Don Cheadle Discusses His Experiences With Law Enforcement During Conversation About Race in America

Illustration for article titled Don Cheadle Discusses His Experiences With Law Enforcement During Conversation About Race in America
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Actor Don Cheadle appeared on NBC News and NBCBLK’s Can You Hear Us Now? broadcast, a special dedicated to spurring conversations about race in America and what we can do to enact progress. The broadcast, hosted by MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee, also featured New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, co-founder of Campaign Zero Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.


During the chat, Cheadle discussed his experiences dealing with law enforcement growing up, including having guns drawn on him during the 1992 LA riots.

“Unfortunately, [race issues] are things that—as black people—we learn very early from our parents,” he says. “How to come home safe, the way to comport yourself when you deal with law enforcement, the things that you have to do so you can just return home in one piece...It’s continued throughout my adulthood…I’ve seen every aspect of this come along.”

He also explains that the only times he remembers having a gun pulled on him has been by law enforcement.

“I know a lot of dudes, a lot of people in the streets…a lot of gang-affiliated folks, I’ve never had guns pulled on me by any of them, but I’ve had guns pulled on me by the LAPD…for doing nothing,” he says. “This is a systemic, institutionalized problem that we are all fully aware of.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Lee asks the panelists to briefly discuss the nature of black pain for non-black viewers, as well as what has to be done by white people who are interested in helping to create change.


“We are seeing the watershed moment once again,” says Cheadle. “We should not be able to know Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, these things should not be burned into our consciousness. But thankfully, now that we have film and cell phones…this is something that no longer can be hidden”

“My fervent prayer and hope is that this energy and this outrage…[is that] we can use to follow those who have been organizing in these spaces for many years,” he continues.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."


Waffle Saadiq