Welcome, welcome, welcome to this beautiful bonus episode of armchair expert I'm DAX Shepard, I'm joined by Monica Mouse. Hello.
Hello. Very happy to be here on this bonus episode. Oh, I love Bunny episode. Me too. They're the greatest. Now, today we have a manual. Acho a manual. Acho is a former linebacker who played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles and is currently working as an analyst for Fox Sports.
One, I encourage everyone to go to uncomfortable combo's dotcom, which is where Emanuel has some really hard conversations. And those videos are entitled Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. And he has a new book of the same title, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. I encourage everyone to search it out. We had a great time talking with Emanuel, so we hope you enjoy Emanuel Acho on these bonus episodes.
We love to support some of our favorite black owned businesses. So today I'd like to tell you about a place called SoPE Distillery.
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So it's the holidays, as you know, and it is a good opportunity to support some black owned businesses and buying holiday gifts, which is what I'm going to do. I'm going to go to post twenty one, which is a comprehensive marketplace that focuses on modern and design for products from black owned businesses and a mother daughter duo started. It is awesome. So you can just go to their website post twenty one shop dot com. That's Posti two one s h o p dot com and then curate.
It's kind of a one stop shop. I love it. He's in our.
Party time, let's go. What's up, people?
Well, we're not normally early recorders, so I think this is only out of two hundred and sixty some interviews that we've done before, 11 a.m. So get your expectations nice.
And, you know, I feel you I'm not usually an early anything but duty calls.
Yes. So what's your schedule like right now? You're obviously you're busy with football.
Yeah, man, every day I host a daily show from 12 to two out here, and so every morning got a production call from like seven to nine a.m., the whole show rundown down. Then you do the show and then Zoome calls talking to companies and just craziness. Yeah.
So Emmanual just right out of the gate, I saw something interesting about your background. Both parents immigrated here. Yeah. Yeah. Both from Nigeria. And how old were they when they came over here.
So Mom and Pops, they would have been roughly like twenty nine and like twenty five pops came over because he was a preacher. And so like these American evangelists saw him in Nigeria and we're like, yo, come to America and start preaching. So he comes over. Then Mom comes over two years later. But when you come to the States, all your schooling is essentially null and void in America. Right. Mom, I have to go back to get her nurse practitioners degree.
Dad had to go back to get his Ph.D. and the rest is history.
Yeah, I've had a lot of cab rides from Russian guys who told me they were oncologist's or Dennis back in Russia. And that may or may not be true. I'm not sure. There's no way for me to know.
It may or may not be true. And did you guys go straight to Texas?
So my parents went to Liberty and Virginia, OK, then they had my older sister. She was born in Virginia and then they moved to Dallas. And so the rest of the three siblings, me, my brother, my other sister, we're all from Dallas. So I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, which has a very specific culture. If if I'm to believe Friday Night Lights.
Yes. I would say that Texas in general, football and the Bible Belt and big hair like that, that's what you're going to get from Texas. Yeah. How did your parents feel about you pursuing football? I have to imagine it's so complicated, A, you're aware of the odds. I imagine if you're a parent, you're maybe fearful of the safety, although not like we would be today. How supportive were they?
Well, so in and in Nigeria, football is that black and white object that you kick right. Is what should America call soccer? And then also, you have to remember Nigerian culture, Nigerian culture. You must be a doctor. You must be a lawyer. You must be an engineer. Yeah. I went to this affluent all white high school private school from grades five through 12. It's lower school, middle school and upper school. You're supposed to be like a national merit scholar, a person in the class above me, one, you know, ESPN's National Spelling Bee.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, there was there was a kid named Sideburn Terry who went to my school who won that in like eighth grade. I'm a kid in my class, got a perfect on the SAT and act.
So I'm like underachiever galore. It is all boys like college prep school. But I ended up being six to two hundred and forty pounds. I was like, you know what, I guess I'll play football.
Well, look, you're you're talking to Monica, who's first generation Indian. So, you know, she too, with her 4.0 is a major until she threw five in her class.
You're a big loser. And the notion that she pursued acting instead of medicine. What a what a twist. What a shame. Shame on it.
No. So my parents, they had to kind of like, come on board with this whole athlete thing.
You're not you know, there's no NFL in Nigeria. There's, you know, the Nigerian football team, but there's no professional sports league. So my parents were all just kind of like going along for the ride with their two sons. But my older brother, he played in the league for nine years as well. Yeah, it's not a part of the conventional American dream.
The conventional American dream is I'm going to come here. I'm going to give my children this great educational opportunity and that's how they will rise. So, yeah, I just can't imagine it was ever something they even considered.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you got to think like they really were just trying to put us in the best educational position to succeed. My older sister went to a school called Hockaday All Girls School. She was there from grade like seven to 12. Then me and my brother go to this super expensive private school. So my parents were all education, education, education.
