The Christian Post Sits Down With Emmanuel Acho for an Uncomfortable Conversation With a Black Man

Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho, 2020 | Flatiron Books

Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho, who’s now a Fox analyst, released a new book inspired by his popular series, called “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” to help facilitate racial reconciliation. He says the Church can do a better job at breaking the racial divide as well.

“This is my Esther moment, for such a time as this,” Acho told The Christian Post in an interview about how the Lord has been using him to bring blacks and whites together for dialogue.

The 29-year-old athlete has gone viral this year with his internet series, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” which was launched on the heels of the national unrest in America that followed the death of George Floyd.

Acho’s “uncomfortable” conversations on YouTube have included Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. He also sat down with interracial couples — gold medalists Lindsey Vonn and her husband, P.K. Subban, and “The Bachelorette’s” Rachel Lindsay and her spouse, Bryan Abasalo — as well as a unit of police officers and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, to name a few.

“Let’s not be distracted,” the Texas native of Nigerian descent told CP. “Let’s keep our focus on truly making change and being a part of the reconciliation.”

Acho teamed up with media mogul Oprah Winfrey to publish his new book, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, which is now available. Winfrey said she partnered with Acho because of how much his new series has impacted her.

In the book, Acho creates an honest dialogue for anyone seeking answers on how to really mend the racial divide in the world today.

The following is an edited transcript of CP’s conversation with Acho where he speaks directly to people of faith on how to tackle this sensitive topic head-on. Though it may be uncomfortable, he says it’s necessary to not dub it as simply “a sin issue” while ignoring the “real issue.”

Christian Post: You are a man of faith. Do you consider having these uncomfortable conversations with white people a service unto God or call from Him?

Acho: I do. But I consider everything that I do and try to do for a purpose, as ministry, as I’m using my platform. I’ve told Oprah, this is my Esther moment, for such a time as this because I believe God ushered me into this moment for such a time as this. It was kind of one of those “Here I am, send me” type of moments. I didn’t seek this moment out. I wasn’t asking for this moment. But the man met the moment and I’m always like, “God, why did you choose me?” But I think that everything I went through in my life was for this specific point in time.

Playing in the NFL wasn’t to make money. I think it was to integrate myself into a culture that I would never be integrated in. With going to a predominantly affluent white college preparatory school, it wasn’t to get a great education, it was to immerse myself in a culture that I otherwise wouldn’t be immersed in. So that is how I see this. I think God ordained all of this, to use me for this moment.

CP: In your interview with Carl Lentz, he shared that he believed the Church propagates racism. As a black person, is that something that’s a thought in the back of your mind when you attend church?

Acho: I would submit this: I would submit that the Church doesn’t do a good enough job to break racial divides. Let me submit this: there’s a difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity — being invited to the dance. Inclusion — being asked to dance. I think the church attempts diversity, “All our doors are welcome. We’re a multicultural church or a multiethnic church, we’re a nondenominational where everyone is welcome because God loves everyone.” But what are you doing within your congregation to promote inclusion? Because black culture is different than white culture and the black church experience is different than the white church experience. I know because I go to both.

When I was in college, I would literally go to white church at 7 a.m., then go to black church at 11 a.m. I say black versus white church because as much as my dear brothers and sisters, black and white, want to act as though we have diverse churches, we’re missing the mark still in that regard. So I wouldn’t say that I don’t feel safe or welcomed. I would just say I feel uncomfortable.

CP: What are you really hoping happens with your book, Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man?

Acho: I think in Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, it’ll do two things. One, it will expose you of your ignorance and it will educate you on what you didn’t even know. When you start having dialogues, you start to expose things that you didn’t even realize were misconceptions. A dear pastor, a friend who I have met several times, a friend who I enjoy his work, he came out during a conversation about racism and talked about slavery and said it was a “white blessing.” See, until you start having these dialogues, you don’t even realize that that’s in your head or in your heart. So while so many people criticized him for that, and I could understand the criticism, I’m [clapping] because if you don’t have the conversation, then you live your whole life with that misconception.

So I’m hoping that my book will essentially allow so many of my white brothers and sisters who are great intended white brothers and sisters to now have direction because intention without direction is void and meaningless. So many white people, specifically in the Church, my white brothers and sisters [have] incredible intentions, God-fearing, they love the Lord, Praise Jesus, all that but they just don’t have the right direction and I try to provide some direction as well.

CP: Why do you think the phrase Black Lives Matter triggers some to say “marxism” more than agreeing with the statement? 

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law

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