Brow Beat

Killer Mike Gives Sage Advice on How White People Can Build Empathy on Colbert

As a person of color, it can get really exhausting trying to explain to white people that systemic inequalities persist for non-white people in America, and will continue to do so if the nation as a whole pretends that they don’t. There’s nothing fun about pointing out that many Americans who are not white struggle to survive on a day-to-day basis for reasons beyond their control, and then being countered with knee-jerk responses like “ALL lives matter,” or “I don’t see color.”

Thankfully, there are prominent public figures like Killer Mike who appear not to get bogged down by the weight of explaining things to white people; the rapper has parlayed his musical clout into a career that also involves political activism and speaking out about racism in particular. Mike appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week for the sole purpose of speaking to these issues, and while it’s very brief, he was able to sum up, in a nutshell, some crucial advice for white people on how to improve race relations for everybody. (Among the tips: Hang out at a black barbershop, and vote for Bernie Sanders, “someone who is directly out of the philosophy of [Martin Luther King’s] nonviolence”.)

There are longer, more in-depth Killer Mike conversations about race that you can easily find online, but in case you don’t have the time (or patience) to get through to your well meaning but ultimately ignorant white friend on your own, show them this video. At the very least, it might just inspire in them a wee bit of empathy towards people of color—and as has been proven before, empathy really goes a long way.