Like my mom went back and got her doctorate at age like fifty two, no shell, which is why I'm like, I can't underachieve. I, I'm not allowed to.
What were the doctorates in, if you don't mind my asking.
So my dad has a Ph.D. in psychology and my mom has her doctorate in nurse practice.
OK, they're all mental health. Physical health. Yeah.
I can't imagine anything more pleasurable to see than if they did get infected with Texas football and then being at the game and going berserk while you're playing. I just feel like that would be something I'd want to witness.
There is nothing better than a hyped up Nigerian father son.
You got get to like there's nothing better than that. I was going to have one of those football rattles the soccer.
Man, there's nothing like my dad only missed one football game while I was at Texas Homer away, so out of probably fifty four games, he only ever missed one. And I know he only ever missed one because he only ever missed one. Yeah, right. Right.
It's crazy how committed and dedicated my parents were to now just like seeing us see me and my brother succeed at something else. They're like OK, it's not Accademia fine. It's the NFL.
OK, so just really quickly, my father came to one game of mine and I stole the ball basketball and I ran down court and I was in a full panic around half court because it was just the cleanest break imaginable. And then I laid it up from about six feet and didn't even hit the rim.
I'm shocked I hit the backboard and that was the one game. So I think in his defense, he's like, I'm not coming back to see this.
No, I'm bad luck and I shouldn't be doing you a favor. I was just like, oh, my God, he's here. He's watching. There's no fucking way I can make this layup all by myself.
But honestly, sometimes nothing is worse than a breakaway layup by yourself. Oh, the plays that are too easy. The hardest to make.
Yeah, I would rather try to fucking throw it in from half court. I just want to add. So Monica similarly hurt. Your dad got really into cheer, right.
Yeah, I was a cheerleader and they changed two times. Tradition cheering big deal. And Beadie. And there's some images of us winning that really expensive.
There's Suy there. He's in all the gear. He's holding a pom pom, I think.
Well, I just always try to compare it to like I don't know, I try to think of myself moving somewhere where there be a ton of culture shock. Right. So I'm just trying to think of some crazy sport. I could, like, move my family to China and then watch my daughters do something good.
That's, you know, it would be like if you moved to India and they got into cricket. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wouldn't even know what a good play was. But if I saw everyone cheering mean how the fuck my kids figure this is so weird.
Now, I'm curious because we're going to talk about and I'm putting this in quote, Race is a term that I generally reject from my schooling.
I have to imagine you have like a two layer experience with being black in this country, one being the fact that your parents were immigrants.
And I have to imagine there's a lot of ways that could go, but they can be extra delicate and really feel like we're visitors and we want to mind our PS and Qs. They might even explain some racism by it being xenophobia. Like, I just have to imagine it was maybe a complicated education on race in America. In Dallas, Texas. Yeah.
I mean, people don't realize this and I haven't talked a lot about this publicly, but we have to understand there's a huge difference between color and culture.
You can be black skin and not be black culture. You can be white skin and not be white culture. I grew up black, obviously lived my whole life black, but I grew up Nigerian culture. So I was eating goat meat. I was eating rice and stew. We were going to Nigerian small groups. I was listening to Nigerian gospel music growing up. My culture through and through was Nigeria. It was not black culture. Then I go to this white high school and middle school and so I'm all white culture.
So now I'm a combination of Nigerian culture and white culture, those still black and white culture, Nigerian culture. Well, now my dad starts pastoring at a church in inner city Dallas, Texas, low in the hood. And so now I'm immersed in black culture on Wednesdays and Sundays. Then I go play football with Texas and in the NFL and immersed in black culture again. So first off, black people aren't one sort of like monolithic group, which is all group think.
But my experience particularly was trilingual tri culture because it was Nigerian and it was black culture and it was white culture. Yeah. I also would imagine you get hit with, quote, black culture increasingly when you go to college. But then once you get to the NFL, I have to imagine now this is yet its own microcosm. Yeah, yeah.
Man, the NFL is different because in college you have several different types of black culture. My experience in Texas, you got black dudes from the country, black dudes from the hood, black dudes from the city, and then black dudes like me from we got them Karl Malone types like cowboy hats and black.
Like you got. So you bro you got all types in Texas, but then you got to the NFL and now with its black culture, with money. And so for me a lot of it was a learning process too, because of the first generation American. My parents never talk to me about racism. Why would they have to? Racism doesn't exist in Nigeria, right. Everybody's black there. So you come to America and you're like, wait a second, why am I being treated differently?
Is it because of my accent? Is it because I'm black? Oh, now it's because both.
