Sheryl Underwood has been in hot water with black audiences in the past over insensitive commentary, like the time she questioned why anyone would save “curly, nappy, beady hair.” But yesterday on “The Talk” she made us proud.
The comedian was all out of laughs when the conversation on the CBS talk show turned to racial profiling in light of the recent killing of Terence Crutcher. Sara Gilbert began the conversation, listing off the elements of the latest police shooting and concluding that it was beyond her that the 40-year-old black man could’ve been seen by officers as a threat. And as Aisha Tyler began sharing her opinion, starting with the need for training cops, Underwood interjected, pointing out:
“You don’t have to train police not to shoot white people. Why you gotta train them not to shoot us?”
Tyler continued to lay out the differences in how police bring in white men and women suspected of crimes (peacefully) versus African Americans (fatally violent), saying it’s time to admit “Racism and fear of Black men specifically drives these shootings.” And that’s when Underwood jumped in with the honest truth about what it would take for Americans outside of the black community to actually care about what’s happening to us and demand change.
“You gotta make it a hate crime. You gotta put people in jail. When you shoot someone under the color of authority, you need to lose your job, and you need to lose your livelihood, and you need to lose your freedom like every other American loses their freedom.
“Remember, there are good police officers out there, and the ones that are not need to go to jail. Don’t tell me this, ‘we need to train,’ Sheryl added through tears. “Y’all are white; y’all drive all the time and don’t nothin’ happen to y’all. We’re black and I’m afraid to drive my damn car because if they don’t know who I am, I could be shot. Until y’all feel that, this ain’t never gone stop. Until you all who are not black feel that and stand with us, this is not going to stop.”
And not one lie was told.
The most response we’ve seen from white America concerning this subject is when police officers were murdered in retaliation to the slew of black men killed by officers. It was only then that there was a “problem” and Caucasians decided to take a stand, but as more of us continue to get murdered by the day and their sons and husbands and fathers come home every night without hurt, harm, or injury, these killings continue to be viewed as only our problem, versus a societal issue, and they treat it with the level of nonchalance one would expect from individuals with that mentality. And because we know white people will never be made to feel the way we’ve had to feel in this country since we were brought here, little hope is left that we won’t continue to wake up to news headlines of yet another black man or woman being shot dead for doing nothing more than existing.