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Watch DeRay Mckesson help Stephen Colbert understand white privilege.

'The Late Show' host had activist DeRay Mckesson on to talk about racism.

On Monday night, DeRay Mckesson stopped by "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

The activist and organizer best known for his work within the Black Lives Matter movement was on to discuss Campaign Zero, an anti-police brutality initiative started last year.


While there, Mckesson did a rundown of where we're at as a country on race and gave a quick primer on privilege.

Race can be a really tricky thing to discuss. It's one of those issues that immediately puts people on the defensive and can make some feel attacked. Still, it's important we have these discussions because, as Mckesson says...



And, yes, he's sitting in Colbert's seat, offering up a little bit of a power exchange. GIFs from "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

And he's absolutely right. It's not uncommon to hear the argument that if we only stopped talking about race, then racism would disappear. Now, of course, that makes about as much sense as a doctor treating cancer by pretending it doesn't exist. But it's still something a fair number of people seem to believe.

It's important we have these discussions so we can begin to address the ongoing impact of racism, Mckesson tells Colbert.

Anyone being honest with themselves should be able to admit this country has a not-so-pleasant history of racism. From slavery to Jim Crow laws to police profiling, it's impossible to ignore the harm that's been done and how those dark periods continue to affect us as a nation. (And to be clear, racism is alive and well, sadly).

So we need to have those tough talks about racism — past and present — if we ever hope to truly change it.


Which means we need to address the topic of privilege. And no, that's not some sort of accusation.

Step one is acknowledging that white privilege exists. Acknowledging that white privilege exists doesn't mean that white people haven't worked hard for everything they have in their lives; it's not an accusation that we've been handed everything we have. It's simply an acknowledgement that — in the case of white people and white privilege — our lives would be more challenging if we weren't white.

OK, OK, but what are some examples of privilege? White privilege is not having to worry about being racially profiled everywhere you go. White privilege is not having to live under the oppression of centuries of dangerous, harmful stereotypes. White privilege is having the luxury of not thinking about racism. There are so many examples out there.

The goal, Mckesson explains, is to use that privilege to help make the equal opportunities available for marginalized groups.

"What you can do is extend that privilege so you can dismantle it," Mckesson tells Colbert. "You can create opportunity for people."

In Colbert's case, this could mean using his show to promote causes that support social justice; it could mean making sure he had a diverse writing staff; it could mean having guests like Mckesson or Killer Mike (as he recently did) on to have candid conversations on racial equality.

The goal isn't to bring white people down, but to raise marginalized groups up.

"We had an extended conversation," Mckesson said of his interview with Colbert, which was edited for time. "It was really good."

The takeaway from the interview, both as it aired and as Mckesson presented it, was to open up the floor for a nonconfrontational, guilt-free chat about how people of all racial backgrounds can push back on the power structures that uphold white privilege.

"We have to be able to talk about [privilege] in order for us to do anything about it."


Ask yourself what you can do today to help facilitate one of those conversations. If you're white, how can you use your privilege to help others? How can you help make the world a better place for all people?

It all starts with conversation.

You can check out Colbert and Mckesson's segment below.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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