Matthew McConaughey appeared on the second episode of Emmanuel Acho’s show to ask how he, as a white person, can be better about dismantling systemic racism.
The former NFL star welcomed the Oscar-winner as a guest following a solo episode of his new show “Uncomfortable Conversation with a Black Man.” Acho started the show in the wake of national protests against police brutality that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn.
In the latest episode, McConaughey explained that he hoped to educate himself further after being moved by the first episode of the show.
“I’m here to learn, share, listen, understand. I’m here to discuss some common grounds between us but also expose some differences between us,” the actor explained. “I’m here to have a conversation and hopefully promote more conversation with the end goal being that we take the time we’re in now and constructively turn a page in history through some righteous and justifiable change.”
The actor began by asking Acho what he can do as a white man to help the cause.
“You have to acknowledge that there is a problem so that you can take more ownership for the problem,” Acho told the actor, noting that the conversation they were having was a good start.
He continued: “Individually, you have to acknowledge implicit bias. You have to acknowledge that you’ll see a black man and, for whatever reason, you will view them more of a threat than you will a white man. Probably because society told you to.”
McConaughey asked if ubiquitous adoption of the Black Lives Matter values would act as a good theoretical end to the crisis. That’s when Acho compared the situation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, stating that systemic racism is the current pandemic the black community is facing.
“That’s not to say that cancer doesn’t matter, that’s not to say that HIV doesn’t matter, that’s not to say that ALS doesn’t matter, all those things still matter, but right now the coronavirus is killing people,” Acho explained.
McConaughey then asked about a term he heard called “white allergies,” which he described as a blanket term for racism that is inherent in non-black people through society. The star admitted that despite growing up in a diverse area and having a “non-white, immigrant” wife, he is still guilty of having “white allergies.”
“I’m diving deeper into how I’m looking at things and how I’m looking at myself,” he explained. “How I can learn more, see things from your side more, see things from the black side more so I can get a four-dimensional view here because, inherently, maybe I had, to some extent… I‘ve been living in a way where I didn’t see all sides as clear as I could have.”