Civil rights attorney Ben Crump on confronting racial bias

Ben Crump on "genocide" of colored people

From police brutality to voter suppression, civil rights attorney Ben Crump is examining how racist practices within the criminal justice system impact America. In his new book, "Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People," he said he's "holding a mirror to America's face to say: America, we can do better."  

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Open Season by Ben Crump

Crump, who's been called the "African-American family emergency plan," gained national recognition in 2012 during the Trayvon Martin case. Since then, he's been by the side of many people seeking justice, including the families of Tamir Rice, , and most recently, Botham Jean.

Crump said his inspiration for the book goes back to the young protesters after the police shooting death of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"There was this one young man I remember specifically who confronted the National Guard who had the assault rifles pointed at him. He said, 'Go ahead and kill me now with all the cameras here. You're going to kill us anyway when they're gone.' And he said, 'It's important that the world sees how you all are killing us,' and that stayed in my mind. It's important," Crump recounted.

Confronting our biases as a country can start with honesty and data, Crump said. According to the NAACP, black Americans make up about 13% of the U.S. population, but makeup 42% on death row.

"So you have to admit that, one or two things, either black men are some terrible, evil, criminal-minded people, or our criminal justice system is racist and discriminatory, and I choose to believe that black men are no worse than any other man in America," Crump said.

While implicit racial bias cannot be undone by one-day training sessions, Crump said everyone can be part of the solution.

"Every day we have to try to better ourselves," he said. "We have to look at situations where the -- in the courtroom where black and brown people are sentenced twice as much as white people and say there's something wrong with that. We can't, as Dr. King says, see injustice and see evil and look the other way."

"There is a better way that we can make this world better for all our children and let them know that all our lives matter," Crump added.