Ellen DeGeneres said on “The Ellen Show” Friday that the staggering number of shootings of unarmed black men and boys made her “ashamed” to be a white person.
“I’m furious,” she told her guest, news commentator Van Jones. “As a white person, I’m ashamed.”
DeGeneres brought up two stories that made national news just this month — the police killing of Diante Yarber in a Walmart parking lot in California, and an incident in Michigan involving 14-year-old Brennan Walker, who knocked on a door to ask for directions only to be shot at by the white homeowner. (Though DeGeneres and Jones’ conversation was mostly focused on police shootings, the homeowner who shot at Walker was not a member of law enforcement.)
“I think, how is this possible that this keeps happening and nothing — there’s just blatant racism,” DeGeneres said.
Jones offered some thoughts about how there’s a “glitch” in the minds of many people, who perceive the same actions by white people and black people in entirely different ways. He pointed to his own years at Yale University, where many white students used drugs regularly with little or no repercussions.
“Four blocks away, in the housing projects, kids were doing drugs and they all went to prison,” he said.
He added: “Because we have this brain glitch that says, if a white kid does it, eh, maybe they need a little bit of help. If a black kid does it, we’ve gotta punish them.”
Jones said a major problem with law enforcement is that our culture has a “default unwritten rule” that police are always right.
“Any human system that doesn’t have adequate checks and balances is going to tend toward abuse and corruption,” he said.
Watch the whole video above.