Kyle Shanahan, like so many, is fed up with the discrimination of black people in the United States, especially when it comes to their interactions with law enforcement. Shanahan gave a passionate and emotional monologue on Thursday afternoon to Bay Area media via Zoom conference, his first public comments since the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer, and the subsequent demonstrations that have swept the nation.
What follows is a transcript of Shanahan’s comments, edited for brevity and clarity:
“People are hurting. Black people mainly are scared. The disturbing thing is they’ve been scared for a long time. This is it. This is the cry for help they’ve been giving for a long time and people don’t totally listen. I think everyone’s at fault for that, but I’m not saying black people are, because they’re the ones that have been screaming, I think everyone’s at fault for not totally listening.
“I think one thing that bothers me the most is that throughout this all, throughout my life experiences and stuff, racism is a big deal in our country right now. That’s a fact. That’s not debatable. It’s always been a big deal. It is today just like it was 100 years ago. I think something as a white person that bothers me is that I don’t think all white people realize that. There’s different parts of this country, but a lot of white people if they don’t see it, they don’t think it’s happening. They associate racism with slavery and stuff a long time ago. That’s the problem.
“Racism is all over, and that’s what black people deal with every day. White people are very sheltered to that and ignorant, and that’s the message that’s been missed.
“I’ve been in sports my whole life. I’ve had white friends, black friends, asian friends my whole life, and I was fortunate to be in communities or teams where it wasn’t a big deal. The same stuff I see in my kids, and I’ll keep my kids in those type of situations so it’s never a big deal for them. And it wasn’t for me. But there was stuff as I got older with my black friends and stuff, that I can promise you was consistant with all black friends no matter where I had them.
“I’ve moved around my whole life, never been in one place for longer than four years, so I’ve lived all over this country and I’ve had all types of friends. One thing can tell you is consistant, some of my black friends, some of the toughest guys I’ve been around, awesome dudes who I’ve never seen get scared of anything, and I can’t tell you how many times when we’re around a cop, I can feel something different in those guys. They’re scared, and it’s been something that’s always bothered me.
“I’ve been in some situations worse than others, but regardless, I don’t know how they feel, but I can tell they feel different from me, and that’s something that is a fact. It doesn’t matter if it’s a black guy in Atlanta or a black guy in California. It doesn’t matter, that’s something they feel.
“That’s the same stuff I’ve seen in my friends since I was 17 and we got caught sneaking out. The difference between the black friend who was scared and me who wasn’t because I thought I had rights. That’s a white privilege that not everyone realizes, and people need to know just because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there, and white people have to acknowledge that.
“This is a fact. This isn’t debatable and there’s nothing more apparent than what happens numbers-wise with black people and what’s going on with the police force. The numbers say it. Also life experiences of all black people say it, and that’s something that isn’t debatable, and we can’t confuse that with anything else. That’s a fact and it’s gone on way too long and I think now white people are listening more than I’ve ever heard before. Which is good and that’s a starting point, because it’s happened too long. It’s very clear. I don’t want to debate it any more. No one does. Open your eyes.”