Seth Meyers opens with stories from writer Amber Ruffin about scary run-ins with police

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We’re not going to have a whole post about Jimmy Fallon’s on air apology for using blackface in a 2000 skit where he played Chris Rock. He opened by saying he loved Chris and that he wasn’t racist, which was not the way to start an apology! Say you’re an idiot and own up to your mistakes, don’t get defensive right away. To be fair, he’s trying, he did do that somewhat and his initial written apology was good. He addressed it and he had a lot of Black people on his show and he listened. In my opinion, Seth Meyers gets it right as a white male talk show host and I want to focus on him instead. He opened on Monday by saying he’s sad about the situation and that he’s not qualified to talk about the “deep-rooted and justified fear African-Americans have when encountered by police.” He then had his writer, Amber Ruffin, tell a story about her first encounter with police. Her story moved me so much I got choked up and wanted to talk about it. Here’s what she said and that video is above. I highly recommend watching it if you can.

I was a teenager, I was brand new to driving… I was in rush hour traffic. Everyone was going over the speed limit. I hate it because I’m new to driving, so I speed up to 45, 5 miles over the speed limit. Everyone is whizzing by me. To make myself feel better I turn on Busta Rhymes and I blast it so that I can calm down. I encounter a speed trap. No one is slowing down [but she’s going to slowest]. To my right there is an old white cop standing on the side of the road. Out of these tens of cars he sees a young black person driving a purple car and blasting rap music and he chooses me and he’s screaming at me. He is shouting as if I have murdered someone… He goes ‘pull the call over motherf’r.” I think ‘this is how I die. This man is going to kill me.’ I start crying because I am 100% sure this man is going to beat me to death. He’s shouting, it does not stop. He gets to the door and sees me, a teenage girl [crying]. He drops it and [tells me] it’s ok. His whole demeanor changes.

I have 1,000 stories like this. Cops have pulled a gun on me. Cops have followed me to my own home. Every black person I know has a few stories like that. Black people leave the house every day knowing that, at any time, we could get murdered by the police. You hear people chalking it up to a few bad apples instead of how corrupt an entire system is. It becomes too much. I wanted to end this with something hopeful to provide some comfort, but maybe it’s time to get uncomfortable.

[From Late Night with Seth Meyers]

Then, last night, he opened with another story from Amber about a different encounter she had with police. She was skipping toward a friend in Chicago she was excited to see. Unfortunately it was down an alley next to the police station. A cop car came toward her, the cop got out, drew his gun and yelled at her to put her hands on the car. She said the cop was so angry at her for skipping and it made no sense. She was with a white man, her friend, and when she pointed him out to the cop and explained that they were picking up their friend for dinner, the cop “changed his attitude with a quickness.” She got a gun drawn on her for skipping!

Amber realized that she could have been murdered and that even her friends would believe that she attacked a police officer, saying “she doesn’t seem like the type, but…” She asked people to “imagine a bunch of incidents like that over a lifetime, magnified by 43 million African-Americans. That is why people are angry. If you’re not angry, why not?

This is how you do it. You focus on the people affected by systemic racism and let them tell you what it’s like. For every Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland, there are countless other victims whose names we don’t hear, and so many other Black people who have nearly been killed by police, multiple times, and are of course afraid to interact with law enforcement in any way.

A post shared by Amber Ruffin (@amberruffin) on

A post shared by Amber Ruffin (@amberruffin) on

— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) June 3, 2020

"I WANNA GET MY NAILS DONE (and stop getting murdered)"

— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) May 29, 2020

— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) June 2, 2020

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