The “Conan” host spoke briefly on how comedians are “inexplicably” counted on to make sense of national tragedies such as terror attacks and school shootings. But in the case of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck for several minutes, O’Brien wisely muted himself.
“Today feels very different,” O’Brien said. “We’re rightfully sickened by the needless killing of a Black man named George Floyd. But it doesn’t feel right to talk about my feelings of sadness and anger. To do that today feels inadequate and even somehow wrong. Our national crisis is that a large and vital community in our country is in real pain ― pain because they do not feel safe, or dignified or seen. And most important of all, they do not feel heard. ... So I’d like to use my very small part of television today not to speak but to listen ... to someone who knows what it’s like to be Black in America in 2020.”
The host then introduced CNN political commentator Van Jones. Jones said Black parents have lectured their children that as long as they follow the rules in dealing with even the worst of police officers, they should be OK. “We kind of sprinkled this fairy dust on our kids every day about how to survive encounters with police,” Jones said. “In this situation, there’s nothing we could have told our kids to survive. It was a lynching.”
Jones followed with a note of hope. Check out the interview here: