Emmanuel Acho became a household name on the back of his illustrious career with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
The former NFL star moved on from the league to become an analyst for Fox Sports 1 as well as a highly successful YouTube channel, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.” — which he followed up with a book of the same name.
In the book, Acho “takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask – yet which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever,” the description reads. Acho’s offering explores the consequences of white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Acho says during his time in the NFL, the locker room became a hub for open dialogue around race.
“The locker room is what our society needs to look like,” says Acho. “You have people of different races, different religions. But because you have a common goal of beating the opponent, you don’t care about everyone’s differences. What we haven’t yet realized [as a society] is our opponent is oppression. The opponent is hatred, systemic injustice.”
The death of George Floyd ignited global protests, calling for widespread police reform. The video showing former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds left no question as to the depth of the racial divide in America.
Or at least, it should have.
“I was sitting down with some dear white friends of mine, two couples, white people that I would consider brothers and sisters of mine,” he told the British publication. “And I was distraught. I said, ‘We have to figure out how to fix this problem.’ I asked them, ‘What is it about Black people that makes white people so scared?’ They asked me, ‘How can we get exposed to more Black people?’ I said, ‘Well, you know, you could go to a Black church.’ One of them responded, ‘We thought that was y’alls thing.’
“As soon as they said that, I got it. White people, even my dearest white brothers and sisters who I know love me to death, they don’t understand the jurisdiction, or lack thereof, of Black culture and Black things.”
Click here to order your copy of “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.”