“I don’t know how every person of color has gotten through this,” said the SATC actor. “I don’t understand how you could take this every day.”
Kristin Davis, who is perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Charlotte York Glodenblatt in HBO’s Sex and the City, has spoken out about the racism she’s experienced towards her two black children and how she will never be able to “fully understand” what they have to go through.
Sitting down with Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris for their series Red Table Talk, Davis was asked about what it’s like to be a white mother with two adopted black children – her seven-year-old daughter Gemma Rose, whom she adopted in 2011, and her baby son, who joined the family last year.
The panel discussed the challenges and prejudices surrounding interracial adoption, and Davis explained how her personal experiences of motherhood so far have made her starkly aware of her own privilege.
“This is what I want to say, from a white person adopting [black children]: you absolutely do not understand. There’s no doubt. There’s no way you could,” said Davis.
“It’s one thing to be watching [racism] happening to other people and it’s another thing when it’s your child. And you haven’t personally been through it. It’s a big issue.”
The SATC star went on to described the racism towards her children she’s witnessed first-hand. She has had people comment on the fact that her daughter will grow up to become “a great basketball player” someday, for example. And she once saw a white child refuse to share a swing with Gemma Rose in the playground for no apparent reason other than the colour of her skin.
“I don’t know how every person of color has gotten through this,” said Davis, describing her awareness of how institutionalised racism is in every day life. “I don’t understand how you could take this every day.”
Davis explained how people’s behaviour towards her children brought her to a “harsh moment of understanding” about how their lives would always been different to her own, and how painful it is that she’ll never be able to truly empathise and know what they go through.
“I will never be black…that is the truth and we have to accept it. And therefore I will never be able to say to Gemma, ‘I understand how you feel because this happened to me.’ That’s what’s painful and hard.”
This isn’t the first time Davis has spoken out about the difficulties she’s aware her children are going to face. Back in 2017, she explained how she was terrified for her black baby girl growing up in Donald Trump’s America.
“The fear of what is happening and how am I going to make sure that no one hurts my child, even in a subtle way, which was already a fear I had, honestly, but it just became so, so heightened,” she said, speaking to WNYC.
Davis has also never been afraid to acknowledge her own privilege.
“I am white. I have lived in white privilege. I thought I knew before adopting my daughter that I was in white privilege, that I understood what that meant,” the actor said in the same interview two years ago, when Gemma Rose was five years old.
“But until you actually have a child, which is like your heart being outside you, and that heart happens to be in a brown body, and you have people who are actively working against your child, it’s hard. It fills me with terror.”
Speaking on Red Table Talk, Davis explained that she’s now “on a mission” to expose her children to diversity.
“It made me on a mission to put her in situation where I was the only white person,” said Davis.
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