How Kerry Washington Plans to Change the Way Her Kids Learn About Black History

While visiting Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kerry Washington proposed a new way to teach her young children about Black History.

By emily belfiore Jun 09, 2020 12:34 PMTags
Kerry Washington, 2020 Sundance, WTF WidgetMatt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Kerry Washington wants to change the way her children look at Black History.

During her virtual visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Little Fires Everywhere star shared she is having open conversations at home about the state of the world. 

"There's a lot of posts about privilege looks like discovering that racism exists as opposed to knowing that it exists," she told host Jimmy Kimmel. "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."

As she continued, Washington explained that she hopes this call for social change will inspire a new way of educating children on Black History.

"But the thing I've been thinking about a lot, honestly, with my kids—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," she began. "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."

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"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?" she continued. "So, there's Maasai Warriors and the kingdoms of Ghana and Queen Nefertiti and the pyramids of Egypt."

"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," Washington concluded. "So that we understand the beautiful complexity and elegance and richness of Black History before refusing to be put in the back of the bus."

While discussing the protests that have formed following George Floyd's death, the Scandal star shared that the activism displayed by people across the nation has given her a new sense of hope for the future.

"It fills me with so much hope and encouragement. And I feel like we as a nation—and as a world in some ways—we're just done having our governments work in ways that don't reflect our values," she said. "Like, I think for a long time people thought you could just be a passenger on this train called democracy. But that's not how it works. Like, democracy works if we all show up and we all express our values whether it's voting or in the streets protesting. That is what democracy looks like. So, it's like we're living up to who we—we were supposed to be this all along."

"E! stands in solidarity with the black community against systemic racism and oppression experienced every day in America," the network said in a statement on May 31. "We owe it to our black staff, talent, production partners and viewers to demand change and accountability. To be silent is to be complicit. #BlackLivesMatter." 

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