Starring on Duck Dynasty brought race to the forefront for Korie and Willie Robertson.
On the premiere episode of their new Facebook Watch series, At Home With the Robertsons, the former A&E reality stars reflected on raising their biracial son Will Robertson, Jr., who they adopted when he was 5 weeks old. As Willie recalled, they were told it would take a couple of years to adopt unless they were interested in a biracial child, noting agencies said "those are the hardest ones to place in the South."
While the couple, based in Louisiana, had no issue with their son's race, they eventually realized that wasn't the case for everyone.
"We didn't think about it until the show happened," Korie explained to their show guests, Love & Hip Hop's Yandy and Mendeecees Harris. "People were like, 'Wait, who's the Black kid? Who does he belong to?' We're like, 'Our son?'"
While Will was one of the only Black kids in his grade, he had white friends and did not realize until he was older that there is more to his identity than his darker skin color. "I would look myself in the mirror and be like, 'Oh, I'm just a little bit darker, I'm just a little bit tanner,'" the 19 year old described during the Facebook episode. "My hair was all short and stuff. I didn't have all this texture that I have now. So, I was just like, 'I guess I'm kind of just like one of them.' And then as I got older, started realizing, I was like, 'Oh gosh, I'm a lot different.'"
According to Willie, the show exposed their son to racism, something he had not faced in their home. "When Duck Dynasty hit, when we were on television and you had all these racist people on there making all kind of ugly comments," Willie said, "For us, it was weird because then now he can see that."
While Will did not have any accounts of his own then, he saw the commentary on Korie's Instagram page about his race and, with his mom's permission, fired back using her account. As he put it, "I went off on one post" and declared he is Black and adopted.
Yandy, who also adopted a child, encouraged Will to know his history and connect to the Black culture. She and Mendeecees also raised the importance of having a conversation with Will about how to conduct himself with police as a Black man.
While Korie wishes for an end to racism, they've readied their son to live in society as it is right now. "I hate it that there are still people that are racist in the world," Korie said. "I think it's a terrible thing and I just hope and pray that one day we will live in a world where racism just does not exist, where no one is judged for the color of their skin, but unfortunately, we do live in that world right now, that there are some people who still feel that way and we've taught Will how to deal with that and we hope he's prepared."