Actor Matthew McConaughey has swapped Hollywood for education this week in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
The Dallas Buyers Club star came face-to-face with former National Football League player Emmanuel Acho on his show, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
At just 13-minutes, the footage packs a powerful punch as it forces white people to question how they can help black people and steer us all more towards equality.
When quizzed about why he wanted to take part in the interview, Matthew explained he was hoping to “learn, share and listen” on his mission to understand on a deeper level.
He continued: “I’m here to discuss some common grounds between us but also expose differences between us. I’m here to have a conversation, hopefully promote more conversation, with the end goal being that we take the time we are now in to constructively turn the page in history through some righteous and justifiable change.”
Acho then opens the discussion saying he is often asked what the correct term for black people is, before he tells McConaughey the simple and short answer is “black”.
He explained: “It’s not only most accurate, it’s also least offensive.
“There’s some black people that don’t identify as being African because that heritage got stripped from them during slavery.”
McConaughey responds by asking how he can do better as a white man, to which Acho says he has to acknowledge there is a problem in order to take more ownership.
Acho said: “You have to acknowledge implicit bias, you have to acknowledge that you’ll see a black man and for whatever reason, you would view them as more of a threat than the white man – probably because society told you to.”
He then reveals that that there is evidence to show that two people, with the same CV and applying for the same role, proves that the person with the white sounding name is twice as likely to get a call back than the person with the black sounding name.
Acho believes that if we can take action as individuals, we will go on to see change as the “individuals affect the houses and the houses affect the cities and the cities affect the states and the states affect the nation and the nation affects the world.”
He also drew comparisons to the coronavirus pandemic, saying right now we have to focus on this illness as it is killing people, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care about cancer or HIV or other diseases. Similarly, this is why focusing on the ‘black lives matter’ movement does not undermine the importance of ‘all lives matter’, but it is black people who are being killed right now which is why they need the globe’s attention.
The pair also debated equality and how it remains an issue in America in the wake of slavery, with systemic injustice, poor school systems, and voter suppression.
Their moving discussion premiered on Tuesday via YouTube and has already amassed more than 150,000 views at the time of publication.
Protests are continuing around the world with many changes now being activated, including Minneapolis – the city where Floyd died – banning police from choke holds.