As the nation experiences an uptick in violence against African Americans by police officers, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has stepped up in their defense and said that black people in the U.S. “are substantially more likely to be in a situation where the police don’t respect you, and where you could easily get killed.”
Gingrich joined former Obama administration official Van Jones on a Facebook Live conversation and said, “Sometimes, for white people, it’s difficult to appreciate how real that is.”
“If you’re an African-American, then you’re raising your teenage boys to be very careful in obeying the police,” Gingrich said to Jones, who is a black father of teenagers. “Literally, their lives are at risk [if they interact with police], and they can see that on television.”
“If you’re a normal Caucasian,” Gingrich continued, “you don’t see that, because it’s not part of your experience. What we need is to have a conversation about mutual experiences.”
Gingrich confessed that he didn’t always see the differences of how white Americans and black Americans are treated.
“It took me a long time, and a lot of people talking to me, to understand that if you are a normal white American, the truth is that you don’t understand being black in America,” Gingrich said. “You instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk” that black Americans face.
Newt Gingrich has become an important advisor to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and is rumored to be on the short-list for the Republican vice presidential nomination.