That is what I'm saying. Yeah, it seems like a. Be hard to pinpoint why you were getting attitude from somebody, correct? So now is because I talk funny in quotes and then also because I'm black. So my parents actually never talk to me about race and racism. I have to learn on the fly. Nigeria got different issues, but like race is not one of the issues they got in Nigeria.
So classism, I would imagine. I'm just trying to imagine what your parents were cognizant of transcending as they got here, classism.
Yes, I think classism transcends the world at large. There's so many things involved when one says classism.
Right. Because classism typically dictates education, which also typically dictates stereotypes of how one dresses and what not. So classism in and of itself is because what does classism mean? You know, classism have implications on. Well, that's why the book is so great as it distinguishes between that is like classism is something you can theoretically migrate out of or into, you know, and a caste you can't migrate. Exactly right. OK, so you've got to be a from UT by the way, Austins, our favorite city in the world, eh.
I'm so jealous that you got to matriculate there. You can call it that.
How often where you have Barton Springs.
Dude, I wasn't really a big water guy. A little giants muscular.
I'm not a big water guy.
I probably went to Barton Springs five times in my ten years living in Austin for Barton Springs, I guess like it stays at like sixty five degrees. So I'm definitely not a big cold water. Sure.
But the grassy banks, there's a lot of great people watching Wenke less so now Nood in my life later Austin years I would ride around Town Lake and I would go on like the bike trails, like the ten mile bike trails. But I'm like me and water.
Yeah. We just kind of like oil and water. Right. That does seem like you had some awareness to have aspirations that would either begin or simultaneous to your football career. Were you conscious of it while you were pursuing football? Like at best case? This is a fifteen year experience. I got to have a backup plan or or was it just interest driven through?
That's a great question. I was never conscious of like, oh, I got to go to the NFL. I went to this school where you literally go to Yale and Harvard. You don't even go D one for my high school. So now I'm doing that. And then I'm in Texas by my sophomore year, everybody's like, oh, yeah, you're going to go to the league, you're going to go to the League of the League. So I'm like, OK.
Then I realized, OK, I'm going to the NFL before that realization.
What what did you have your sights set on? Obviously, you've ended up getting a master's in psychology.
So I'm young for my grade. So my sophomore year in college I would have been eighteen. When you're eighteen, you're just kind of like, oh, I'm just I'm just going I don't know, you know, like you're not planning ahead. You're just going with the flow like any other eighteen year old.
So I'm just trying to make good grades, stay out of trouble, get my degree in sports management and play football. I do this football thing, but I'm not cognizant of like a five year or ten year plan. Sure.
Did your parents pass on a healthy though fear of failure, like where you operating at all with like. Oh I got to I got to make sure. No, it's funny.
When I played for the Philadelphia Eagles, my coach said, and I think this is a Navy SEAL Sloggett don't operate from a fear of failure, but rather a desire to excel.
That's the dream. That doesn't mean we all achieve.
So I never really operated out of a fear of failure. I'm just like, I got to be great. I got to be great. Whatever the heck it is, if I'm to do it, I'm going to try to do it excellently.
Mm hmm. It was really just if you don't play football, be the best. You don't write a book, be the best, whatever the heck you're going to do, be the best. So you play in the NFL was enjoyable. Did you like it?
I liked the camaraderie of it. I didn't love the league. So here's what people don't get about the NFL. Unless you are the star quarterback, unless you're the star receiving star running back, it's really not that glamorous. There are fifty three people on the roster. If you were anywhere from 30 to fifty three, your job could be gone in a moment's notice. But put it like this. I got cut five times before I was twenty five.
I got traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Philadelphia Eagles at the age of twenty two. So put that in working terms for those listening. I got hired because I got drafted by the Browns, then they got transferred because I got traded to the Eagles. Then I got fired five times before I was twenty five. Like imagine me moving from Austin, Texas to Cleveland by myself, don't know anybody. And then you get traded to Philly and you also don't know anybody and then you get cut five times.
It's not a glamorous life.
I similarly got told no until I was twenty nine is the first time they hired me to act. So yeah, I know. It's like the movie Somewhere in fucking shit, the bed for a decade. It's brutal. It's tough. So so I liked it. I did it and it led me to where I am. Yeah. And, you know, made good money, good platform, met a lot of cool people. But dude, I also got hurt seven out of eight year, four years college, four years pro.
So like I do the math, I'm like, OK, there's an 80 percent chance I'm going to get hurt if I play again. You know what? I'm going to stop. So my fourth year in the NFL, I realized, OK, wait a second, you just broke your thumb. You might be done after four years in the NFL. You're vested pension annuity. You have all the benefits. So I started texting my producer in Austin Longhorn Network.
