Kerry Washington says that dealing with the police is still a frightening thing to do despite having fame and resources as a well-known Black celebrity.
Whether you’re wealthy, popular, or a politician, being Black will always come into play when dealing with anything in life. And no matter how much success you achieve, the fear of confronting police brutality is something that will always make Black people anxious. Washington, 43, sat down virtually with journalist Jemele Hill and opened up about how she still gets nervous driving into certain neighborhoods out of fear that she will encounter police brutality and be racially discriminated against.
“No matter what I do, no matter how many Emmy nominations, I am still scared at times to scooter in neighborhoods with my kids where I feel like somebody could call the cops,” Washington explained, saying how Isabel Wilkerson’s novel “Caste” and words from LeBron James helped her come to a conclusion about how she feels. “Because that cop may never have seen Scandal. I still have that very real fear.”
She went on to use Wilkerson’s book to discuss how fear is “is not irrational” and “is rooted in historical truth and fact,” she said when referring to those who may feel that Washington doesn’t carry the same fear as everyday Black people because she is a celebrity. However, she says that she still has privileges that other Black people do not have but that the “Google me” route has never gotten her out of any issue with law enforcement. “If I’m scared, imagine somebody who’s a frontline worker, who can’t say, ‘Don’t you know who I am? Call this. Google me.’ Imagine how scared somebody is who doesn’t have some of the resources that I have,” said the award-winning actress.
Washington said that she takes pride in using her platform to discuss racial issues in order to fight against racial inequality. “When I speak about this country, I speak as a mother, I speak as a woman, I speak as a Black person,” the actress said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “I speak as a kid who grew up in the Bronx, across the street from the projects. I don’t speak as a Hollywood elite. I speak as somebody who’s the mother of Black children, as somebody who had student loans way longer than I thought I would. I speak as somebody who cares about my community and the community that my family lives in, my extended family.”
As hard is it for her to endure it herself as a Black woman, she says it’s just as difficult trying to help her children understand. “I really try to think about, what do I need to be doing right now to take care of myself so that I am present for them, to be able to answer the questions of, ‘Who is this girl, Breonna Taylor, on my T-shirt?’ And, ‘Why do we want to arrest the cops?’ To be having those conversations with young children, it requires a lot of presence and ability to navigate their journey with this information and to be there for them because there’s so much uncertainty in the world,” said Washington.