Ellen DeGeneres Confronted A Difficult Topic In Order To Discuss How It Can Be Resolved

“It means you want everybody to be treated fairly.”

Everyone knows Ellen DeGeneres for her happy-go-lucky demeanor, especially on her eponymous daytime talk show. She wasn't all smiles during her April 20 episode, though, when she was joined by CNN host Van Jones. DeGeneres took the opportunity to get serious about a topic that had been weighing heavily on her: the recent spate of unarmed African American men being shot by police.

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The interview started off lighthearted enough, with the host showing a few slightly embarrassing pictures of Jones with decidedly more hair than he has now. But she soon got down to the important matter at hand. "Recently there have been so many African American men who have been shot by police and nothing seems to change," she said to Jones, concern clouding her face. "I can hardly talk about it without getting emotional. I'm furious. As a White person, I'm ashamed."

She went on to give examples of what she saw as "blatant racism," relaying details of the cases of teenager Brennan Walker, who was shot at after knocking on a door to ask for directions, and Diante Yarber, who died after being struck 24 times when police opened fire on his vehicle outside of a Walmart. 

For his part, Jones tried his best to explain why he feels the problem persists, citing the widely held misconception that the police are always right. He also suggested that, like most other professions, there should be some kind of oversight when it comes to police officers to weed out those that might abuse their power. He then explained to the Ellen audience why those seeking some kind of justice in these cases shouldn't be deemed un-American. "If you don't like bad cops, it doesn't mean you hate America," he said. "It means you want everybody to be treated fairly."

With the advent of the Black Lives Matter movement and increased scrutiny of police actions in cases like that of Stephon Clark, having difficult discussions like the one initiated are the only way that change the results of similar situations in the future. Jones later commented on Twitter while praising DeGeneres' conviction about the issue, highlighting what it takes to push things forward, writing, "If more people had your passion to end racism and police abuse, the world would be a better place."

Check out the conversation in the video above.

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