It's like a subsidiary of ESPN. Hey, this offseason, can I do some work for you? Hey, I'd love to do signing day. I'd love to do spring game. I did it for free again. People work for free. It's not a bad thing. Work for free at times. So I did it for free. And at the end of that little four month run, she offered me a job. That's when I was like, oh, do I want to go back and play in the NFL?
And I finally made the decision, like, now I'm good. And I just moved in the commentary.
That's got to be a hard decision now. The hardest. The hardest.
I said this. I would play for three teams, the Dallas Cowboys from Dallas, the Philadelphia Eagles, because that's why I was playing or the Chicago Bears because my brother played in Chicago. So, again, true story. It's August. I got a text from the Cowboys. Hey, Emmanuel, can you come to Oxnard, California? We want to work you out. I'm sick. I'm literally, like, mentally sick. I'm like, I don't want to play football anymore.
But this is one of the three teams I said I would play for. So I text my age and I was like my my broadcast agent. I said, I don't know what I do. If they try to sign me, I go to the workout. And I walked into the cafeteria at six a.m. before my workout and I see on their whiteboard in the cafeteria, wake up five thirty, a breakfast, six day offensive meeting six thirty, a practice, eight a.m..
And I was like, I don't want to live this life anymore. So I go to the workout. Thankfully, I don't get signed. Two weeks later, I get a text at eleven thirty pm from the Buffalo Bills. Emmanuel, this is so-and-so with the Buffalo Bills. We want to bring you in for a workout. I don't respond to the text. You text me again. Hey, I need your driver's license, Social Security number. We want to book your flight.
I don't respond to the text. I text my agent.
Hey, I'm done. Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.
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Now, you launch on a very successful career as a broadcaster, you're at ESPN for a while, you're at now FOX currently, at what point do you decide I'm going to start talking about racial injustice. I'm going to start what you have started, which is uncomfortable conversations with a black man, which I've watched several of. By the way, people can go to uncomfortable combo's dotcom and check it out.
How did you decide you wanted to also be doing that?
I am action and solution oriented. What I've realized in life is I do not like complaining about things without doing something to fix them. If I feel like I'm out of shape, my abs ain't poppin like they used to. I'm a go do some ads and I'm a go start eating some salads and lay off these desserts. Right. Like if I feel like I don't like the way I look, I'm going to go get a haircut, I'm going to go buy one workout, I'm going to fix my problem, not just complain about it.
So in twenty sixteen, Colin Kaepernick starts taking a knee. There was so much unrest, so much. I said, you know what, I'm going to gather the cops in Austin, Texas, the chief of police, Art Acevedo. And I'm going to gather like four influential figures in Austin. I got an Olympic athlete, an NFL player and myself. And we all sat down and we live stream this round hall. This is in twenty sixteen.
This was prior to George Floyd, but this was after Trayvon Martin, et cetera. And was the topic specifically taking a knee and Kaepernick? Yes.
The topic was like, why is what's happening in our world happening in our world? Because I said, this is my job to influence my domain. I've been in Austin. Let me handle Austin, the influential figures in L.A. You'll handle L.A., influential figures in Chicago. You'll handle Chicago. I'm going to handle mine. That was twenty sixteen. I didn't really do anything again until twenty twenty until after George Floyd was murdered. And what I've realized is that this was my form of grief.
I, like so many other people, particularly black people, were distraught, like I was pacing around my house not knowing what to do. I was like, I don't know if I want to cry. I don't know if I want to scream. I don't know what to do. So I said, OK, OK, so what the heck is a problem? What is the problem in our society?
And I realized, wait a second, I know white people and I know black people. And the problem is there is a communication barrier. Black people are saying something and white people aren't understanding it and white people are saying something and black people aren't understanding it. What do I mean? I went to Mexico in twenty eighteen and I was running to the grocery store in Mexico and I was looking for some hamburgers and I was yelling like hamburgers. Hamburgers can not help you find hamburger.
I'm going to attempt to start. And then finally they're looking at me confused to say I'm like hamburgers. I start getting louder. Hamburgers, they're looking at me. Can you mind me getting one lap room? Probably should. I probably should have, but I did.
So finally, I get service on my phone and I type in English, the Spanish translation hamburger and I see that the word is hamburger safe. And so the second I say no, I guess they're like, oh, I'll four. And in our society that's the same problem we have because you have black brothers and sisters crying out oppression and racial injustice, systematic injustice, inequality. And it's like, what do you mean? And so we start getting louder.
Oppression, racism, systematic injustice. We're being discriminated against. You got some white people. So I'm like, wait a second. There is a communication barrier, just like the same communication barrier I had in a grocery store in Mexico. There's one right now. I have to do something. My voice is my sore.
So in episode nine, you sit down with a ton of police officers. I don't know. There's got to be thirty plus in the room and some. I love that you pointed out I happened to be into a sport which is heavily populated with the blue lives matter of flags. And one of the officers kind of asked what your feeling about blue lives matter flags were. And that was something maybe I felt viscerally, but I wouldn't have been able to articulate, would you?
