Protests raging in Charlotte over the police killing of a black man are nothing new, said D.L. Hughley — and date back before the events memorialized in the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The comedian said the violent protests were among more than 200 race-related riots in U.S. history, and they all have stemmed from the same root cause.
“They primarily have been for the same reason, that people of color or lesser means feeling as if they’re brutalized with no one being brought to account,” Hughley said in a live video posted on his Facebook page.
Many Americans have been infuriated that Colin Kaepernick and other black players have refused to take part in the national anthem in recent weeks, saying that was not an appropriate way to protest police violence and other systematic racism.
“Obviously, those same men are saying, ‘This is not the way,’ in terms of riots,” Hughley noted. “Well, what is the way? What way would finally work? Since the beginning of this country there have been men and women who have felt unheard and brutalized, and they’ve gone and they tried to seek reconciliation — and nothing’s happened.”
He put the issue in personal terms.
“That would mean that my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather felt exactly the same way that some of us do today,” Hughley said. “And that somebody else’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather said there was nothing to it. You understand, before there was a national anthem, there were riots. Before there was a national anthem to be angry about, there was a riot. Before there was a black-on-black crime, before there was a racism for Lil Wayne not to have experienced, there were riots.”
He said the only shared value that had stood the test of time in American history was an indifference to the suffering of people of color.
“Because my grandfather and grandfather’s grandfather said, ‘Help us, we’re suffering, do something about it,’ your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather said you were appalled — and nothing’s changed,” Hughley said. “Some people, some societies, they build testament to their greatness. The pyramids, a monument, stood the test of time. In America, the monument we seem obsessed with keeping alive is some people’s indifference toward the suffering of people of color.”