Why Salon's D. Watkins is done with your Twitter outrage and Facebook rants

Salon’s Editor at Large D. Watkins has been called an activist for his writing and commentary on police shootings of young African Americans, including the killing of Freddie Gray from Watkins’ hometown of Baltimore. While Watkins wants to draw attention to systemic issues like police violence, he rejects the “activist” label and is advocating for creating tangible, direct action instead.

“After Freddie Gray died, everybody had Freddie Gray shirts and signs and tattoos, and people was crying, ‘Freddy, poor Freddy.’ And it was sad. It was sad. But there's so many young kids who have realities similar to his that are around. A lot of'em don't have mentors, a lot of'em don't really understand how these systems work,” Watkins explained.

Watkins, a New York Times bestselling author, released his third book, “We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America,” on April 23.

“When I was coming up, I wasn't around artists, and photographers, and professors, and people that worked in media. These things weren't options, but if they were maybe I would have taken school more seriously, maybe I would have became a reader at an earlier age, maybe I would have stepped outside of my neighborhood to try to build some relationships,” he continued “I know a lot of these kids are starting to get it now, but there’s an opportunity for us to make these relationships before these people become hashtags.”

Watch the full episode to hear why D. Watkins wants to lead tough conversations that make people upset and how we can talk about race in a meaningful way without dwelling on “phony” terminology like mirco-agressions.

About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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