I don't want to steal your good point from you.
Tell us when anyone says blue lives matter in response to Black Lives Matter, it makes me feel as though we're missing the point. To save that one life matters is to assert that historically that life had mattered. Right? To say that blue eyes matters to a certain. And historically we don't think cops lives matter when we have never treated historically in this country, cops lives as if they don't matter. That would be to historically assert is that we haven't treated cops as if their lives mattered.
But in America we have historically literally treated black people's lives as if they don't matter. Three fifths of a person slavery. All men are created equal. But when we said all men are created equal, we were not talking about black men. We were not talking about black women. We were not talking about women. So historically in this country, we have said that black people's lives do not matter. So when we say that black. Lives matter, all we are doing is making sure you were talking about us, because when we said all men are created equal, you aren't talking about us.
So when you say all lives matter, are you talking about us or not? So let's just make sure that we leave no room for error. So when I hear blue lives matter in response to that, I just think that it is kind of a naive or ignorant statement. Yeah, I agree.
In my experience on planet Earth, everyone takes the death of a police officer very seriously and they may seem to be investigated very, very thoroughly. I think the conviction rate and prosecution rate for someone who kills a police officer is quite high. And I think, obviously you have history of like, you know, in Compton there being a serial killer that preys on young black women and no one even recognizes as a serial killer. So, yeah, historically, they're really not comparable.
Now, you're ready for my critique. Talk to me, because I think they were in an interesting position. They're under the spotlight.
They're also public officials. Their jobs depend on how they present themselves in public. So they're not really unhandcuffed as I would be in maybe really getting some of the harder topics out there, which is clearly the goal of your show. Uncomfortable conversations. I think you have the very admirable goal of creating a safe space where we can actually ask these hard questions that people are afraid to ask in public. But I guess one thing I thought of is you compared that if a surgeon commits malpractice, they'll lose their license.
But I would say these cops in America have been asked to deal with at the very end of the river our hardest problems to solve. So they're dealing with mental illness. They're dealing with homelessness. They're dealing with addiction. They're dealing with domestic violence against women. These are all societal problems that we have not solved. And we asked them to go out there and deal with all the horrendous outcome of that. I think that first it has to be acknowledged that they're being asked to do way too much exactly what one of the officers said.
They show up to a call. There's a naked woman. There's a man holding a baseball bat. They get a lot of really complicated decisions to make in about five seconds. Yeah, I think I would say a couple of things. The issue at hand that's I think is really the lack of prosecution and the lack of punishment fitting the crime. It's not the errors occur because as you said, as you heard with the cops and as I know is we know errors are going to occur.
There's human error, there are human issues, but it's when errors do occur, does the punishment fit the crime? And far too often, the punishment does not fit the crime, which is why I love talking to those officers. Again, those y'all can watch the episode on my YouTube, but one of the officers was like, no, I honestly, I don't think that there is enough accountability and police force. The thing is, we have to be real.
There's a time for everything. There's a time to mourn. There's a time to celebrate. There's a time to rejoice. There's a time to cry.
Now is not the time in our climate to look for excuses in the midst of this murder. That's the real issue. Now, if I have to address the situation, I'm like, OK, wait a second. People are being killed unjustly. Yes, cops are human. I'm going to get to this humanity. But I'm also going to try to get to the root of is there accountability for people being killed unjustly? Are cops being asked to do a lot?
Yes. Which is why defund the police, which actually doesn't mean defund the police. It actually means reallocate the funds of the police. And you said in my episode, which is why that's actually wise. But I think there's a time for everything. And my platform is really just the time of let me try to find solutions. Everything you're saying I agree with cops are human. What?
Yeah. Yeah. I guess what I'm saying is I agree with you. There's this huge communication barrier and in my experience, both in relationships and just in life is the better. You can present what they're going through to start. They're like, hey, you know what I recognize I'm not the one being asked to show up to the fucking lottery when I walk through the door of someone's house. I don't know if there's going to be three guns in there.
I don't know. So let me just start by saying you guys are being asked to deal with shit that no human on planet Earth is really qualified to do it. Also, there's just a ton of statistics. You guys are prosecuting more. The sentences are longer. You're pulling over, you know, like I know what you're going through. And also now we got to confront this really lopsided bit of statistics that are not on everyone's side.
So this is how I approach it. I try to get the listener to hear what you're saying without me telling them. I asked the cops during the episode. I said, are you scared when you pull up to the scene of a crime? Like I want the listener to understand their humanity. I ask the cops, do you lose your humanity when you put on the badge? We had a retired officer on set and I asked him, how do you feel now that you're no longer in the force?
His response was crazy.
