Over the past week, white celebrity parents from Reese Witherspoon to Pink have taken to social media to acknowledge their white privilege — and to vow to listen, to amplify the voices of people of color, and to educate their kids on how to be allies. It’s certainly been an awful, tragic seven days since the murder of George Floyd by police officers, but we can only hope public assurances like these from Hollywood’s elite will mark a step forward in the fight against white supremacy and systemic racism in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The latest to speak up and out? Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who shared on Instagram that they’ll be donating $200K to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and perhaps more importantly (or at least more long-lasting), that they’re committed to educating their white kids about race and injustice — including their own past failures.
“We’ve never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we’re pulled over in a car,” Lively wrote on Instagram on Sunday, May 31 of her two kids with Reynolds. “We can’t imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger.”
She went on to acknowledge, rightfully so, that she’s far from perfect when it comes to being an ally. “We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.” This is likely a reference to Lively’s now-defunct Preserve blog, which garnered criticism for supposedly glorifying a nostalgia for the Antebellum (ie slavery-ridden) South. Either that, or Lively’s controversial comments in 2016 about having an “L.A. face and Oakland booty.”
So, yes, plenty of past mistakes for sure. But the important thing is that Lively and Reynolds are taking ownership over those mistakes, and educating their kids to do better.
“We’ve been teaching our kids differently than our parents taught us,” Lively’s post continues. “All of it…especially our own complicity. We talk about our bias, blindness, and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which have led us to deeply examine who we are and who we want to become… We’re committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern.”
If you’re also a parent of white children and are trying to educate them on racism and privilege, this guide for teaching kids how to be allies in the fight for racial justice is a great place to start.
These fantastic children’s books starring girls of color are, too.