, “How does something like this happen? I’m a good kid. I don’t get into bad stuff. I wasn’t doing anything. Why did he do that?” When I was 16 or 17 years old, this is still a vivid memory in my mind, heart and soul. I could tell several similar stories but that’s what we live with.
I feel what that story did to your nervous system. It’s the people that haven’t hung around Black guys or people that don’t understand the story of Blacks. I’m not putting myself up on a pedestal at all because I have limited references compared to most White people, I’m sure. I was thinking about Drew Brees and all the trouble he got in. Lord knows, he knows plenty of Black people. These stories get in the nervous system of the Black culture. That’s what people don’t see. I appreciate you sharing that.
I could tell that it still affects your nervous system when you share that story. I want to make you a king of America and somebody that could quickly create instant change in legislation, police interaction, procedural, prosecutorial process or inherited bias. What would you change if you could, that would help?
There are a couple of things we could look at. I’m sure there are tons of things. A couple of things that immediately come to my mind have to do more or so with policing since that’s what has been such a challenge for us in the Black community. Not all cops are bad. Some are good, some are bad. Two things come to mind. I will say up front here, I’m not familiar with laws to any significant extent to know if something is or is not in place. The first thing that comes to mind is at the end of the day, murder is murder.
The unjust killing of any human being, Black, White, Brown, Purple, Pink or Blue, must be taken as it occurs. There can’t be any special dispensations because you do or don’t have a badge. You need to be treated and held accountable for the crime that has occurred. Murder is murder. I don’t know what kind of laws are or are not in place related to what happens. What is the course of justice when a police officer is involved? I would look in that space.
Secondly, I honestly believe that body cams for all police officers should be mandatory. We can talk about how much it costs and things like that but if you think about what other types of things we spend money on, there’s probably a fair justification to say, “We need to be spending money here on body cams for all police officers instead of elsewhere.” Those are a couple of thoughts that I have.
I forget a tragedy where the body cams were off when it occurred. Let me ask you this question. What do you think White people need to do or hear?
First and foremost, White folks need to understand that White privilege is real. We are not going to argue on that point. Number two, if White people want to make a difference, the first thing they need to do is listen for understanding and not listen to be baking your reply. Covey said, “Listen first to understand then to be understood.” You’ve got to understand the plight, situation, and background before you can even take the first step in figuring out how you can help.
White folks need to understand that white privilege is real.
Number three, this is not just White people. This is everybody. At the end of the day, it starts in your heart. You have to start with yourself. Jesus was asked, “What’s the greatest commandment?” His response was, “Love thy neighbor” That’s the first and most important. If you don’t start there, if you can’t get yourself there, then that’s a whole different conversation, Glenn.
You wonder where that seed is sown and grown. People don’t come out with these thoughts and these feelings. They are planted and watered. Proximity is a bitch. What’s the best advice you could give to the younger generation of Black kids?
It’s a matter of responding versus reaction. It’s a matter of rational thinking versus an irrational reaction to situations.
I hope everybody is getting the grasp as we are communicating the messages. That guy had his knee on George’s neck, the thought of that is crazy. This is why we are doing this to drive that home. To put yourself in that place of sheer terror and fear shakes me at the core. The next guest that we have is a dear friend of mine, Rafhael Coffee. He is a father, husband, disabled veteran, Black man. As he put on his thing, I love that. He is also an attorney.
Maybe we can get some legal thoughts from you, coach. I know that you have done a lot in the employment area of discrimination and that type of thing. We want you to talk from your heart. We have known each other since freshman year in high school since we have been fourteen. He’s like a brother to me. Rafhael, I do want to hear your personal or shared racism experience story when you were like, “I can’t believe this.” How old were you? How did it make you feel?
First and foremost, I want to thank you for inviting me. Here are a couple of things. One, what Todd said was pretty profound because I have known you and Todd since 1982. It was pretty profound because Todd shared a story where he was detained by a police officer. He purposely said he was a good kid. I want to cosign with you. Todd was a real good dude and still is. He was a class ahead of us but when I was a young, impressionable high school student, I looked up to you. I thought you were going to tell a story about your old green Chevy. I thought the story was going to have something to do with that.
