Jada Pinkett Smith tackles some seriously difficult and taboo conversations with her show, Red Table Talk. The show typically features a conversation between Jada, her mother, and two other guests. Family members, friends, co-workers, and celebs often fill those other seats. The talks have covered divorce, sexuality, death, self-harm, body acceptance, and more. The episodes tend to make waves on social media because they end up so intimate and honest.
No episode has made a splash quite the way this recent one has.
During a startlingly honest conversation about race, Jada admitted that she had to acknowledge and confront racial bias within herself. If she so strongly believed that a person’s race shouldn’t change how you treat them or think of them, she needed to make sure she practiced what she preached. She explained that race conversations aren’t going to advance if we don’t take a look at some of the current relationship dynamics — like the one between women of color and white women.
While white women may not understand the feeling of oppression because of race, she has no doubt that they DO know the feeling of oppression based on gender. Her daughter, Willow, joined in agreement. Talking about the dynamic between women of color and white women got Jada thinking about how she has handled that racial relationship. After being bullied repeatedly throughout her life by white women, Jada realized she had built up a bias against them — one that seemed specifically triggered by blondes.
“I have to admit I’m guilty to that to a certain degree because I do have my own biases, specifically to blonde women. Blonde hair on white women just triggers me.”
She snapped to add emphasis. Jada’s mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, asked if Jada had a specific incident that would have left her with that bias.
Spoiler alert: It’s not just ONE incident:
“Absolutely. All throughout my childhood. I do remember experiencing being teased by white women in regards to my hair, how I looked, feeling belittled…”
Jada then went on to talk about a specific moment that made her stop and take a look in the proverbial mirror.
“I was going to do an interview with this blonde woman and I thought twice about it. I thought, ‘I don’t know if I want to do that.’ That was my first instinct because of how she looked! And I was like, ‘Oh! That’s no different.’ That doesn’t give me the right to clump all blonde women in one, and look at me, I got blonde hair! It’s no different than you getting robbed by a black guy once and now you’re saying all black dudes are thieves and dangerous.”
Later in the episode, Jada invited her producer, Annie Price, to chime in. Annie, a white woman with blonde hair, talked about her experiences with race and racial conversations. She explained that she often feels like women of color hesitate to befriend her and that conversations about race are difficult because she is afraid to say the wrong thing.
You can watch the conversation on Facebook below:
Overall, the talk was honest, interesting, and brought up a lot of talking points. The big one, though, was Jada’s blonde bias. People seemed to focus less on the ways she has worked to overcome that bias; the fact that it existed at all was shocking for so many. The whole point of the show is to get people talking, and WOW, this episode accomplished that mission.
Twitter can’t seem to figure out if Jada Pinkett Smith is racist or not.
It helps to actually read the article.
— Ginger Rogue (@CopperSiren) November 13, 2018
You can see where this country is going. Now the always so innocent Black woman is coming out openly as a racist! Hahhaa. What irony.
— Prosper (@ChrisChristophr) November 14, 2018
If a white woman admitted that she is bias towards a minority because of painful experiences in her past, but recognizes it is wrong and is working on it, I would totally respect her for her honesty. And I’m a minority.
— Miss Niss (@mrs_niss) November 13, 2018
Some people who read the article were pleased with her willingness to talk about her bias and what she’s doing to overcome it.
It wasn’t what I expected. Actually a very honest conversation about how there are no “races”, but we are all related. Yet, we all carry prejudices we need to work through together.
— Bo (@BosView) November 13, 2018
Openly admits to being racist.
Will suffer no backlash. https://t.co/z8vWudXoAC
— Rich Haines (@itsRlCH) November 13, 2018
Jada Pinkett Smith’s actual quote. Which is her coming to terms with her own racial bias NOT, as the right is trying to spin it, her being a blatant racist. pic.twitter.com/fEt1Wvv8SO
— antihero_kate (@antihero_kate) November 14, 2018
I’m really glad about her honesty that she struggles with prejudice. She acknowledges it’s not right of her but it’s hard not to because of experiences in her life. If everyone was allowed to be honest and we could just discuss and work through these things it would be healthy.
— Elu Thankful🍂 🧝🏻♀️ (@Strangeland_Elf) November 13, 2018
I respect her honesty and having the balls to say it, as well as speaking of her struggle. Everyone has an inner bias of some sort and even those who strenuously claim to be anti-racist might be harboring anti-gay, anti-muslim or other bias but would never say it out loud.
— Steven (@steve0580) November 15, 2018
There are some incredibly interesting conversations on the show, including a segment with Jane Elliot. Elliot is a diversity educator who is famed for being incredibly passionate and powerful — and her Red Table Talk is everything you’d expect.
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