Killer Mike Schools Stephen Colbert on Systemic Racism in America & How To End It (Video)
On last night’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Killer Mike (born Michael Render) dropped some knowledge on the state of race relations in this country, something he’s been doing for years through his music but which has only recently become something that mainstream media have begun to acknowledge. His visibility has grown exponentially thanks to the tremendous success of Run the Jewels, and his recent stint as guest speaker at an Atlanta, Georgia rally for Bernie Sanders was one of the most memorable Hip-Hop moments of 2015. Although his segment on last night’s show was only a few brief minutes, he managed to inundate audience members and a clearly appreciative Colbert of some very crystallized messages, and he held nothing back when it came to placing blame and calling for action.
After the general pleasantries about wardrobe and family, Colbert asked Render to comment on how the tragedies in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and North Charleston have changed anything in terms of the movement for racial justice and a national discourse. Before answering, Render pled that “White people who are watching, google Jane Elliott. She has an experiment called the blue eye/brown eye experiment. I encourage you all to just simply watch that, ’cause it’ll actually grow you.” He’s referring to an experiment in racism first conducted by former third-grade teacher Elliott in 1968, on the day following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. According to her website, the exercise “labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and exposes them to the experience of being a minority.” Clearly, Render came into this interview armed with some serious heat, already schooling millions of Americans before even answering Colbert’s question.
However, Render quickly addresses the question at hand, saying “if White people are just now discovering that it’s bad for Black or working class people in America, they’re a lot more blind than I thought. And they’re a lot more choosing to be ignorant than I thought. The same problems that we’re discussing today we discussed in 1990, 1980, 1970, and 1960. And until we call a spade a spade and we say that this problem is coming from conditions that we’re creating or allowing to happen, as a White group of people who hold a certain amount of power…” Colbert then cuts in asking Render if he believes there is a systemic attempt in the United States to isolate poor and minority citizens and put them into communities that can be controlled. Render’s answer is immediate, as he briskly says “It’s not an attempt at all. It’s successful.” He goes on to support the statement with evidence, citing former Chicago mayor Richard Daley, who notoriously built highways in an effort to segregate his city. And the brain food does not stop there. Check out the rapid-fire education Render brought to the stage last night below.