Emmanuel Acho straddled between the emblazoned numbers 94 and 51 this morning, June 4, on “CBS This Morning,” but the heart of the former NFL linebacker and ESPN analyst was focused on some more startling numbers. His Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles numerals were prominent on his wall but not foremost on his mind. The athlete turned activist talked with co-anchor Gayle King about the timeliness and pure intent of his new social media series, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man," which is now reaching toward 8 million views on Instagram alone.

Like millions of other “CBS This Morning” viewers and sports fans, Emmanuel Acho is keenly aware of the growing swell in numbers of protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s incomprehensible murder.

He, like Gayle King, has been approached by countless white friends, as well as many multiethnic ones, who earnestly seek to help and to be part of this movement. The hope is to sustain the passion beyond the moment and to provoke lasting change.

The Nigerian-American athlete and personality blessed with a superlative gift for communication opted to use his experience and skill to inform an audience he knows well about uniquely black understandings and perceptions in Part 1. He offers every opportunity for viewers to ask any question they want and extend the conversation for many future installments, as detailed by the morning show and in a feature by the Christian Post.

The big questions come first for Emmanuel Acho

Emmanuel Acho got a robust chuckle out of hearing that Gayle King's high school friends were asking her how to be involved meaningfully in the current movement, but it didn't take long for the young man so at ease with the camera to get very serious.

“If the white person is your problem then only the white person can be your solution,” Acho declares during the opening of his online conversation.

He describes how for centuries, people of color have been desperate for help from those in power, who are predominantly white in America. Looking out into the crowds gathered in any major city, it's clear that this move for justice stretches across all ethnicities, ages, and genders, but this moderator knows that education is an answer to being effective.

In answer to “Why are so many people rioting?” Emmanuel Acho relates a personal experience of seeing his mother throw herself into a wall upon news that her sister had died. The young Acho was traumatized just to see her pain, and offered that “sometimes emotions don't know their actions” and the pain and rage explode. Just as the wall hurt his mother, communities of color are coming to terms with the damage that affects all their lives. Still, agitation is necessary for change, and the American effort in democracy bears that out.

A similar response comes regarding black-on-black crime. It's not that the black community is unaware of black-on-black offenses. Instead, it is simply more difficult, nay, impossible to wipe away the sting of 600 years of oppression in light of recent revelations.

The wounds are reemerging at the surface again, and the scars of the past are embedded in black heritage.

Emmanuel Acho truly means ‘brothers and sisters’ when he says it

The subject matter of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” came so seamlessly and easily to Emmanuel Acho that he told “CBS This Morning” that it all came “in one take” after he rented the studio space.

Learning the ins and outs between societal cultures likely started young for this striking athlete with insightful commentary, even as a high school student. He attended the “predominantly white” private St. Mark's School in Dallas, where academics, behavior, and accomplishment all mattered. It's not surprising that he quickly mastered making lifelong friends, but also remained very familiar with how innocent actions can become threats to some.

Even considering his NFL career and current role, Emmanuel Acho insists that he will still “push the button and get off quickly ”in an elevator with a white woman or man. If he sees a white woman at the mailbox, he waits in his car before getting his own mail. It is still far too easy for a black man simply strolling to be drawn into an Amy Cooper situation, with “black” and “threatening” placed in the same sentence, with dire consequences. Ghosts of Emmett Till’s lynchers linger.

Acho provides probably the most relevant and coherent explanation of using the “N” word in recent memory. He richly details all the history and subjugation wrapped in the word, something that white people, no matter how well-meaning, can truly comprehend.

To re-frame the context, any two survivors from Nazi labor camps can show each other the numerals carved into their bodies and have an instant bond. The “N” word in black conversation is similarly accepted.

White privilege explained, per Emmanuel Acho simplicity

Anthony Mason chimed in with a timely subject matter for Emmanuel Acho. New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, took the prize for the week’s most tone-deaf and hurtful proclamation, saying that to him, the national anthem and hand-over-heart gesture represented “unity,” and he didn't support anyone “taking a knee.” Malcolm Jenkins, the teammate of Brees and former teammate of Acho, issued a tearful response, remarking that Brees’ insensitive admonishment represented a slap to “not talk about that here” regarding racial injustices.

The quarterback has since issued his own apology, but the sincerity is questioned.

As it happens, Acho interjected how Brees’ words, exemplified white privilege, essentially telling black people how and when to protest. He also supplied the facts in the case of Colin Kaepernick, who initially planned to sit in protest and was encouraged to kneel by the football player and Green Beret, Nate Boyer, who “still serves” as Emmanuel Acho stresses.

Boyer reportedly offers forgiveness to Drew Brees for his comments and joins those like Emmanuel Acho and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the supportive chorus for those marching nationwide, of every color, gender, and orientation. This kind of conversation is not the light fare of morning TV Shows, but it has never been more needed.

“White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard,” insists Emmanuel Acho, “it just means the color of your skin hasn't made it more difficult.”

This topical and timely conversationalist feels he was “put in this time for a reason.” Emmanuel Acho doesn't want anyone angry or hanging their heads. He wants “exposure, education, empathy, and compassion” to empower everyone onward, and he's ready to lead the charge.

Follow the page TV Shows
Follow
Follow the page Celebrities
Follow
Follow the page NFL
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!