The actor appeared on CNN yesterday (August 17) to discuss the death of Michael Brown — the unarmed, 18-year-old man who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9.
Jesse has contributed to discussions on race issues before, and as you can see in the video below, he spoke articulately about the issues surrounding the Michael Brown case and the ensuing media coverage.
To Jesse, the focus of the coverage has been askew thus far — with too much focus on Michael's alleged crimes.
"You will find that the people doing the oppressing often want to start the narrative at a convenient point, or always want to start the story in the middle," he explained. "This started with a kid getting shot and killed and left in the street for four hours … That's where we need [the media] to kick into gear and not just keep playing a loop that gets discovered of what the kid may have done — or did, apparently — in a convenience store. That's unfortunate. If that happened, that's going to be factored in, like it or not. But we need journalism to kick in and start telling the story from the beginning. This is about finding justice for a kid that was shot — an 18-year-old that was shot — period."
Jesse also points out that Michael's body was left on the street for four hours — saying he has never heard of a white body being left that long — and that he's seen plenty of white kids commit crimes that are so often associated with black kids.
"We're not the only ones who sell and do drugs all the time. We're not the only ones that steal and talk crazy to cops," he continued. "There's a complete double standard and a complete different experience … A certain element of this country has the privilege of being treated like human beings, and the rest of us are not treated like human beings, period. That needs to be discussed. That's the story. That's what gets frustrating for people — because you don't know five black folks, five black men in particular — that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers."
What do you think of Jesse's points? Let us know in the comments below.