WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that “normal, white Americans” don’t understand “being black in America.”
“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years, to get a sense of this: If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk,” he said Friday on CNN Political Commentator Van Jones’ Facebook Live stream.
Jones and Gingrich discussed this past week’s shootings in Dallas, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Five Dallas police officers were shot and killed Thursday night as hundreds protested the back-to-back police shooting deaths of two African-American men earlier in the week.
Gingrich, who is among those being considered as Donald Trump’s running mate, said white parents do not have to teach their children how to interact with police the way black parents do.
“It is more dangerous to be black in America,” he said. “It is more dangerous in that they are substantially more likely to end up in a situation where the police don’t respect you and you could easily get killed. And sometimes for whites it difficult to appreciate how real that is and how it’s an everyday danger.”
The former Georgia congressman also spoke about how many people don’t understand how dangerous it is to be a police officer today.
“Every time you walk up to a car you could be killed. Every time you go into a building where there’s a robbery you can be killed,” Gingrich said. “Police lead a life that is as much on the front line of saving civilization as our military but we don’t quite have the same sense of awe sense of respect, and yet they put their life on the line every day.”