D.L. Hughley takes on the painful problem of the black community’s relationship with police in his new book “How To Not Get Shot.” He explained to “The View” co-hosts why he thinks these strained relationships continue to deteriorate, and what we can do about it.
"The most dangerous place for black people to live is in white people's imagination," Hughley said. "We live in an America right now where we have evolved ... but we inherently believe black people are criminal."
Hughley suggested that the most dangerous part of aggressions against the black community are the implicit biases that motivate them. He pointed out that we are given explanations for these aggressions that just don’t make sense.
“You can't tell us we live in a country where you're innocent until proven guilty but then OK, you [could be] murdered because [a police officer said you] were guilty,” Hughley said. “They didn't try you!”
He used the comparison of a white mass shooter and an unarmed black child.
"You can have just shot up 17 people and the police will arrest you," he said. "They know you have a gun. But they'll shoot the kid they thought had one. They'll shoot him in the back.”
Hughley emphasized that throughout American history, many excuses have been made to claim black lives, adding that there are different excuses being supplied now.
“We've been murdered for reading, for looking somebody in the eye, for whistling at somebody,” he said. “The murder of black people at the hands of people of authority has always happened... police [are] doing what they've always done, which is ... keeping you in your community where you belong.”
Hughley recounted his first encounter with police when he was just 8 years old in Los Angeles, California.
“I’m walking down the street, me and my best friend, and police screech up to us and ask ‘Where's such and such?’ We said, ‘We don't know!’” he said, adding the officer ordered them to put their hands on the scorching hot squad car.
Hughley remembered the officer told him: “'N-word, if you take your hand off this car, I'm going to blow your head off.'"
He referenced the story of a 10-year-old who urinated on himself after being arrested in Chicago in June: "50 years [later] and thousands of miles away, this kid's gonna have the same introduction to police that I did."
Hughley said he dedicated his book to his son, Kyle, in part because he has Asperger’s syndrome.
“People who get shot the most by police are people who are mentally or emotionally disturbed,” he said. “[Police could] take my son away because he didn't understand.”
In his discussions with Kyle about interactions about police, Hughley said he told his son “to be respectful. I tell him if he doesn't understand... [say] 'Officer, I'm not trying to be disrespectful to you, call my father.'"
Hughley also addressed the rationalization of brutality against the black community.
“We wouldn't need policemen, right, we wouldn't need judges, wouldn't need juries,” Hughley said suggesting we need all those things. “We're human beings, we make mistakes.”
However, Hughley explained that the law is applied unevenly for black communities.
“One of the words they use for black communities all the time is ‘accountability’ -- how come that word doesn’t work both ways?” he said. “If you're white and you’re on opiates, that's a crisis. If you're black and you're on crack, that's a crime.”
“I am as human as you are,” Hughley added. “I love my woman, I love my children, I love my family -- I don't want them to die.”
In some views, another instance of rules being preferentially applied was when black athletes decided to protest the national anthem. The stand-up comedian weighed in on the NFL’s handling of the controversy.
“What they want is for black people to shut up and play," he said. "And I'll say this, it makes sense for these athletes, football players -- the very physical attributes that get you drafted in the NFL, gets you killed when you're off the field."