The conversation on the topic began after Fallon asked De Niro if he's "had the conversation about race with" his children.
"My children are all half black and I don’t have ... even me, I take certain things for granted,” De Niro, who's 76 years old, replied. "When people say that they tell their kids, 'keep your hands [up] when you’re stopped, stopped by anybody, cops, keep your hands on the steering wheel, don’t make a sudden move, don’t put your hands below, don’t do this.' You understand that. That’s scary. That has to change."
Also during his interview, De Niro talked about the ongoing anti-police brutality protests that have been occurring throughout the country. "We had all the protests and everything going on, rightfully so, people are so angry that they did not care it seems. They said, ‘I’m going out anyway,'” he said. “I think a lot of people did wear masks; it seems that way. But that’s how angry everybody was."
De Niro also criticized Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic. "This whole thing could have been avoided if Trump had listened to his people in the intelligence community,” he said of COVID-19. "They kept telling him something was coming." De Niro continued, "What scares me is that people just were afraid to tell him the truth. And if you tell him the truth, then he’s going to be mad at you and he’s going to let you go and then what? It’s crazy. It’s like telling a crazy relative … you avoid arguing with them because they’re going to go crazy, but they run the country, you have to!"