Gingrich: If You Are A White American, You Don’t Understand Being Black

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich did a Facebook Live video with former Crossfire co-host and progressive activist Van Jones Friday in which Gingrich spoke about a racial divide in America.

“With the events in the last few days in Minneapolis, in Baton Rouge, and in Dallas we just felt we should talk about the larger question of how do we bring Americans back together and recognize that there’s a lot of profound reason to worry about in which we are becoming alienated from each other and we’ve got to rethink what it means to be American and how we function together as an extended family,” Gingrich said to open up the video.

Van Jones then went on to say, “If you cried tears yesterday when that young man was bleeding out in the car but you did not cry tears tonight after those cops died that is a big signal that we are moving apart.”

He added, “Similarly if you cried today and were outraged by the cops falling, those heroes who were shot down by a racially motivated bigoted terrorist but you had a little bit of closed heart towards some of these black videos that is also a signal.”


“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this. If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk,” Gingrich said later in the video. He spoke about how Jones has to speak to his children about dealing with police officers but for white parents it isn’t necessary as, “it’s not part of your normal experience.”

The former House Speaker continued on to speak about progress he has seen since growing up in Georgia in the 60’s. “We’ve come a fair distance, now we have a black mayor of Atlanta, and have had a series of them in fact. We have John Lewis who went from marching on Selma to a Democratic whip in Congress. But we’ve stalled out on the cultural, economic, practical progress we needed.”

Gingrich said that lack of continued progress past “legality” of blacks in America can “[create] the kind of alienation where it begins to become legitimate to think about, whether it’s in songs or slogans or whatever, the shooting of policemen. If we were to continue in this direction of alienation on both sides, you could really be a pretty coarse and dangerous society in 10 or 15 years.”