Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere actress and mom of two, recently spoke about both the importance of democracy and of teaching children a much more extended version of Black history in a virtual interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live. After discussing the role that privilege plays in society, she explained how she's working hard to talk to her own kids about race with more context of events, people, and places beyond the US borders.
"I've been thinking a lot about education and a lot about talking about race and introducing ideas of race," Kerry said. "Really thinking about the idea that for a lot of kids, kids are introduced to race at Black History Month or in the context of change-makers — like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks — 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 about what Black people were told they couldn't do."
She went on to note that children should be learning about the Maasai warriors, Queen Nefertiti, the Kingdoms of Ghana, and the Pyramids of Egypt as well, rather than focusing solely on the role that race has played in recent US history. Kerry then paraphrased a message from Alicia Keys's memoir, More Myself: A Journey, which touches on "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; 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."
Watch the full interview above, or to hear Kerry's thoughts on race and education, start the video at the three-minute mark.