Since launching her Facebook interview series Red Table Talk in May 2018, host Jada Pinkett Smith has continued to have some of the most in-depth, thought-provoking and honest conversations online. The actor-turned-interviewer has squashed beefs with husband Will Smith’s ex-wife, discussed masturbation, been the first person to give Jordyn Woods a platform after her cheating scandal, opened up about her premature hair loss, and taken on more personal and taboo topics, earning her series a 20-episode renewal. In the latest installment, Smith takes on the tense subject matter of white people adopting black children, inviting Sex and the City actor Kristin Davis onto her show to discuss Davis’ experience as the mother of two adopted black children.
Titled Should White People Adopt Black Kids?, the new episode included Smith as well as her mother and co-host Adrienne Banfield Norris (Smith’s daughter Willow, the third co-host, was not present this episode) speaking candidly with Davis about white families adopting black children, including addressing their own concerns about the white savior complex. Davis, who is mom to 7-year-old Gemma and a one-year-old boy, both of whom are black, said that she is continuing to work every day to educate herself and ensure that her children are exposed to the black community.
Acknowledging her inability to relate fully to her children on issues of racism, Davis said “This is what I want to say, from a white person adopting [black children]: You absolutely do not fully understand. There’s no doubt. There’s no way you could. Because you can understand that you live in white privilege, and that’s a theory, and you can see things. But it’s one thing to be watching it 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.”
Davis recounted the first instance when she saw her daughter experience racism after strangers began telling the actor that her infant daughter would be a great basketball player, leaving Davis horrified. Years later she watched as little white girls wouldn’t include her daughter in playground games, prompting Davis to speak to her daughter’s school administrators who told her they didn’t “see colour.” “It was a very harsh moment of understanding. I don’t know how every person of color has gotten through this. I don’t understand how you could take this every day,” said Davis.
“It lit a fire under me where I couldn’t be relaxed or casual [about racism],” she continued. “But I will never be black, no matter how hard I try. … 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.’”
Smith and Davis discussed the difficulty of raising a young black boy in America, with Davis looking to Smith for guidance. Smith recently celebrated the 21st birthday of her son Jaden and told Davis that having conversations about police, gangs, and more had to start as early as four years old.
While the interview includes many painful and emotional moments, there were also moments of levity, including when Davis told Smith and Norris that she had taken a course on how to style her children’s hair. Touching on the huge cultural impact of hair in the black community and acknowledging the importance of being able to style her own children’s hair in order to bond with them, Davis also laughed with her hosts, adding “You need to learn what is best for their skin and their hair and if you don’t you will be judged harshly, basically.”
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