I can finally sleep at night. Yeah, I get to work out again. Yeah, like when you listen to that DAX, now you understand, oh, they're human too, because, sure, I can tell the listener or the cop could tell the listener, but it hits harder when a cop who's retired is like, yeah, I finally can sleep again.
I can finally work out I'm healthy again. Yeah. When we do pull up to the scene, there are things that go through our head. Like I asked him, I said, are you more worried about getting some calls than others? And he's like, yeah, when we're listening to the radio and we hear some call come through, we're like, like here we hold bikes closer to this scene.
Or even my favorite part was when he said he said, look, that the surgeon, the neurosurgeon can practice. He said, but we go through training for one situation, then we pull up to the scene. The woman is naked and the man is holding a baseball bat. You can't train for that role. Play that one.
Exactly. So that that's how I try to approach it. I try to let the listener infer the cop's humanity because I think that's a better way for them to digest it.
The most saddening and troubling thing to me is just to your earlier point, just how both sides just cannot hear one another and are convinced that the each side has complete contempt for one another and those factions certainly exist. Maybe I'm optimistic. I think the more general population of us doesn't have contempt for one another or doesn't desire to have contempt for one another.
And I think we also we have to do a better job, I think, of trying to let our emotions at times after a while subside. And let's take a step back and look at things that George Floyd situation. I've said this from day one. I don't think it was exclusively racially motivated. George Floyds murder. I think it was power and I think it was race. I believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I don't think it was just like, OK, he is a black man.
George Floyd is I'm going to kneel on his neck. I think it was a combination of I have power and absolute power and therefore it has led to corruption. And I think it is also subliminally, I view him as less than and in these surroundings, there are black people who I also view as less than telling me to get off. You're not going to tell me the authoritative figure what to do. So I think there are several factors at play.
Race definitely involved, power also involved. We have to understand all factors that are currently at play in our society, but it's hard to understand them if you don't understand the culture.
Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, I'm with you. I bring this up often. I think the people on my side of the political spectrum, which is the left, do a very bad job of branding. So defund the police is the most triggering scary concept for people to just be told two words or three, whereas allocate money for specialists preventative measures, provide opportunities for the crime rate goes down. These are all wonderful concepts and I just feel like we fucked up with what we branded it.
Or you have to remember, bro, in this day and age, what's the coolest hashtag right hashtag?
Reallocate funds for the police does not sound as good. It just it just doesn't have the same ring to it.
But we also, I think in general, as people were lazy, I think we use lazy adjectives. I think we're lazy with our word choice and we're lazy with how we digest information. Right. I heard from the police and I was like, huh? Then I was like, let me start Googling.
Oh, wait, is that right from the police? Doesn't actually mean, like, abolish the police. That's not what's being say. Right. And that's why when I asked the cops about these from the police, he was like, yeah, I love it. He was like, if you can have somebody else do some of the stuff we have to do, I'd be ecstatic, he said. But the problem is the social worker can't show up to the scene.
If there's a knife there, we got to show up to the scene. So he's like, if you can have somebody, if you can get the social worker or somebody else to do it, by all means.
Yeah. And even more importantly, let's go a little upstream and think of some ways we could prevent anyone having to arrive in these situations.
You know, I said this man, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Yeah. We have to do a better job being proactive instead of reactive. If we did a better job of verbally disarming, then we wouldn't have to discharge the weapons.
Yeah, I mean, well, the outcome we have is is terrible. And to just hope on a prayer that it'll change without some drastic change on our side is just a little naive. By the way, I adore you and love your show. I feel compelled to say that first. And and I applaud everything you're about. Do you think you gave a fair answer to the cop saying when we pull people over now, the first thing we hear is you're only pulling us over because we're black.
And so they're starting in a situation where it's like they may have a very legitimate thing to have pulled the person over from.
And now both parties have taken on this huge, weighty. Context of what's happening in life, it's not fair to either of the parties. What do we do about that part?
As far as a fair Amsler? I think I gave I would say I gave an honest answer, fair, I think would be subjective. It's like in our society at this point, there's a fracture between black people and police officers, particularly white police officers. So just like in any relationship, if there was a fracture between significant others and there had been infidelity, then yeah, when you leave to go hang out with your boys, you might get questioned a little bit harder than if there was no fracture and the relationship.
And so now, because there's a fracture between black people and officers, if a cop shows up, there's going to be a visceral reaction.
Well, it's a very justified fear.
Yeah, exactly. Because of what currently exists. So my response was knowledge is power. So it behooves officers to understand why this response is existing and that this response is existing so that the cop can now best navigate the situation as well. Because that's why I love talking to the cops or those, again, that haven't seen the episode. I talked to Philadelphia police officers. Petaluma is a population of sixty thousand in California, less than one percent black.
