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Kerry Washington Suggests America Reframe How Kids Learn About Race

Illustration for article titled Kerry Washington Suggests America Reframe How Kids Learn About Race
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Kerry Washington was a virtual guest on Monday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, where, in reference to the worldwide protests against police brutality, Kimmel asked her, “Are [your kids] aware of what’s going on?” Washington told him there’s no way black families can really ignore it and went on to suggest that Americans might need to rethink the way children learn about race in the first place.

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She explains:

“There’s a lot of posts about [how] privilege looks like discovering that racism exists as opposed to knowing that it exists. So I think for a lot of black families, we don’t have the privilege of ignoring what’s going on and pretending that it’s not happening. But the thing I’ve been thinking about a lot, honestly, with my kids, I’ve been thinking—and with my friends’ kids—I’ve been thinking a lot about education and a lot about talking about race and introducing ideas of race and really thinking about the idea that for a lot of kids—kids are introduced to race at Black History Month or in the concept of change-makers like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

And I think it’s really important that we start to introduce the idea of race with a black history that begins before teaching kids what black people were told they couldn’t do, right? So there’s Maasai Warriors and the kingdoms of Ghana and Queen Nefertiti and the pyramids of Egypt. Alicia Keys talks about this a little bit in her new memoir that’s so beautiful, More Myself, but this idea of teaching kids that black history and black people were a lot of things before segregation and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. So that we understand the beautiful complexity and elegance and richness of black history before not, you know, refusing to be put in the back of the bus.”

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Should the whole prestige television thing not work out, she should consider getting into lobbying to reform our broken education system.

Watch the segment below.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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