Can Racists Really Change? D.L. Hughley Offers a Compelling Answer

In a then-and-now comparison of white racists, comedian D.L. Hughley asks just how much of America’s racist protest history was passed down from parent to child.

“The Original Kings of Comedy” star is thinking — a lot.

“No they don’t kick and spit, or they don’t walk down the street in front of news cameras,” he said. “They get on social media. They go to Trump rallies.”

The comedian made the comparisons in a clip uploaded to Facebook this week from his new TV One program The DL Hughley Show.

He based his comments on journalist Bill Moyers’ feature from a 1976 episode of the PBS series “Bill Moyers Journal” highlighting outrage when a Black family moved to the New York white working-class community of Rosedale that year.

Even before the family moved in, the house was set on fire, and later, a pipe bomb was thrown on their porch and blasted through their windows.

A note attached to the bomb read:

“N—–, be warned. We have time. We will get your first born first,” Viva Boston, KKK.

Hughley focused in on footage in the Moyers show that featured men, women and children shouting racial slurs at the family.

“I saw those children and I wonder what happened to them,” he said.

He hoped they changed, and he knew it was possible because of his story.

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“I remember I used to feel that only people who lived in a certain neighborhood were worthy of my love, affection and respect,” Hughley said. “I feel horrible about that, and I’ve worked the rest of my life to show that I’ve changed in that regard.”

That kind of change requires action, Hughley said.

“If they didn’t change, did they become police officers or loan officers or teachers or lawyers or people who refuse to hire or landlords who refuse to rent,” Hughley asked. “If they didn’t change, did they teach their children the same thing? Did they teach them how to hate, and how to spit and how to belittle?”

He wondered if they gave birth to the jurors who convicted the Central Park Five or ruled that it was OK for police to place Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold while arresting him on charges of selling loose cigarettes.

“I wonder if they haven’t changed,” Hughley said. “Because if they haven’t, the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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