Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson appeared as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Martin Luther King Day Monday, and Colbert took the opportunity to ask what he can do about his white privilege.
"I might be the whitest person you've ever met," Colbert said. "I might have the most privilege of any white person you've ever met. How do I identify that in my own life? If I have white privilege, I want to be able to identify it. Give me a hint as to my white privilege.”
“You have a lot of privilege. You have a show, you have money, a lot of access,” Mckesson replied. “You know, it’s about role, it’s about access, and what you can do is extend that privilege so that you can dismantle it. You can create opportunity for people, you can amplify issues in a way that other people can’t, and you can use your resources to create space for people.”
Mckesson talked about Campaign Zero, an initiative he's heading up which aims to end police brutality in America. Talking about the "All Lives Matter" response to black lives matter, Mckesson said it's a diversion tactic from talking about the real issues at stake.
“We know that if all lives mattered we wouldn’t be out in the street,” he said. “You know, the police have killed 26 people just in 2016. We have so much work to do and that is just a way to avoid talking about the issue of police brutality, by getting people to talk about this notion of ‘all lives matter.’ It’s just not true.”
They discussed why some people are offended by the idea of black lives matter. "I think that people are uncomfortable talking about the racist history of this country and what we need to do to undo the impact of racism," Mckesson said. "And people would just like to act like we don't have a legacy of racism here, so I think people get really uncomfortable with it. But we know that we can't change it unless we address it, right?"
Colbert switched seats with Mckesson for part of the interview, asking him what he wanted to know about being white. Mckesson said he'd like to come up with a plan for Colbert to help dismantle white privilege.