Chip and Joanna Gaines are parents to sons Crew, 2 this month, Duke, 12, and Drake, 15, plus daughters Emmie Kay, 10, and Ella Rose, 13

By Jen Juneau
June 18, 2020 02:22 PM
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Chip and Joanna Gaines are learning more about how they can approach the topic of race in their family.

During a Wednesday appearance on Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, the Fixer Upper alums were joined by all five of their kids — sons Crew, 2 this month, Duke, 12, and Drake, 15, plus daughters Emmie Kay, 10, and Ella Rose, 13 — to speak with host Emmanuel Acho about how to talk to their children about race in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

"We've been having this dialogue with our kids and Chip, the other day, he was wanting to get a pulse on, 'What are our kids thinking about all of this?' And so he asked the kids a question: 'Pretend like you're at a gas station and you see a black man and a white man. Are you more threatened by either of those two men?' " said Joanna, 42.

"And the kids, really quick, all said, 'No, why?' They didn't even think about that," she adds. "Chip and I were talking and this whole idea of this colorblind thing came up and Chip said, 'I'm proud — I think our kids are colorblind.' "

"And then we started kind of pushing back on that, and I think our question to you is, I've heard other parents say that they want to raise their kids colorblind — in your opinion, what's the best way to move forward with this conversation?" she asked Acho, 29.

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The Gaines family with Emmanuel Acho
Emmanuel Acho/YouTube
Chip and Joanna Gaines
Emmanuel Acho/YouTube

"I think that it's best that we raise our kids to see color, because there's a beauty in color and there's a beauty in culture," replies the former NFL player.

He then goes on to give an example in his own life before making his point — the fact that he "can't decipher between a dog that's a threat and a dog that's just a pet," as he didn't grow up around animals and had the experience of his sister being attacked by a dog when she was young.

"I think that if we don't see color — if we don't expose our children to different colors, to different races — then it'll be the same thing as a white kid who becomes an adult: You won't be able to decipher the difference between a black man that's a threat and a black man that's just black," Acho continues.

In a similar vein, "A black person won't be able to decipher between a white person that's a racist and a white person who's just white and may happen to be racially ignorant," he explains.

Demonstrators protest on June 14 after an Atlanta police officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's drive-thru
Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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Acho goes on to discuss how racism is "so ingrained into our culture" regardless of intent from specific individuals, giving examples of why schools named after confederate generals and statues still standing in their honor are problematic.

Near the end of the video, Emmie asks Acho a question that makes him laugh before giving it the serious answer the second-youngest Gaines child is looking for: "Are you afraid of white people?"

"I'm not afraid of white people — I'm cautious of white people," he explains. "I think about water and electricity: Water is necessary for life. Electricity is also necessary for life but I do understand if those two have a negative interaction, it could be lethal."

"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," Emmanuel continues, "because this conversation could be life-changing — and not necessarily for their lives, but for the life of someone who looks like me."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.