It might be difficult to have such a vulnerable, candid dialogue like Chip and Joanna Gaines recently did about race and how they've discussed it with their kids in the past, but it's imperative. During a chat with former NFL player Emmanuel Acho on a recent episode of his YouTube series, Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man, the former Fixer Upper stars discussed why parents shouldn't teach their kids to be "colorblind."
"Our family wants to hear what you have to say and the idea about having an uncomfortable conversation with a Black man, honestly, is exactly what we need for this exact time," Chip tells Acho at the beginning of their conversation, referring to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests denouncing systemic racism.
For their chat with Acho, Chip and Joanna brought along their five children — 15-year-old Drake, 13-year-old Ella, 12-year-old Duke, 10-year-old Emmie, and 2-year-old Crew. Joanna tells Acho that she and Chip have been having a "dialogue" with their kids and her husband "wanted to get a pulse on" what their kids were "thinking about all of this."
To do so, Joanna tells Acho that Chip had asked their kids a question: "Pretend you're at a gas station and you see a Black man and a white man. Are you more threatened by either of those two men?" When the kids immediately answered that they weren't, Joanna recalled that Chip had told her afterwards, "I'm proud, I think our kids are colorblind."
Joanna tells Acho that they eventually pushed back on the concept of being colorblind, which led the mother of five to pose a question to Acho: "In your opinion, what's the best way to move forward with this conversation?"
"I think that it's best that raise our kids to see color," Acho responds, "because there's a beauty in color and there's a beauty in culture... I think that if we don’t see color, if we don’t expose our children to different colors, to different races, then it will be the same thing. As a white kid who becomes an adult, you won’t be able to decipher the difference between a Black man that’s a threat and a Black man that’s just Black. A Black person won’t be able to decipher between a white person that’s a racist and a white person who’s just white and may happen to be racially ignorant."
"I think there's a strength, there's a beauty in seeing color," Acho adds. "I don't like the concept of colorblindness because colors and culture are beautiful."
For his part, Chip asks Acho a question that many white people may find themselves struggling with these days as we come to grips with the depth of racism that continues to exist in the world: "If you asked anyone, even a racist, if they're a racist, I would almost argue that all of them would say no. How do we attack and solve a problem that I would say some people in our community don't even understand that we've got?"
The former football player responds that people have to remember history, "but history isn't always meant to be celebrated." Acho went on to say that there are people who "don't understand the full picture of, 'oh, maybe having a school named after a confederate general that I have to attend as a Black person, maybe that's a problem."
As the adults discussed issues of racism and progress, the kids were listening, as evidenced when young Emmie Gaines asked Acho, "Are you afraid of white people?"
"Emmie, that is a phenomenal question," Acho responds. "I'm not afraid of white people. I am cautious of white people."
The conversation between Acho and the Gaines family proved insightful for the couple's millions of followers as well. "You’re going to help a lot of well meaning white folks who just don’t get it yet sharing this. Thank you," one viewer commented on Joanna's Instagram. Another said, "I already loved you and your family. After watching this I love and respect you and Chip even more."
For parents like Chip and Joanna Gaines who are interested in educating themselves and their children on racism, there are some pretty excellent resources available. The CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall on racism, for instance. Or even Nailed It! host Nicole Byers' script on explaining racism to white kids that she shared on Instagram.