The first question I ask the officers, when's the last time you sat down with a group of black people? The resounding answer was, I don't know that I ever have or had someone over for dinner or have someone over for dinner.
That is my favorite quote is that you said. Yeah, I said proximity breeds care and distance breeds fear.
So if you never sat down with a group of black people or a black person and your first interaction with the black person is when you're pulling them over, how you think that's gonna go. You know, like you said, y'all are both set up for failure.
It'd be like having a blind date in a porta potty, dude. Like, let's start this as bad as we can. How do you expect it to go? And again, although we both speak English is different.
I'll tell you all this. I went to an all boys middle school and high school when I went to college. Yes, men and women both speak English. Yes, boys and girls both speak English.
But you have to relate to a woman differently than you do a man. You act differently around them in an all boys school. I don't care what I smell like, what I like, what I dress like. I don't care how aggressive I am. It does matter. But so if you have to relate to different people differently and you're cognizant about that in life, how then do you think you can maximally do your job as an officer if you're relating to somebody you've never a group of people you've never even talked to.
So that's really just how I try to have that conversation.
I think I accumulated a couple of criticisms from Maximus Mouse here in my questioning. Did I do want to do me a little bit?
No, I think he got it. OK, OK, I'll handle you.
I can feel that our biochemistry was interacting a little bit with this question and I could feel it.
Well, are some like big elephants in the room on this topic that no one's really talking about peacefully and respectfully on both sides? I'm kind of forced to be in the position where I'm going to have to give basically not even my opinion. But, you know, one of the things that I hear from folks that are more conservative or I don't know what what group we did arbitrarily put them in. But, you know, there's a lot of people living in very high crime rate areas that desperately want the police to be getting rid of guns.
They want them to be getting rid of theft. And profiling is very problematic. So you have this really incredibly hard. It's not one side's super right in the others blatantly wrong. It's like, well, this is a very complicated situation. How do we deal with a very high crime rate area with the goal of reducing crime and also not profiling?
Well, you know, what's interesting is that our society has told us that a certain group commits crimes at a higher rate. But I like drawing parallels to relationships because everybody can understand relationships. If you look for something, you go find it. And other white people commit less crimes than black people. It's that white people are less policed than black people. Big time. Yeah, like big does not by my opinion. And I've also had conversations with chiefs of police who were saying, well, we try to serve this neighborhood more so we send more officers to that neighborhood.
Oh, wait a second. You're just saying that you over policing this neighborhood.
And again, I elaborate on that in my book. It's like black people are just more overpoliced. And so because you're more overpoliced and that was more talked about in the media. Now, our world has left us to believe that, oh, black people are more likely to commit crimes when in all honesty, all high violent crimes are interracial. Blacks kill blacks, whites kill whites, Hispanics kill Hispanics.
But that's just not what the world tells. Well, and any time there is zero opportunity, crime rate goes up, it's also a very much part of the extreme income inequality in this country. You know, I'm from an area in Michigan that had a very distinct people below the poverty line, white. Those were always the people you saw on the side of the road getting pulled over. Those were always where the cop cars were patrolling those neighborhoods. You know, they were very much focusing on the low income people that by their estimation, whether it is right or wrong, more crime was happening.
So I think opportunity is a huge aspect. I don't think for one second any ethnicity has a a monopoly on crime. I think all things being equal, where there's not opportunity, where there's mass addiction rates, you see a lot of crime, but it still leaves us with the problem.
So from my armchair expert position preventions, the thing we've not explored with the full weight of this government or the full will of the people, that's the thing that I think I would most like to see implemented. And then you can almost have the conversation. OK, well, we've done everything on the prevention side. Let's look at the equation. Where we at what results are we producing now? We have to figure out something to further perfected.
And if you're using your equation and opportunity or lack thereof equals crime, then it's all about growing opportunities because I agree with you. So now what are we growing opportunities? But if we don't acknowledge in this country that there is an inequality around opportunities, then we can never get to the root. That's where the pain is. If we're looking and saying what's the crime issue? What's at the root of the crime issue? And if the root of the crime issue is opportunity, then we have to allow for more opportunities for everyone.
But some people think that there's not an opportunity issue.
Yeah. That herein lies the problem. Very frustrating. Yes. Yeah. It's a treating the symptom and not the source. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
I totally agree. And that brings me to your Chelsie episode, which I enjoyed a lot as well. And I liked Chelsea Handler. Chelsea Handler. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Episode 10 Chelsea Handler. Uncomfortable conversations with the black man. Uncomfortable combo's dotcom. You know, you guys draw a distinction between being racist and being anti-racist. And the thing I thought of I got to say that like I've been guilty of I think I was among the population of people that said it's on the Muslim community to weed out the fundamentalists who are violent.