Nevertheless, this is a guy that was doing all the right things but it still happened to him. In terms of the first episode, I’m not going to go into that. I will just say that’s similar to Todd, when I was a kid, we were in the middle class. My mother was a teacher. My father worked at the post office. We did not live in the hood, multicultural, and then I can go a step further. My parents were rural people from Tennessee. They bought 10 acres outside of Noblesville when I was probably 7 or 8 years old.
I can assure you that Noblesville Hamilton County was not the way that it is, not quite as diverse. I know Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers High School looked very different than when my brothers went there. I can tell you, there were instances out there from other kids. I know the first time I’ve got in a fight. I was eight years old. Little kids on the football field and were fighting. There were a few other episodes as I’ve got into playing baseball. In high school, you would hear catcalls from a distance.
When it would happen, it was probably because I was putting in work on the baseball field. I thought, “You are a little piece of shit because you are scared.” If you are going to say that, have enough backbone to say it to me but I’ve got off track. What I wanted to talk about is the covert forms of racism. I don’t want to group everybody together but White people tend to think, “I’m not a racist. I don’t call anyone the N-word. I don’t do anything like that. That’s very overt.” There are such strong covert forms of racism.
The story that I want to talk about is high school Chemistry class. The teacher, on more than one occasion, accused me of cheating off of some of the people that sat around me. I can assure you that was not the case. They were looking at my paper. It’s simply this mindset of, “I’ve got White people here and I’ve somehow got Black people.” They are a lesser state, lesser people, less intelligent. There’s this strong tendency to attach negative stereotypes to people of color all day, every day.
That episode in high school Chemistry class pissed me off. I didn’t laugh it off but I thought, “You don’t even have any idea what those words mean to someone.” It didn’t make me cry in my corn flakes but I thought, “This is another example.” That is years ago. I can assure you that type of thing is happening all day, every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s athletics, academics, occupational or out here George Floyd walking the streets.
Listen first to understand then to be understood.
Let’s bridge into that and you may not want to go here but if you could change a law, prosecution, police interaction or racism on the job, which I know you were in, talk to me about 1 or 2 like, “Glenn, if we could get this to happen, this could make a difference quickly.”
We could talk about sentencing guidelines or police wearing video cams. They probably turn them off but that’s a whole different conversation. It’s important to talk about being receptive to having this conversation. A lot of people, as I alluded to, think of themselves as, “I’m open-minded. I have never done anything to exhibit any sort of racist behavior.” Yet, there it is. The point of White privilege is an umbrella that everything falls below.
The great example you brought up is Drew Brees. Laura Ingraham is on Fox News. Let’s just say that I’m not a fan for a variety of reasons. When LeBron James comments in 2018, what she was saying is, “Black boy, take your basketball and go dribble.” When Drew Brees makes a comment relative to race in 2020, “He has First Amendment rights. He should be able to speak his truth and shouldn’t be judged for it.” That is the type of thing that all of these gentlemen have felt in some form or fashion. I know I have.
The point of the show is you are just not Black people. You are Black people with a deep, inbred story in your nervous system, which we don’t have, don’t know and haven’t heard. That’s why we must bring these stories out. We can act as we know them but have we sat down and felt them with our brothers and sisters? What would White people need to do or hear? White people are very defensive when it comes to grouping all the White people together.
I want to piggyback onto that notion, “I haven’t done anything to you.” I always like to refer to some people as well-intentioned White people but they will say things like, “He’s so smart for a Black kid. He speaks well for a Black kid.” It’s not meant to be a criticism or a slight but if the person who is being given the so-called compliment is listening, that’s what it is. There are no White kids that somebody said, “He’s smart or speak well for a White kid.” This is the type of thing where people have to be receptive to listening versus getting in a defensive posture, especially if the conversation veers over into politics, the president, administration and all that. We don’t have any time for that. It gets, “Just because I support the president, I’m not a racist.” Don’t support someone that espouses racist beliefs.
My goal is to provide a safe environment for all those speaking and listening. My goal is that people reading this, White or Black, can relate to the questions. They can answer and discuss the questions. They can look inside. They can make things better. We can open a conversation. Hopefully, we are creating an example that shows safe conversation is the way to go. That’s where healing begins.
My fourth and final guest is one of my favorite people. He is a graduate of what I call The Clarity Summit. He was one of the best football players I have ever coached. He’s a father of four. He is a Purple Heart Army veteran. He’s an entrepreneur and life coach, Mr. Allan Halliburton. We love each other since the day we met. Thank you for your service to our country and the sacrifices that you put in.
