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Aaron Gould Sheinin

Newt Gingrich: White Americans ‘don’t understand being black in America’

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CINCINNATI, OH- JULY 6: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI, OH- JULY 6: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Never let it be said that Newt Gingrich is predictable. 

As the political world waits to see if the former Georgia congressman and U.S. House speaker gets tapped to be Donald Trump’s running mate, Gingrich teamed up with his former Crossfire partner Van Jones to discuss this week’s shootings in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota.

Speaking on Facebook Live, Gingrich was his typically direct self. But, in this age of polarized politics, whether it be of the electoral or racial variety, Gingrich’s comments were also remarkable. Here is the key quote:

“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this. If you are a normal white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.”

White parents, Gingrich continued, don’t have to teach their teenage boys to be extra careful when dealing with police “because it’s not part of your normal experience.”

Related story: 18 things to know about Newt Gingrich

Gingrich wasn’t finished. He described moving from a largely integrated life as a son of an Army officer to Georgia in 1960.

“It was still legally segregated, which meant the local sheriff and National Guard would impose, by force, the taking away of rights of Americans. We’ve come a fair distance, now we have a black mayor of Atlanta, and have had a series of them in fact. We have John Lewis who went from marching on Selma to a Democratic whip in Congress. But we’ve stalled out on the cultural, economic, practical progress we needed.”

That lack of progress, Gingrich said, “creates the kind of alienation where it begins to become legitimate to think about, whether it’s in songs or slogans or whatever, the shooting of policemen. If we were to continue in this direction of alienation on both sides, you could really be a very coarse and dangerous society in 10 or 15 years.”

Watch for yourself below: