We like to criticize cable news networks for offering unhelpful and sometimes just plain awful programming during breaking news events, but sometimes they manage to get it right.
On Friday, minutes after MSNBC gave former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani a platform to spew his views about why black communities deserve to be policed by cops who often kill and mistreat residents, anchor Craig Melvin found a person in Dallas who had something of value to share.
Kellon Nixon, 34, brought his 5-year-old son downtown Thursday because they “wanted to be a part of something,” he told MSNBC. “We wanted to have our voices to support [Philando] Castile and Alton Sterling.”
But the peaceful rally to honor the two black men killed by police this week and call for reform devolved into chaos when a gunman opened fire on officers, killing five.
“I hate that this is what actually will be remembered,” Nixon said. “That the worst of people will give us a perception of our people.”
Over the course of the interview, Nixon served up a poignant response to the previous day’s events. He gave a measured analysis about what all of this means for the Black Lives Matter movement, how this will affect the community’s relationship with police and how the nation as a whole begins to heal.
Nixon explained that he had to regain his humanity after the bullets started flying.
“You start to think it’s me against the world. And with that type of mentality, we’ll implode as a people,” he said. “We’ll implode not as ethnicity as a people, but as a people, period. We’re all one race at the end of the day. If we get a ‘me against the world’ mentality ― last night I was thinking, maybe it’s not black lives matter or all lives matter, maybe it’s just my life matters. Maybe it’s just my family’s life matters. I had to recover from that spiritually.”
“I had to be reminded that love conquers all,” he added. “If I let that mentality overwhelm me, then who can I help?”
Nixon also recounted his own story of redemption and how police officers helped him turn his life around.
“At a point in my life, I sold drugs,” he said. “And the honest truth is that the mercy that was extended to me wasn’t by other drug dealers, it wasn’t by African-American men. But it was by two Anglo-American officers that found me with drugs and they extended me mercy. And from there I was able to be a husband. I was able to be a father. I’m a pastor and a preacher now. And at the same time, when I’m in a three-piece suit, from the police I’m treated worse than when I was a thug.”
“So it proves to me that everybody’s not bad,” he continued. “That everybody wearing a badge is not bad. That every African-American is not bad. But we have to change our concepts. We have to change our ideology in this country. We’re so segregated in everything. We’re segregated in our schools still. We’re segregated in our religion. We’re segregated in churches. And it destroys us.”
Nixon expressed concerns that the tragedy would inflame racial tensions and police-community relations, and would give some people fodder to justify their own prejudiced views. After all of this, he wrapped up the interview with an insightful take on some of the broader problems that ail our society.
“But I think that the best thing we can do is to value lives over the economy,” he said. “I think that’s one of our biggest problems in America is that the economy is stronger than our moral fiber. Our desire for prosperity is so much greater than our desire to be moral, to be humane, to love, to care, that we’ll risk our children, we’ll risk the sanctity of marriage or anything just for money. Just to stay on top as a nation. What we don’t understand, I think, is that when we lose our heart, when we lose our souls, we’re really the bottom, we’re really the worst of people no matter how materially rich we are.”
Just watch the interview.
Bravo, Kellon Nixon. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from you.
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