Jada Pinkett Smith revealed her bias against White women with blond hair on Monday’s episode of Red Table Talk. Pinkett Smith; her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris; and her daughter, Willow, had an open discussion about the racial divide that can exist between White women and women of color.
Banfield Norris, 65, recounted the racism and segregation she experienced as a child. As a result, she grew disinterested in seeking relationships with White people. Her anger toward White people was so ingrained, the 65-year-old admitted to never getting to know her daughter’s former boyfriend and to giving relatives with White partners a hard time.
Pinkett Smith said her prejudice formed after years of being “belittled” by White girls for her skin color or hair. The Girls Trip star acknowledged her own biases. “I have to admit, I’m guilty [of] that to a certain degree because I do have my own biases, specifically [with regard to] blond women.”
“Blond hair on White women just triggers me,” Pinkett Smith said. “I’ve had to catch myself.” The mother of two questioned how her prejudice differed from those who negatively categorize Black people. She also asserted that she preferred to be called a “womanist” because of how feminism historically favors White middle-class women.
“I think what crushes me, specifically in my relationship with White women, the thing that really breaks my heart is that White women understand what it feels to be oppressed,” the actress said.
“Because of their sex,” Willow interjected.
“Exactly. Because of their sex,” Pinkett Smith said in agreement. “What it feels like to be ostracized or not being treated as an equal.”
Red Table Talk producer Annie Price, a White woman, joined the conversation to share her opinion. Price said that she often sits out of discussions about race because she doesn’t want to offend.
“Any time I want to have a conversation [about race], I’m afraid I’m going to offend somebody just by starting to talk,” the producer said. “I feel like I’m going to say the wrong thing.” Price also shared that she doesn’t know the feeling of racism or when she is benefitting from privilege.
“I just haven’t had the experience to recognize that I have the privilege. I don’t understand the feeling of racism,” Price said to the women at the table. “I feel a lot of times trying to be friends or trying to reach out to women of color. Sometimes I feel like they don’t want to be my friend.”
Renowned diversity educator Jane Elliott joined the talk and explained why there needs to be an “unteaching” of the idea of race: The “human race” began through a Black woman. Elliot told the women that history and society have indoctrinated to uphold White superiority.
Watch the interview below. Red Table Talk airs Mondays on Facebook Watch.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.