WARNING: Racially-charged rant starts conversation in the Mid-So - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WARNING: Racially-charged rant starts conversation in the Mid-South

(Source: Facebook) (Source: Facebook)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

A Memphis man started an important conversation about racism and your right to vote after a man hurled racist slurs at him after an incident while driving.

Brandon Levston, 29, goes by the name Skye Lev on Facebook. He filmed as Neil Thompson got out of his car and yelled at him through his car window in the parking lot of Wolfchase Galleria on Sunday.

Levston said the incident started when he turned on his blinker to change lanes in traffic. Thompson sped up in an effort to prevent him from switching lanes, but Levston said there was so much space between their vehicles that he had no problem changing lanes anyway. When he pulled into a parking lot, Thompson came up to his window and started shouting at him. As soon as Levston began recording the incident with his phone, he said the man started hurling racial insults at him.

"I actually, literally, just wanted to have a peaceful conversation," Levston said.

He said the video shows extreme racism still exists in America today.

"Racism does exist," Levston said. "Too many times it does get swept under the rug."

Levston said he has a message for those who watch the video: "My message is to get out and vote, be heard, make an informed decision, and do as much research as you can."

Click below to watch the full uncensored video. WARNING: Video contains vulgar language and is not appropriate for all viewers.

Levston said he doesn't want any harm to come to the man in the video, later identified as Neil Thompson, but he admits there are consequences to one's actions.

"If he lose his job and all that, I couldn't care less," Levston said. "I mean, you're a grown man, and that's the consequences of your actions."

He said he forgives Thompson and welcomes the idea of meeting up with him to talk their issues out.

Neil Thompson's brother confirmed that Thompson was the man yelling the racial insults in the video. He said his brother is scared to come home because he is worried about his safety now that the video has gone viral.

Thompson spoke for several minutes, often using the n-word and telling Levston that "black lives don’t matter."

The video garnered more than 2 million views in less than 10 hours.

Levston said he is a father and this incident reminded him that he needs to talk to his young son about racism, even in this modern age.

"I have to explain to him that racism does exist," Skye said. "These are the things to look out for. These are the things to be prepared for."

Thompson's neighbors said he has been a wonderful neighbor. Many even defended his statements.

"I like the man. I can't...I"m not here to say not one bad word about him," Thompson's neighbor Shavon Heyser said. 

Heyser said she doesn't believe Thompson is actually racist. She thinks he let his emotions get the best of him in the video. She also said every one of us is guilty of racist thoughts when we're angry.

"I'm serious," Heyser said. "I feel like the man is a good person and I feel like I have said some racist things about white people, black people, Mexicans, and I can't hold it against him and I don't want any harm."

But, not all of his neighbors were so quick to forgive him.

"So hard to hear and it's so discouraging and disgusting to me that there are still people that feel that way, and these are younger people," neighbor Donna Wassinger said. "Just irrational. It's ugly and there's just no call for it."

Thompson's brother said he doesn't agree with or condone his brother's comments. He said that's not how either of them were raised. He said he was shocked to see the video because he has never heard his brother say anything like that and nobody else in their family feels that way. 

Memphis pastor and Black Lives Matter supporter Earle Fisher said this type of racism is not an isolated incident. He said he believes somewhere in America, this type of racism happens every single day.

"There are people who think just like this brother that are in halls of Congress and may even be in governor's mansions," Fisher said.

He said that's how institutional racism survives: with people who are in power thinking the same way as Neil Thompson. Fisher said it was no mistake that Thompson shouted his support of Trump without being prompted. 

"That's Trumpism, isn't it? Trump has relatively made it popular," Fisher said.

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Lee Mills released a statement condemning Thompson and saying that Thompson does not represent the overwhelming majority of Donald Trump supporters.

"The fact is, we have seen a record number of African Americans voting for Donald Trump because of the failed policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton," Mills' statement said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the video is a hard pill to swallow and not something he wants associated with Memphis.

"At first, I wanted to believe it wasn't in Memphis," Strickland said. "I just could not believe it and we have a lot of work to do."

Leaders of the National Civil Rights Museum said Thompson made himself very clear.

"The guy that was in the video was very clear on how he felt," NCRM representative Faith Morris said.

They said the video should force people to think not about the act of racism, but focus on why racism still exists. Morris said the man behind the camera did the right thing by not letting it force him to act out of character.

"He had the same agenda Dr. King had," Morris said. "I am going to expose you for who you are, so the world can see what's going on."

Below you can read a transcript of the entire video:

Driver: What's up buddy?

Levston: Oh now I'm a buddy?

Driver: Hey, Trump, Trump all the way. Trump! Hey, check this out--

Levston: I was a n----- a minute ago, now I'm a buddy.

Driver: Nah, I got you, because black lives don't matter. There ain't no proof. Just because you say something, don't mean nothing. Prove it.

Levston: Wow. I appreciate you. I appreciate you for sharing that.

