Chip Gaines Says ‘My Eyes Were Opened’ to 'Plague' of Racial Injustice: ‘I Must Do Better’
In an essay penned for the fall issue of Magnolia Journal, the Fixer Upper contractor discusses how he's coming to terms with what he still has to learn
Chip Gaines has been using the last few months to listen, learn and check his privilege — and he’s not afraid to admit that he has a long way to go.
The Fixer Upper star, 45, opens up about how he’s been grappling with racial injustice in America over the past few months in an essay for the fall issue of Magnolia Journal, which hits newsstands on August 21. (Magnolia Journal is published by Meredith, PEOPLE’s parent company.) The theme of the issue, which is covered by Chip’s wife, Joanna, is “Rhythm.”
“I’m finding it strange to be talking about rhythm seeing as how, over these past few months, just about every ounce of rhythm that I’ve ever known has been disrupted,” the father of five began the essay, titled “Time for New Rhythms.”
He recalls how the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was the first surprise in 2020 to turn his world upside down. “For some, ‘difficulty and devastation’ is an understatement,” he wrote of the effects of the pandemic.
But not long after, Chip writes, something else happened that made him rethink everything: the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, and the demand for justice and racial equality that followed through protests across the country.
“My eyes were opened, yet again, to the racial injustices that still plague our country today,” writes the home renovation expert. “I’ve spent the past few months listening and trying to sort it all out — overwhelmed at all the things I don’t understand. Overwhelmed by how far we’ve still got to go. Overwhelmed by how far I’ve still got to go.”
“I don’t have answers,” he admits, but promises, “I’m still listening. All I know is this: I must do better. We must do better.”
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True to his word, Chip and his family are already working to make positive change.
In July, the couple used their platform to help promote and celebrate Black-owned businesses across the country through a “virtual vendor fair,” curating a list of more than 75 home, fashion and lifestyle brands and makers that their fans could find and shop on the Magnolia website.
In mid-June, Chip and Joanna addressed the way their family has been grappling with issues of racism while appearing on an episode of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, hosted by former NFL player Emmanuel Acho. They were joined by their five kids: sons Drake, 15, Duke, 12, and Crew, 2, and daughters Ella Rose, 13, and Emmie Kay, 10.
"We learn things as kids and it develops us as adults, which is why you all being here with your children is the most powerful thing," Acho explains in the video below, "because this conversation could be life-changing — and not necessarily for their lives, but for the life of someone who looks like me."
While Chip acknowledges there’s a long way to go — for him and for the country — he says he hopes that this tumultuous time in history will give people the chance to see things differently, and reevaluate.
“I can’t pretend to know how all of this will play out, but I do know this: When a rhythm is disrupted and displaced, another one fills its place. It’s how the world works,” Chip concludes his essay. “This time, let’s embrace the rhythms of understanding, the rhythms of justice, the rhythms of hope, and the rhythms of love.”
The fall issue of Magnolia Journal is on sale August 21.
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