Gabrielle Union on Finding Diverse Schools for Her Kids and Actively 'Reaffirming Their Blackness'
"It's not just enough to hand them a magazine or a book or watching Black Is King on a loop," she says
Gabrielle Union is intentional about where she sends her kids for their education.
The Bring It On actress opens up about raising her children in diverse settings for a new ELLE.com's State of Black Beauty essay, explaining how she seeks out schools. Union shares daughter Kaavia James, 2, with husband Dwyane Wade, who also is dad to sons Xavier Zechariah, 7, Zaire, 19, and daughter Zaya, 13.
"What I'm trying to do with our two daughters is understand that if I cannot provide a school environment that is as diverse as the global population, I have to do more to constantly make sure the girls are reaffirmed," Union, 48, says.
"It's not just enough to hand them a magazine or a book or watching Black Is King on a loop," the mom adds. "We have to surround them with additional teachers they may not see at school. It becomes another job. Part of that is constantly reaffirming their Blackness outside of them so they can constantly see themselves in the flesh, mirroring what we're teaching at home."
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Union says she tries to be "very purposeful about the schools the kids go to and what their faculty and administration physically look like."
"Then, if there's not enough kids in the school creating outside peer groups, just keep reaffirming," she adds. "Then you have to hope for the best. Every kid is different, so it's a bit of a crapshoot."
She adds, "And as the world keeps changing, there's so much anti-Blackness that keeps rising up. You just have to be diligent to fight it with self-love and the elevation of Blackness."
Union explains that since kids are at school more than anywhere else in their childhood, if you're not being "reaffirmed" there, it "opens the door for so much self-loathing and putting yourself up to the impossible task of trying to shape-shift into something you will literally never be."