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Emmanuel Acho‘s mentions are looking like a warzone. The former NFL player, sports analyst and alleged expert on race relations is getting fried on Twitter after media host Van Lathan took him to task over his approach to discussing racism with white people.
Acho was a guest on Lathan and Rachel Lindsay’s Higher Learning podcast on the Ringer and things got awkward on the top topic of race. Apparently, the Texas-born Acho claims he’s able to see both sides of race debates due to his Nigerian heritage.
“When white people say, ‘Well, racism doesn’t exist,’ I know why they say that. Because I’ve been in them rooms when they’re saying that,” said Acho in a clip Lathan shared of the episode. “When I kick it with Black people and they’re like, ‘All white people are racist,’ I know why you’re saying that. All the while, I have the privilege and luxury of not having generational trauma, because my parents were born in Nigeria. So my method is removing some of the sting, because I don’t have that sting, and trying to deliver it in a manner that people can receive it.”
While Acho went on his suspect spiel in the clip, you could tell that Lathan was stewing, ready to pounce. And he didn’t mince his words.
“Let me tell you why what you just said offends me,” began Lathan. “You’re saying that you didn’t have generational trauma, and you didn’t mean it this way, but you saying [that] in some way meaning that your delivery method to white people is going to be either more effective or more sanitized is, to me, dangerous, and let me tell you why.”
This is where things got extra spice, no pun intended.
“Everybody that you just named, and what you’re talking about, does what they do in different ways,” continued Lathan. “I don’t think that any of the things that they do are necessarily harmful, but what I could say, is a Black man, a prominent one, acting as an emotional butler for white people, and serving them the most milquetoast, un-spicy, unseasoned brand of racial discourse and accountability possible, could definitely be harmful. Like, we’re fighting for our lives, and to me, having a conversation like that, at that particular time, it’s not that it’s a different method. Everybody has a different method. It’s that it’s the wrong method.”
The back and forth started trending after Acho took to Twitter to defend his stance, while claiming that Lathan used his friendship with his co-host to attack him on the show.
A Twitter user (@MindThePit) stated, “Emmanuel’s approach was to suggest he’s better equipped than African Americans to speak because he doesn’t have generational trauma as a Nigerian.”
Acho took exception to this assertion and responded: “I made no such suggestion, that was the reach the host of the show made and led the listener to (at the 39:45 mark). I stated my lineage to allow understanding for my predisposition to be *less* hostile. It was giving the listener insight as to why. Not implying I’m better.”
That’s certainly what it sounded like, though. “I’m not sure what you intended to convey by stating your Nigerian background frees you of ‘generational trauma’ and takes the ‘sting’ out of your convos with white people,” tweeted Lathan along with the clip. “But it feels like your purposefully othered yourself from the descendants of slaves. Why?
“By the way Black Twitter is currently packing up Acho, many would agree. Of course, the MAGA contingent is feeling different, but they’re always at the ready to falsely claim racism was just a fad. Also, Acho played victim with the whole “set up” jig.
Check out some of the slander, and education (no generational trauma since his parents are Igbo’s who left Nigeria, really), being hurled Acho’s way in the gallery. The vitriol is intense considering Acho’s hosts his own podcast, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, which he flipped into a best-selling book.
You can also peep the full convo below.