As protests raged in Charlotte, Trevor Noah opened The Daily Show on Wednesday night by asking the question, “How do you laugh when the news is sad?” As he did earlier this summer just hours before a sniper left five police officers dead in Dallas, Noah turned more serious than usual as he discussed the latest spate of cops shooting unarmed black men, focusing on the killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After showing video of Crutcher putting his hands on his car in compliance with the officers, Noah said there is no way that he wasn’t “cooperating” with the police, as they have asserted. While we will never know all the facts of any situation, even when there is video evidence, Noah said, “What we do know is this: It seems extremely easy to get shot by police in America, which is not right.”
Naturally, the officers in these situations tend to deny that racism played a role in their actions, but Noah suggested that they “possess a bias they don’t even know they have.”
“That looks like a bad dude,” the cop in the helicopter can be heard saying of Crutcher in the video. “What exactly about that man looks bad to you from all the way up there in your helicopter?” Noah asked. “He’s not holding a weapon, his hands are up. He doesn’t even have a hoodie on, I mean, isn’t that the universal symbol for ‘bad dude’? You can’t tell anything about this man from up in the helicopter except for one thing: He’s black.”
Noah admitted that even he is guilty of “implicit bias,” sometimes seeing a black man and imagining he might get mugged. But to those who wonder why black people are rioting over these incidents, he had this question: “If the only time you encounter black people is when you’re policing crime, then your only experience of black people is that they’re criminals.”
Nothing is going to change “racial bias” overnight, but Noah said the “one thing you can do is not think black people are crazy for feeling oppressed, because every time they see a video of themselves being engaged by police, it ends with them getting shot.”