"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," said Kerry Washington

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 11, 2020 02:34 PM
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Kerry Washington is pinpointing a different approach to teaching black history to children.

On Monday, the Scandal star appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racial injustice.

Washington — who's mom to son Caleb Kelechi, 3½, and daughter Isabelle Amarachi, 6, plus stepmom to husband Nnamdi Asomugha's teenage daughter from a past relationship — also opened up about speaking to her kids about racism.

"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," said Washington, 43.

The actress further explained that she'd rather see education put an emphasis on the range of black history beyond only the civil rights hardship.

"It's really important that we start to introduce the idea of race with a black history that begins before teaching kids about what black people were told they couldn't do," said Washington. "Black history and black people were a lot of things before segregation and Jim Crow and the civil rights movement."

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Kerry Washington
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By expanding the history syllabus, she wants kids to better "understand the beautiful complexity and elegance and richness of black history before refusing to be put in the back of the bus."

In February, Washington opened up about her parenting style, particularly how she takes steps to shield her little ones from the public eye.

"These are their lives. But it's not about pulling a Rapunzel and hiding them away in a castle from the world — we don't want to do that," she told InStyle at the time, adding that she has been "really, really vigilant" about keeping her young children's lives private.

"I think any parent would want to keep kids from a situation that causes them to feel scared. I don't want them to be exploited, particularly in this social media world," said the four-time Emmy nominee.

Kerry Washington

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Many celebrity parents have shared how they plan to teach their kids about racism, including Washington's Little Fires Everywhere costar Reese Witherspoon.

On Instagram last month, Witherspoon, 44, shared how she talked to her youngest child, 7-year-old son Tennessee James, about police brutality.

The Oscar winner also encouraged her fans to not shy away from the subject. "Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate. If you aren't talking to them, someone else is," she wrote.

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.