Celebrity Parents Share How They Are Talking To Their Children About Racism
As protests continue across the country in response to the police killing of George Floyd, celebrities are sharing how they are talking to their children about racism at home. While some are discussing the honest conversations they are having about privilege, prejudices, and police brutality, others are revealing the fears they have in raising black children and the talks they are forced to have about compliance and survival. Read the passionate statements from Jessica Alba, Tamera Mowry, Kristen Bell, Reese Witherspoon, and more celebs below.
“When I see all of the hateful, racist activity that has been happening, you realize what really matters,” the actress and mother of three told People. “Honor and Haven are online more than ever, so they're exposed to this. And my kids are black and Mexican so there's a connection to what's happening.”
She went on to explain how it's important to talk to your kids about racism, regardless of age. “You have to have these conversations that feel difficult when it comes to equality and social justice. l these conversations can be had and you can start early with them. I did. Because that's how you're going to give them the fire to make sure that that isn't their reality.”
“We've never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we're pulled over in the car,” Blake Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds wrote in a statement shared by both on Instagram. “We don't know what it's like to experience that life day in and day out. We can't imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger. We're ashamed that in the past we've allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.”
“We want to educate ourselves about other people's experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it…especially our own complicity,” their message continued. “We talk about our bias, blindness, and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which have led us to deeply examine who we are and who we want to become. We're committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern.”
“I believe prejudice/racism/discrimination in some ways are taught. It starts at home. How do we look at this from a parent's point a view? As parents, we have the responsibility to teach, to mold, to instruct, to do! But most importantly, BE the example. What kind of conversations are you having with your children?” the actress wrote on Instagram.
She continued: “I am a product of an interracial marriage. My mom is black, and my dad is white. We visually saw the discrepancies and hurtful experiences of racism growing up. We had uncomfortable conversations about race, as young as eight years old, by the way. Some people won’t like you because of your skin color. Don’t listen to them. They are idiots! Dad would say. Black is beautiful! Keep your head up. And don’t let anyone tell you different! Mom would say. It starts at home. It’s never too late to start NOW! We have the responsibility of molding the future. Do you realize the power in that?!”
“My children fear police,” the TV host and father of three revealed in an interview with Access. “I try to teach fearlessness. I try to teach, 'You have a power within you that you need to fear nothing.' But when they see the energy of law enforcement [it 's like], 'Uh oh, here comes the police.'”
He went onto explain the honest conversations he having with his children as a result: “So that mindset of, 'Sit up straight and don't talk, keep your hands where they can see them' — these are things that I'm talking to a 3 year old about [and] 9 year olds about; they bring those questions to me.
“It's something that's hurtful to have those conversations with your children, but you want to protect them at the end of the day,” he added.
“I showed my daughters some of the images that are happening right now, because I think that they have more durability and more resilience than we give them credit for,” the actress said in an interview with The Morning Beat. She added that they discussed the “parallel of what was happening in Michigan, where there were white people yelling in the face of cops, holding guns and nothing was happening, versus people that were sitting on the ground protesting peacefully, being tear-gassed.”
Bell went on to explain: “And I said, 'What kind of problems do you see with this picture? Tell me what you're looking at right now.' And we had a very honest, hard, uncomfortable conversation about what was happening right now,” she said. “Because I will — you can put it on my gravestone — I will raise anti-racists. I will talk about it with them forever.”
“Evolution tells us to look for differences,” she said later in the interview, but “I want to talk to my kids about looking for sameness, and sameness comes in the form of values and personality and action, not of colors.”
“As a mother, there is a natural instinct to protect my children from anything that might make them feel sad or unsafe. The pain and suffering inflicted by racism is not a thing of the past and I bare the responsibility to speak with my kids honestly and often about it, even when the truth is uncomfortable,” the reality star and mother of three wrote on Instagram. “I have to make sure they understand what it means to have white privilege and to take the time to learn and discuss Black History, beyond just one short month out of the year.”
She continued: “I encourage other mothers to join me in using this as a learning lesson for our children, to allow our children to feel comfortable enough to come talk to us about anything. Allow conversation without judgement, and learn from our children too. We don’t know it all. My children sometimes ask questions that I may not know the answers to, so we explore them together. I’ve felt like I’ve always been on the right side of this, but I have a lot to learn and want to educate myself even more, so that I can be a better mother, a better auntie to my nieces and nephews, a better friend, and a better person.”
The Today anchor recently opened up about how she and her husband told their children about George Floyd's death. When having the difficult conversations, she said she didn’t give “mom answers,” but instead told her three young kids the truth.
“As the father of a black daughter and also two white daughters – I have struggled with what to say today. We have navigated forms of racism directly and while there is mostly overwhelming support and love for our family, sometimes there is just the opposite. Because of that fear, it can be a lot easier to choose silence, but today I’m choosing to speak,” the country singer and father of three wrote on Instagram.
He continued: “I have no clue what it feels like to be profiled by authorities, treated negatively or have my life threatened because of the color of my skin. When I witnessed the horrific murder of George and think about the mistreatment of other black men and women in America, I am heartbroken and angry. I get scared when I think about my daughters and what kind of world they will be growing up in and how my JOB as a father is to show them how to lead with love in the face of hate. To know their worth and value as not only women but human beings.”
Rhett finished his post by saying his family will be committed to fighting for equality. “We will be fighting this fight for the rest of our lives,” he wrote.
“Last night at dinner, my 7-year-old asked why all the grown-ups were so upset,” the actress shared on Instagram, referring to her son Tennessee. “We spoke to him about what happened to George Floyd. Being a white mother trying to explain racism and bigotry to her white son, who did not understand why anyone would treat another human being that way, was heartbreaking.”
She continued: “But not nearly as heartbreaking as being a victim of one of these senseless, violent, unconscionable crimes. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being one of the families who have experienced loss and harassment and discrimination daily. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being a mother who lives in fear of what will happen to her children in this world.”
She finished her post by telling her fans “we have to be held accountable for what is happening in this country…Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate. If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is.”
Nicole Ari Parker
After attending a recent protest with her daughter Sophie, the actress took to social media to open up about how she talks to her children about racism while struggling to also protect their innocence. “They’re absorbing a lot of information from all angles…we assume they are as strong as we are…as we and their grandparents had to be,” she wrote on Instagram. “As a mom we want to anchor their happiness and confidence and self esteem but can’t always keep up with the insane amount of news/hatred/violence/evil explanations and preparations and violations and isolation…and still protect them. It hurts to take their innocence away in order to survive.”
The actress revealed that she is not only talking to her son about racism, but encouraging him to get involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. Alongside a photo of her 8-year-old son holding a sing that reads “I can't breathe,” she wrote: “I promise that I will always continue to talk to my child about inequality. And I promise to do all I can to learn more. We have had many more of these necessary hard conversations over the last few days, about why people are so angry and sad.”
She continued: “For a child who didn’t used to see color amongst his friends it’s hard for him to understand, to understand why the past he learns about in school is still very present in our world today. I wanted to give him an opportunity today to do a small neighborhood protest to support his friends and feel like he’s part of the progress that will hopefully happen.”
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