CNN commentator: Black people and police are more alike than they think

CNN Commentator Van Jones made an unconventional point on Saturday about the ongoing discussion of race relations and law-enforcement in America.

“[Black people and the police] literally are having and describing the same experience,” Jones said, “the police say they feel vulnerable — that’s exactly what the kids in Black Lives Matter are saying.”

After a mass shooting targeting police in Dallas on Thursday and at least two more shootings of police officers in Missouri and Georgia on Friday, some law-enforcement representatives have said they feel like the ones with targets on their backs.

Radio host and conservative political commentator Ben Ferguson noted this week that officers told him “we feel like people want to kill us.”

Here’s more from Jones:

“If, to both sides, it seems that the world is misunderstanding them, it’s a good time to say let me open my heart … listen to the pain of the law-enforcement community, listen to their fear, their sense of being labelled and wronged and misunderstood. Listen to those African-American kids. They can’t take off their badge, they can’t take off their uniform, but they still feel like they have got a target on their back because of their skin colour … there’s now enough pain in both communities that we should be able to understand each other.”

Philando Castila vigil people hugging cryingStephen Maturen/Getty ImagesTwo people embrace during a demonstration for Philando outside the Governor’s Mansion following the police shooting death of a black man on July 7, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Another media influencer took issue with Jones’ suggestion. The Daily Beast’s editor-at-large, Goldie Taylor, said of black people, “They don’t have the same experience. They don’t have the same power.”

Taylor is referring to the fact that police have the power to detain, arrest and, in some cases, kill under the protection of the law.

Speaking from Poland, President Obama said that he doesn’t believe America is as “divided as some have suggested.” 

“This is not who we want to be as Americans, and that serves as the basis of us being able to move forward in a constructive and positive way,” Obama said, referring to this week’s unprecedented violence in the US.

Obama’s hopefulness echoed a message posted
 by Facebook user Natasha Howell on Friday describing an unexpected encounter she had with a police officer. Howell, whose post has since gone viral, said she went into a store where a white police officer was talking to a clerk.

In the post, Howell says the officer asked her how she was doing. “I’m tired,” Howell said. “Me too,” the officer responded, adding “I guess it’s not easy being either of us right now, is it?” According to Howell’s posting, they both hugged it out.

Watch Van Jones’ commentary below:

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