Emmanuel Acho is a rising star in the sports media and he took to Twitter Monday with a video addressing the current racial tensions in America called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Acho’s tweet begins, “Dear white people, for days you’ve asked me what you can do to help. I’ve finally found an answer. Let your guard down and listen.”
In the nearly 10 minute segment that followed, Acho, a former standout linebacker at The University of Texas and current contributor to ESPN’s Morning show Get UP! (though it was announced in May that he will be leaving for FS1), addresses questions posed to him by his White friends.
“I fervently believe that if the White person is your problem, only the white person can be the solution,” Acho said. “So this is made for you my white brothers and sisters, so that you can increase your level of understanding, so you can increase your level of compassion and lead ultimately to change.”
Throughout the video, Acho addresses four questions: Why are Black People rioting instead of peaceful protests? Why does white privilege exist?, How come you can say the N-word and we can’t?, and How come Black people care more about white on Black crime than Black on Black crime?
To answer each question, Acho offers an explanation and then an example. For the issue of rioting, Acho says, “I don’t condone rioting and I’m sure you don’t either, because for the most part Black people who are looting and rioting destructively are destroying their own homes. But when you think about the five different stages of grief. You come up to one stage, anger. Sometimes emotions don’t know their actions. I remember my Mom when I was a child, she lost her sister. I just remember her yelling and screaming and throwing herself into a wall. Throwing yourself into a wall is not going to change anything. You are actually harming yourself, but sometimes pain and hurt, it does not know how to express itself.”
Acho used similar methodology to answer the other three questions and it resonated with many people on Twitter. As of Tuesday morning, the video has received nearly 871,000 views, over 30,000 likes, 14,000 retweets and over 1000 comments. Many of those retweets came from Acho’s ESPN colleges like Jim Mora Jr. and Dan Orlovsky but they also came from Indy Car driver Pippa Mann and Kansas City Chiefs Defensive End Alex Okafor, among many others.
Acho says he hopes the video is the first of many as he looks to make Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man a recurring feature. He did not go into any detail about when the next video will be posted, but he does invite viewers to leave questions for him to answer, calling it a safe space where they can educate themselves.
“The only way we can solve this issue,” Acho concludes, “Is by exposure, education, compassion and empathy.”