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Race and Racism Playlist:

It is very easy to discount the experiences of other people, especially when our experiences are very different and our relationships with them may already be strained by prejudice. And yes, people on all sides are casting out in anger because we want someone or something to blame for recent tragedies. But this is not a simple issue, it will never be simple. But there are very clear data showing that the criminal justice system values Black Americans differently than the average American. And that is a problem that must be confronted.

Thank you to Ashley Ford, Ahsante Bean, and Nathan Zed for looking over this script for me.


Black people are 2.5xmore likely to be killed by police. And unarmed black people 6x times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed white people:
(in the incessant debate, claims that if you look into the data you see a very different story invariably cherry pick data.)

Black people more likely to get plea deals with prison sentences:

A more granular study shows that Black people and Hispanics are more likely to have officers use force on them even when they are complying with law enforcement:

This study also found no difference in the use of lethal force, in the communities studied.

Black people face longer sentences for the same crimes in the same situations even when accounting for multiple violations, whether they had a public defender, their economic status, and whether they're on parole:

Police have difficult jobs and that some of the communities they are tasked with protecting are very dangerous. Many officers do not want to work in those communities, so it is difficult to find police officers to do that work. It is stressful work.

The fact that there is racial bias in the criminal justice system is not a condemnation of police. Police need to be obeyed and supported because laws are want make our society function. But there is racial bias and it should be admitted, confronted, and we should do our best to deal with it. Because our society has a belief that black lives matter less...which is why we stand and say Black Lives Matter.

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Good morning John.

This is one of those videos that you write fifteen times, and you still aren't happy with. But here goes.

After Christina Grimmie was murdered, I ran away from home. I went camping in a place where there was no cell service. I spent that time with my friends, not wanting to confront the reality that someone who shared my passions and ambitions had been killed doing what she loved, and something that I had just spent the last two weeks of my life doing.

Meeting fans after a show.

And, I spent that time crying and feeling the frailness of my own body in a way I never had before. Understanding how easy it is to have it all taken away.

That, I imagine, is similar to how every police officer in America felt after the shootings in Dallas. Looking at their family and knowing that they could be taken away. Not just in the course of doing their job, but because of what their job is. A difficult job, that is usually done well.
And now, the ones that have options of exploring other careers, maybe they're thinking this job isn't so worth it anymore.

And then I think of my neighbors and friends and fellow creators, who have felt the frailness of their own bodies for their whole lives. And the frailness of their children's and their parent's bodies. Not because of what they do but because of the color of their skin, because of who they are.

People who have lived their whole lives under that weight. Because they are more likely to be seen as a threat. Because they know that any insignificant little move that could be seen as a suspicious action could mean the end of them.

I can never fully understand that experience. But I can listen, and I be open, and I can do some research myself. Research that shows that a black person being arrested by a police officer is more likely to be shot, injured, pepper-sprayed, tased, and beaten. 

Research that shows that they are more likely to be convicted of crimes and get plea deals that involve prison sentences. And that shows that once convicted they are more likely to receive longer, harsher sentences than the average American.

We're promised that the law sees all of us equally. But we know that's not true.

We aren't that surprised when its a young white man that stands convicted of rape, that we hear from a judge about the loss of his future and the terrible tragedy of all of the opportunity that a harsh sentence would bring this person.

But when its a young black man convicted of selling pot going to jail, well... that's not that big of a deal.

We know this, we've seen this. It's in the experience of every black American I've talked to about this, and the data consistently shows it.

So when we say "black lives matter" we aren't just talking about Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, and Michael Brown, and Rekia Boyd, and Sandra Bland, and Tamir Rice.

We're talking about a fundamental, and deep-seated, and destructive belief in this country, that black lives matter less.

A belief that's expressed at every level of society but, as a white person, I could go my entire life completely ignorant of. But that black Americans are fully aware of, and made aware of, even as children.

To the black members of this community, thank you for being a part of what we're doing here. And thank you for your strength and your courage, and for sharing your experiences with us.

A while back John, you created a playlist of a bunch of different creators, sharing their perspectives and experiences on this stuff. And I've added to that, and I've put it down in the description.

We only get to have our one life through which to experience the world. And we're lucky to be able to have this platform through which
we can understand other people's experiences of the world.

So everybody, if you can, if you have time today, just take some time to listen.

Not to shout or judge or fight or dismiss or even comment. Just that most underappreciated verb in all of internet discourse.

Listen. It's not so bad.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.