Allan just got back from a battle with COVID. He was in a coma for three days. I’m glad you are alive. Thank God for that. As a local Indianapolis guy, I would like to have you share your personal or racism experience that affected you and your nervous system deep to your core. How old were you when you experienced it? How did it make you feel?
I’ve got a couple of short ones out. The first one, I was sixteen years old, a junior at Chatard. I had asked a girl on a date. She says, “I can meet you.” I was like, “I will come to pick you up.” She’s like, “My dad won’t let me get in the car with you.” I said, “What? I shook your dad’s hand at the football game the other day.” She said, “You are a football player but you are not coming to my house.” That was like, “I’m good enough to play football for you. You shook my hand and hugged me after the football game but I’m not good enough for your daughter.” That was a major experience.
Did you know and feel that racism exists before you were sixteen?
I had tons.
That was the one that hit you over the head.
The reason I picked Chatard over other schools is that I felt that it was a family environment. I felt a bond with a lot of people that I met there. I didn’t expect to get any type of racism like that. That’s why it was a major shock and awakening for me.
Give us a couple more.
The other one is funny because it’s about a green Chevy that I had. I’ve got out of the Army. I had bought a 1990 box Chevy and that’s what they call a dope boy car. I’ve got it painted a metallic jade. I had the interior is done and everything. I was a football coach in Hamilton County. I’m driving to Hamilton County. I have my football cleats in the car with me and I get stopped on Hazel Dell Road. I was not speeding, just cruising down the street.
An officer walks into my car and looks in. I say, “How are you doing?” He said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I’m going to work.” He said, “Where do you work at?” I said, “The school up here.” He says, “What’s that debris on the ground?” I said, “It’s dirt from my cleats. Dirt grass. I’m a football coach.” He goes back to his car. I’m sitting there for about ten minutes. He comes back over. I forget the question he asked me but I’m starting to get nervous. I started naming every police officer that I know. I said, “I worked with Jim Leisure and Kevin Jennings. I know all these cops.” I asked him for his badge number. He gave me his badge number. Once I started naming the cops, it shook him. He said, “I’m going to let you go but you need to be careful driving this car in this area.” That messed up my day.
The fact that you needed to be told that, that it needed to be said and it’s even a reality lets you know that we are where we need to be. It’s crazy. My guess is these are stories that people don’t get. As a Black man, you better be careful how you paint your car. Allan, thank you for those stories. You were in the military. I don’t know if you experienced racism in the military or not but I’m guessing you did. That was what Vic Fangio said, “There’s no racism in the NFL.” If you could make a change in law enforcement and legislation, wherever, what change would you make? What would make a difference?
Be receptive to listening versus getting in a defensive posture.
I have read a quote. It said, “Laws and actions don’t change until money gets disrupted.” Thinking about that, every time cops commit crimes, have misconduct trials or anything like that, those trials are paid by the taxpayers. Between 2011 and 2014, Baltimore taxpayers paid $5.7 million in misconduct fees geared towards cops. A change that I would make is instead of the taxpayers paying this, we are going to hit the police’s pensions and retirements.
That’s going to cause you to police each other. If I’m getting close to twenty years, I’m getting close to retirement. I’ve got Joe Schmo over here wanting to act stupid. You are pulling money out of my pension to cover this trial and to pay people that were harmed by this. I’m going to step up as an officer and say, “You need to cut that out.”
This isn’t a pile-on-the-cops show. This is a conversation that is coming out but it’s a conversation that is necessary. Everyone here knows cops. We love cops. There’s 1%, 2% that probably we don’t love. If you are a police officer or in the military, thank you for your service. Allan, what do you think White people need to hear or do?
Accountability, holding people accountable. That’s everybody. If you see something, say or do something. The first thing we do, especially in this era, is we pull out the phone and start recording. That’s a form of accountability because I can issue that to the proper authorities. You see people that are doing this George Floyd Challenge.
What is it?
It’s one White person lays down. The other White person puts their knee on his neck. They are taking a picture. That’s happening. Even if you know these people, say something. You know what’s right and wrong. Lou Holtz said it, “I’ve only got one rule. Do the right thing.” Everybody knows what’s right and what’s wrong. We don’t have to have 1,000 laws. Just do the right thing.
