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Revisit Toni Morrison’s Must-Watch Speech About the ‘Profound Neurosis’ of Racism

In 1993, Charlie Rose sat down with iconic novelist Toni Morrison for a wide-ranging conversation, but one clip, in particular, has been drawing fresh attention in the wake of a horrific week for black people in America. The clip begins immediately after Rose asks Morrison, who passed away last year, how she deals with instances of everyday racism in her own life.

“Let me tell you, that’s the wrong question,” Morrison responds.“Don’t you understand, that the people who do this thing, who practice racism, are bereft? There is something distorted about the psyche.”

“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem,” she continues. “My feeling is that white people have a very, very serious problem. And they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it.”

The clip has been passed around in the wake of the horrific and brutal killing of George Floyd, whose neck was crushed by a police officer while he begged for his life.

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