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Harry Belafonte: Until White People ‘Change Their Course of Conduct’ the ‘Only Thing Left for Black People to Do Is Burn It Down’

America is more racially divided than it’s ever been, according to activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte.

Belafonte, a close friend of late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., sat down with PBS News Hour in marking the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. The crooner blamed America’s deepening racial divide on white Americans who refused to change their ways, saying “the only thing left for Black people to do is burn it down.”

“If Dr. King had lived, there would be no today as we know it,” Belafonte told PBS reporter Charlayne Hunter-Gault. “His impact on universal order, his impact on the globe, his impact on the world had taken on a humongous power. He was shaping human history.”

When asked what it would take to make King’s dream of “the beloved community” come true, the singer said the answer lies with white Americans regaining what he called a “moral course of history.” Until then, he said, nothing will change and America will self-destruct.

“The case is that we have to fix it,” Belafonte said. “The fact is that it’s not fixable if white folks don’t decide to change their course of conduct.”

“The only thing left for Black people to do is burn it down,” he continued. “We have been lynched, we’ve been murdered. And if you look around, never before in my 91 years of history as an American have I ever seen the nation more racially divisive than it is at this very moment.”

Watch more in the clip above.

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