You’ve got four children?
Yes, I do.
We talked about what effect this is having on Black women and mothers of Black sons. Talk to me about your thoughts on how this is affecting them. How do you feel when your kids go out at 9:00 at night?
That’s major because one thing that people aren’t thinking about is these Black women that have these children. My child is out. I’m worried every time my child leaves the house because I don’t know if they are going to be pulled over like Todd Finnell was. Are they going to be shot? Are they going to be beaten?
Allan Halliburton, thank you. I want to thank all of my guests. If the stories that you were told by these intelligent, smart, influential givers in society if their personal stories didn’t reach you, I want you to imagine yourself as a ten-year-old Black kid and say, “What’s the best advice I can give a ten-year-old Black kid?”
“Don’t put your hands in your pockets. Don’t put your hoodie on. Don’t be outside with no shirt on. Check-in with your people. It doesn’t matter even if you are down the street. Don’t be out too late. Don’t touch anything you are not buying. Never leave the store without a receipt or a bag, even if it’s just a pack of gum. Never make it look like there’s an altercation between you and someone else.
Never leave the house without your ID. Don’t drive with the wife-beater on. Don’t drive with a do-rag on. Don’t go out in public with either. Don’t ride with the music too loud. Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman. If a cop stops you randomly and started questioning, don’t talk back. Just compromise. If you ever get pulled over, hands on the dashboard and ask if you could get out your license and registration.”
Is it good advice? Anybody can speak up here. What does that say to you? George, how does that feel to you?
It’s powerful. It’s heart-wrenching to hear the perspective of our young kids and their voice. I hear it and see it every day with some of the kids I work with, try to bring into scholars and things like that.
What is the biggest challenge as a leader of the educational system for you and for the young Black kids that are under you?
We have to reemphasize how important education is to, at least, finish high school and compete in the global marketplace. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a college but it could be a career. It could be plumbing, electrician. We have to have a solid base. We have to build empathy with all our kids, service learning, giving back to our community, supporting each other. We have lost our way as a society in some aspects where the village is not as strong.
I remember being disciplined young by my neighbors or at least having a conversation with the neighbors. We lost our way in that aspect along with having a police force that has systematically been an issue since we came over. We when have slaves running away, police were the original people to go find slaves. Those are some of the different things that we have to understand from a systemic point of view about how we educate our kids and other kids but then also work to make sure our law enforcement is understanding and empathetic.
Is there a crisis for minority teachers? Do we need more Black teachers? What is being done to do that? Is there a website? Is there something we can do to get more Black teachers in schools?
Up in Minnesota, that has been a big issue. There’s research that suggests when a kid has a Black teacher or Black male in front of them, they tend to do better academically and socially. There has been a lot of recruitment that has a lot of human resources. We will go to HBCU to try to recruit down South or out East. That has been an effort. Maybe in Chicago. There are lots of efforts being made but still, education doesn’t pay well. Our educators need to be one of the highest-paid professions. You don’t get that entry point for a lot of our community and families or people like me. That’s tough.
Todd Finnell, when you watch that video, what was going through your head?
That is the 2020 version of what many or maybe even most Black people know as the talk. When you are growing up, your parents give you the talk. They run through the list of things to do or not to do to make sure that you come back home. I don’t have sons. I’ve got two daughters. The talk that I had with my daughters, they are old now but they remember the talk. That’s reality. You speak about it in terms of those experiences being in our nervous system.
It’s a part of our coping mechanism. It’s a part of how we have to operate to make sure that we come home at the end of the day. I would be very surprised if there were White families that sat around the dinner table and talked about the talk. I go back to the fact that White privilege is real. I thought I would share that video with you and help you understand the point I was trying to make.
We are not talking about this being a problem that Black people have to solve. This is a problem that all of us have to solve. Most importantly, White folks need to take more action than many or most Black people. It’s about understanding, accepting, operating from the heart, and acknowledging that we are on an uneven playing field.
I’ve never got that talk but I know that you’ve got a grandson.
I do. He is mixed race but at the end of the day, we know that mixed-race equals Black. At some point, when he’s ready, the talk will be had with him as well.
