MSNBC's Tamron Hall made deeply personal revelations about being black while reflecting on the death of Trayvon Martin on Wednesday's "Rock Center."
The killing of Martin and the police handling of the case have sparked outrage across the country. Hall was one of several black members of the NBC News family who related to the controversy and spoke about race on the newsmagazine show.
Hall described her own experiences with racial profiling in an emotional interview. "I am followed in department stores," she said. "I have walked in dressed professionally or dressed in jeans and I have walked into stores and instantly, security is on my back."
She said that she remembered her father's lesson to her brother about what to do if he ever got pulled over: to keep his hands on the steering wheel, look forward, answer "yes, sir" or "no, sir," and avoid any sudden movements. "Because we don't want that officer to believe there's a black man in that car who's making a sudden move and we've gotta take action," she recalled.
Hall said that she felt "confusion" in response to Martin's death. "At some point, I even felt... how else am I supposed to feel? I feel hurt," she added.
NBC News' Lester Holt also spoke out about the tragedy for the segment. "The story becomes personal because like most African-American males at points in my life I know that I have been singled out or someone has gotten a really wrong impression about me just based on the color of my skin," he said.
He recalled his nervous reaction to seeing police driving behind him when he was living in southern California. He said that "palms would get sweaty" and he would "get that feeling in the pit of [his] stomach."