Transcript for D.L. Hughley discusses Black Americans’ inequalities in book ‘How to Survive America’
Hello, D.L., with your new beard. Lovely to see you. Yesterday, the senate unanimously passed a bill making juneteenth a national holiday. Do you think this is the right way to commemorate the day? What does it say that they were finally able to be united on this? It took a while. It's interesting they could pass a united bill to -- they could be united in passing juneteenth but we've yet to pass an anti-lynching bill. It's ironic they're making it harder to teach slavery in schools. What do you tell kids they're celebrating? It says a lot about our experience. You want to commemorate slavery without talking about it. If you tried to make a cake without salt, you would have a terrible cake. We leave out essential ingredients in having conversations. Literally more federal employees, more white people will get the day off for slavery than black people will. It's ironic to me. Father's day is coming up. You're a father of three, but your first grand daughter Nola Rae was born in February. Congratulations. She's gorgeous. How is life as a grandfather? Will father's day take on new meaning for you? Father's day was scary to me. Now I have a sense of urgency. It's funny. I've never had a beautiful child. My children were funny looking. It's nice to have a baby's picture you can carry in your wallet. I thought I was incapable of loving children as much as I did my own, but she is a delight. Wonderful. Yeah. She's beautiful, D.L. And I can say that and mean it. You're probably a grandparent like my parents are. I don't even recognize my parents. Let's talk about your book. You write about the inequalities facing black and brown communities from polluted air, to unequal treatment by law enforcement enforcement. You write, black people are the number one suspects in our own demise. Why do you say that's the case? When covid was ravaging the world, you had somebody, the surgeon general, telling black people we need to stop eating bad, drinking bad and smoking. Even though countries all around the world were closed down, they didn't have people saying it's these habits that caused this. If you look at what happened to George Floyd, if you listen to the medical expert by the defense, it was everything but a knee on his neck. If you look at our history, it's always been our fault. It's the way we eat. It's the way we drink. It's not complying. It's naming our children the wrong names. It's listening to music. Either we are -- have to reconcile the fact that we are people who people don't understand that America has done some monstrous thing. Look at the Spanish flu. The number of black people -- if you look at the way it disproportionately affected black people. Black people are dying from this disease by misinformation and inadequate treatment. D.L., you write about growing up in your neighborhood in south L.A. Surrounded by factories where many people had asthma and cancer including your dad who passed from it. Your school bus got cut off. There's led in the water. All the programs they used to have where you could go after school and before school, all of those things got chopped. You say that the environment has a lot to do, along with the system, to how it impacts kids. Can you explain that? When I grew up, there were four people on the street that I lived on that had cancer, four people. In my entire neighborhood, 12 people died of it. 12 people. Everybody virtually had asthma. Is that because we're inherently weak or susceptible to these things? When Jerome Adams was talking about how we need to stop smoking and eating bad, he had the aspirator that we have. He probably had childhood asthma. Everything a city doesn't want it puts in our neighborhoods. We're sicker. Our food choices are less abundant. No one ever says that, you know, it's the circumstances surrounding us. It's always a moral failing on our part. I was actually recovering from covid when I was writing this book. I had no intention of writing it. I saw the disparity. Even when you look at the remedy that America used, wearing a mask. Several states in this country had laws that didn't let I couldn't obscure your face. That was because they believed there was a criminal element to even the remedies we proposed can affect us adversely. Right.
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