Driver: Hey check it out. If black lives matter--hey I'm talking for you. Oh you appreciate it? 

(both talk over each other for a couple seconds)

Levston: So black lives don't matter because you got a problem in traffic?

Driver: No. Black lives don't matter--no the problem in traffic was you were right behind me, sped up and drove around me, jumped in front of me, and made me slam on my brakes at a light. That makes you a n-----. That proves that black lives don't matter. Hey--no, no no. If you have a side, if you have a subject, you tell me why black lives matter. Because people say so? You need to tell me why. Do you know what "matter" means? It's something that makes a difference. And let me tell you something--

(both talk over each other for a couple seconds)

Driver: Hey, Martin Luther King died for a purpose. You need to watch the very first episode of "Boondocks," because he walks around ashamed of the people with the flat-brimmed hats, like you and the people that can't even keep their pants up. Yeah, put it on Facebook, I don't care! Look at me.

Levston: Apparently you don't.

Driver: You're a punk who lives off social media. I don't even have a social media account. You know why? Because white lives matter.

Levston: I appreciate you sharing with me your life story sir.

Driver: What life story?

Female passenger in car: Why don't you go put your own f------ people's lives in danger?

Driver [to woman in car]: Hey, let me handle it. You just be a woman. (He closes the car door)

Driver: What was my life history? Was there anything of anybody's past? Or are you just another n----- who doesn't understand anything?

Levston: Apparently you were teaching me about black people.

Driver: I'll teach you anything.

Levston: Teach me a little bit more about black people.

Driver: Black people were bought by a contract, and we got ripped off. Because y'all should've got returned when there was evidence and proof that y'all couldn't do anything, because y'all live off welfare.

(both talk over each other for a couple seconds)

Driver: Let me answer your question, n-----.

Levston: You keep saying "y'all." Y'all who? What makes you think I'm a black person?

Driver: Because you look like a--and you drive like a n-----. That's why. With that flat-billed hat, even white people are n------ to me, even some Mexicans. 

Levston: Wow.

Driver: Wow what? If you mean "wow," what is the definition of a n-----? Is it black skin?

Levston: I don't use the word n-----, so I don't even know.

Driver: No, what is the definition. Is it a word?

Levston: Yes, sir.

Driver: OK, what is the definition?

Levston: Apparently you're going to tell me.

Driver: No, I'm asking you. I've already told you what a n----- is. It's people who have flat-billed hats, can't keep their pants up, and put people's lives in danger on the streets--cutting them off in traffic. That's a n-----. Someone who--they don't matter.

Levston: OK.

Driver: I have a family in my car, and you know what, we matter. Because, you know what I mean? You're going around putting people's lives in danger and then you want to follow people and put them on social media. 

Levston: I didn't follow you, sir.

Driver: Hey, spread this. It's OK. Spread this. People need to--hey, I'm looking at the camera now, not you. Black lives do not matter because black people walk around and say it. That don't mean anything. I could walk around and say "Elvis is still alive," does that mean he is still alive? No. You have to prove something with your life, for once. You have to prove something, buddy. Go out and do that. 

Levston: I appreciate you so much. 

Driver [said while walking back to his car]: Yeah, you f------ transgender f-----.

Levston [begins to drive off]: Wow.

Driver [turns back around and begins grabbing his crotch]: That's right, BLM doesn't matter. Drive off sucker.

Levston: Yes ma'am.

Driver: You acted tough on the road.

Levston: Am I acting tough?

Driver [pulls up his shirt to show his torso]: No, you ain't acting tough. I'm tough. You ain't s---.

Levston: Oh OK.

Driver: Yeah, that's right. You remember that.

Levston: Absolutely. Yes sir.

Driver: Hey, if there wasn't technology and stuff like this, I would've smashed you.

Levston: Would you?

Driver: Because I'm a man, and you're a punk.

Levston: That's what you would do?

Driver: Yeah, I "would have" is what I said--not what I would do. That would make it a threat. I would have.

Levston: No, a minute ago you told me I'm threatening your family in traffic, but you're basically--you don't think you're threatening me?

Driver: I'm threatening you?

Levston: You don't think you're threatening your family--
 
Driver: I'm threatening you.

Levston: --by threatening a complete stranger, which you don't have the slightest idea what could possibly be in their car?

Driver: Where was the threat? Can you repeat the threat? I said I would have crushed you.

Levston: You don't have the slightest clue what could be in that person's car.

Driver: I have something in my car too. What does that mean?

Levston: I appreciate it.

Driver: You appreciate it? You don't have s--- in your car. You know why?

Levston: I appreciate this Sunday entertainment. You have no clue how much I appreciate it.

Driver: OK, you appreciate that n-----.

(Driver walks off. Levston begins to drive away but turns the camera to himself before ending the video.)

Levston: That's exactly why y'all need to get out and vote. If you ever needed proof of why you need to get out and be heard, go f------ vote.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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