LeVar Burton on the danger of being black in America


LeVar Burton is a much-beloved actor, well known for his roles in Star Trek and Roots. But I watched him most along with my children when he was the host of Reading Rainbow. In this clip, he describes what he has to do to avoid being shot and killed if he is subjected to even a routine traffic stop, things that would have never occurred to me to do. Then Tim Wise compares that with his own experiences with the police as a young white man.

I was also shocked to hear Burton say he has a 33 year-old son. How can it be that all my contemporaries look so much younger than me?

Comments

  1. unbound says

    Although he is 56 years old, he is still an actor. I would bet that he (and the vast majority of actors) spends a lot more time in a gym keeping in shape than most people.

    Definitely a good video that more should watch. Summarizes very well the racism that still exists in this country today.

  2. Corvus illustris says

    I was also shocked to hear Burton say he has a 33 year-old son. How can it be that all my contemporaries look so much younger than me?

    I’m surprised that you find a 56-year old to be a “contemporary”; the face pic on your blog is not detailed, but to my tin eye it would place you in your early 40s. Some time ago IIRC there were pop-psych pieces in print that said, basically, that one learns age cues from immediate family and acquaintances early in life and revises them later only with difficulty. Thus two (naïve) subjects of widely disparate ethnic backgrounds will make wildly bad guesses of each other’s ages. Mrs C is the same age as my youngest sister, but we were once taken to be father and daughter by a (very embarrassed) African MD doing residency in a NYC hospital.

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