When Gary Civitello called into a TV show and admitted to the black speaker on air that he was prejudice, some might have expected an angry response. But Heather McGhee, President of the public policy organization Demos, gave the opposite reaction.
After admitting he was “prejudice,” Civitello appeared to sincerely ask McGhee how he could change and “become a better American.”
Without an ounce of surprise on her face, McGhee smiled and recognized how difficult it must have been for the caller to admit such a thing directly to her.
“Your ability to just say, ‘this is what I have, I have these fears and prejudices and I want to get over them’ is one of the most powerful things we can do,” she said.
McGhee then listed out ideas for Civitello to try in order to overcome his prejudice — things like getting to now black families, joining a racially diverse church, and fostering conversation about racial bias.
The short conversation was viewed over 8 million times, McGhee clearly inspiring people with her kind and compassionate response to the man’s honesty.
Upworthy did a follow-up video with McGhee, who explained why she responded the way she did.
“I think a lot of white folks wanted to hear that they could make that kind of admission, and not be greeted with the anger they fear, but rather understanding and a sort of, productive way forward,” McGee said.
The, she did something even more unexpected — she met up with Civitellos for an in-person conversation in his home state of North Carolina.
“When you get to know people, usually your fears are unjustified,” Civitellos said during their on-tape conversation. “Don’t let it go by…if you’ve got 8 million people responding positively to my insecurities, they must be having the same things.”
McGhee said there aren’t enough conversations like this one happening — and many would echo her sentiments. Stop with the anger — proceed with the love.
When a caller admitted his prejudice on air, she responded with compassion and started an honest conversation about race.Special thanks to Demos.
Posted by Upworthy Video on Monday, January 9, 2017