And they need to deal with that because it's giving the vast majority of beautiful people a bad name. Like I felt like it was on them to self police their religious members. And I had no problem going, well, that's on you, right? Well, I've been in situations where I've been like, that's a bummer of an opinion. Oh, that's racist. Oh, am I going to create tons of friction right now and challenge that racism?
And I recognize it's hard. It's uncomfortable. It is not easy. This thing I thought that every practitioner of Islam should do. I failed that miserably many, many times. There's been times I've done it. But I do think it is true that it's it's on us. It's on white people to help other white people see where they have a big blind spot or they're not acknowledging the tremendous disparity and opportunity, the tremendous disparity in education, all these things.
It's also challenging for people, especially people who are afraid of conflict in this and that. But it has to be done. Bingo, you hit the nail on the head.
So the difference, in my opinion, between being not racist and anti-racist, not racist, is you are not racist, but you allow racism to exist around you, your friends, making racist jokes, having racist conversations. Anti-racist is calling it out whenever you see it. But to your point, again, I say this in the book I wrote Uncomfortable Conversations with the black man. I say that you wouldn't judge a whole group of fans based on the one brawl that broke out in the stands.
Right. Like that's one brawl that broke out amongst one group of people. And you wouldn't sit there and judge that whole group of fans accordingly. So why do we do the same thing in society? We can't let one small representation speak for the whole group at large. So the Chelsea Hammer episode I loved because Chelsea Handler is just so herself and she just she doesn't sugar coat. She speaks honestly and you can tell she's grown a lot. Does she have made a ton of mistakes and she knows she has.
So I love that.
And so, yeah, it's really hard to be the person who like sometimes I feel in the position that I'm always the person to call it out and it gets exhausting.
After a while. You do get exhausted of it.
It can feel cyclical and it just can feel defeating. But it is important to keep having those conversations and push yourself so that it isn't just on one person to call it out every time so that everyone can share that responsibility. Correct.
I think if you call it out like they don't necessarily like confrontation either. You're only going to call it out once. Because once you call it out, once, they're going to be like, OK, I can't do this around that person, if I'ma be racist, I got to take my racism elsewhere.
And eventually we're going to suku the racist to a four by four wall where they can't talk to nobody about the racism. And that has to be the goal until it's 60. Your book. Is that out. Yeah, the book is out. New York Times bestseller. Oh, finish number one. Thank you, my man. And then number 11 last week. So New York Times bestseller, the first two weeks of sout. You can order it wherever books are sold or uncomfortable.
Combo's dotcom is crazy. Dax's I look at the list like Barack Obama, Matthew McConaughey, Dolly Parton, Michael J. Fox, Obama, Manuelito. It's like I'm the misfit.
I don't know what I'm doing there, but it's crazy because the episodes you speak of in the book, I really get to expand on that. The episode, the cop episode that we've referenced with the white police officers. It's 19 minutes. So Chelsea Handler episode. It's twelve minutes. My audio book is Four Hours. It's content on content. I start every chapter with the question, how should I say black or African-American? What about the N-word? How can black people use it in music?
But I can't say it. I start literally every chapter with the question. I answer the question, make it conversational, and I end the book with my thoughts on how racism finally end. So it makes for a great Christmas gift. I love that people are loving it.
OK, I want everyone to go out and buy uncomfortable conversations with a black man. My very last question.
What's the moment where Oprah joins your team after after the first episode, I got a call six days later. The first episode got twenty five million views in four days. I got a call six days later from a no caller ID. No, I pick it up.
Hello. Acho McConaughey speaking. Oh, I have a conversation. I like Matthew McConaughey. He's like, yeah man. Let's just have a conversation. So I'm doing the next episode in four days. He says let's do it tomorrow, OK?
McConnell wants to do it tomorrow. We do it tomorrow. Five days later, I got a call from Oprah's right hand woman. Hey, Emmanuel, Oprah would love to talk to you today if you're free for forty five minutes.
If I'm free, of course I'm free to schedule. Please. Oprah wants to talk.
Oprah calls me and she asked me, she says, what is your intention?
I said, well, Oprah, my my intention is to change the world and I truly believe I can. She said, well, I would love to partner with you on doing that as a man. That would be an honor. We were talking about the show at the time. I told her, well, you know, I'm currently trying to pitch a different book to these different companies. She said books. I love books.
She sure does. She said, I want to partner with you on writing this book. So my book is actually an Oprah imprint. It's only the second Oprah imprint not written by Oprah. Oh, she bet on the right dude, thankfully. Thankfully, man. All right.
I'd hate for this interview to go any longer without me saying how incredibly gorgeous your smile is. So congratulations on that as well. And good luck with everything. And I look forward to talking to you again. Appreciate you all. Have a good one. All right. Take care.