I have a godson who is of mixed race. His mother is constantly saying, “Those are the children that can change this.” I don’t know if that’s true or not but interracial marriage is way more prevalent than it ever was. I love watching you and your grandson. I know you love him to death. We always pray for his safety. Rafhael, tell me your thought on that video. What did that bring up for you?
Laws and actions don’t change until money gets disrupted.
I thought it was real talk. It’s a damn shame that parents have to do that but it’s real. The irony is if you don’t have those communications, we get George Floyd situations. If we took 100 Black people and asked them, “Were you surprised about what happened to George Floyd?” All of them would say no. If we ask the second question, “How many of you believe that the police officers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?” I question how many of them would say, “I believe that.” This is not new. We even had videotaped situations very similar to this and nothing happens. It’s a shame that you have to do that. Once you decide to have kids and you are a person of color, it has to happen.
I was sent another video of the exact same chokehold on another Black guy. I don’t know if he died or not. It is happening. The thought, which is the real question, is the fervor, the attention, the awakening is at an all-time high but in ten days when something happens, is it all just going to go back down? That’s what Obama was talking about. I said, “Does Joe Biden not understand the opportunity in front of him?” He should be on TV or any leader like Mayor Joe Hogsett. I’m sitting there going, “How can he not be on TV, in the middle creating things as a politician?” They’ve got to get votes and it’s Indiana. Maybe that’s the way it is.
One of my mentors is Trent Shelton. Trent’s got about seven million followers. Trent is a Black man. He is real. His message was, “If you are White, don’t do nothing. Doing nothing is not good. Number two, everybody, Black and White, it starts with you. When I become a grandfather, when they talk about George Floyd in 2020, I don’t want to look at them and say, ‘I didn’t do anything.’” That’s what hit me over the head. I said, “Trent, I need to get the Good Attitude Podcast going.”
I was up all night thinking about the format of this and the context. I hope that this is the start of something for a lot of people whoever is reading. You take this form and go interview people for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Halli, let’s finish with you. What did that video mean to you? A lot of your boys are out on the East Coast. You are like, “Is this going to be a conspiracy thing? What’s going on with that?” Clue me in a little bit what that conversation was about.
I received a talk very similar to that. I have boys myself. My two oldest are boys. I’m not going to say that I have talked to them like that. Their mothers tend to handle that. This is something that we shouldn’t have to talk about. I’m not blind to the fact. It’s just that it angers me to talk to my children like that. “Put your T-shirt on because you’ve got that beater on. You can’t drive around the corner to get something.” It isn’t right. I shouldn’t have to do that.
That’s not a free society.
It’s a lot of conspiracy theories going on. Everybody is like, “Is this show geared towards a conspiracy theory?” I’m like, “No. This is Black men telling their stories, things that happened to them, racial experiences.” I’m jumping to a different topic because there was something that stuck with me. The biracial kids are the kids that can save this or make a big change. There are lots of biracial kids in my family and I don’t necessarily agree with that. These young adults and social media is causing that change.
Racism has always been there. This has been happening forever but you have it on your TV. The thing is we know Black people were dying from cop killings but to sit there and watch it, that’s a totally different experience. To have that at the forefront is what’s going to cause this change. It isn’t just the mixed kids. It’s the fact that you have Black and White people doing it because it has been Black people protesting forever.
You have White people out there holding a Black Lives Matter sign. When you look at TV, sometimes more White people are out there protesting than Black people. You are in certain locations and you’ve got brothers out in California. You’ve got Hispanic brothers out there where a population has 2%, Black people. They are out there like, “We are tired of this.” You’ve got your brothers in Toronto and London. It’s the fact that we have this and we are seeing it live. That’s what’s going to be the change to this.
It’s the unmasking of racism. We all had our masks on. COVID hit, we’ve got our masks on but it’s time to unmask racism. Social media is doing it. George, Todd, Rafhael, and Allan, you served George Floyd’s remembrance in his life, in his memory, and the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that he was not able to talk very well.
I hope that you were inspired by whatever he brought to this show. I hope the 8:46 that you’ve got to speak changed a little bit of something in you but more importantly, I hope it changes everybody who reads this show. If you like what you have read, share this show. Send it to people that need to know it. Most of all, find these people on social media and thank them for putting their time in. George, Todd, Rafhael, and Allan, thank you so much for being here on the show. God bless you all. May your family stay very safe.