Jada Pinkett Smith Has 'Difficult,' 'Unfiltered' Conversation About Race on 'Red Table Talk'
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Smith cops to her own biases against blonde white women and reveals an incident with white police officers that left her shaken.

Jada Pinkett Smith promised a raw conversation about a "difficult, sensitive topic" on Monday's new episode of "Red Table Talk," and the panel did not disappoint.

The subject at hand: the complicated racial divide between women of color and white women, which Pinkett said was both "real" and very "deep."

The conversation began with Smith, daughter Willow and mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris discussing their own anger and biases, before two white women joined the panel.

"I remember growing up and not being able to go downtown and try on hats, different places we weren't allowed to go in in our own neighborhood. It still bites," said Banfield-Norris. "I just have a lot of anger."

"I do too. I have a lot of pain and hurt attached to some of the experiences I had as well," added Jada. The actress then recalled being in Virginia Beach -- likely during the 1989 Greekfest Riots, though she didn't reference it by name -- and coming face-to-face with racism.

"I was there by myself, terrified, trying to get back to my hotel," she remembered. "I will never forget these two white officers, they said, 'You better get your n----- bitch ass off this street right now.'" Smith added that that was specifically the "white male experience" she's had, saying it's "different" with white women.

"What crushes me, especially in regards to my relationship with white women, the thing that really breaks my heart is that white women understand what it feels to be oppressed because of their sex," she added, "what it feels to be ostracized."

Smith and Banfield-Norris then pointed out how they were harder on white women entering the family than white men. After her mother cited a Dr. Nathan Ruthstein quote -- "Prejudice is the emotional commitment to ignorance" -- Jada revealed how she was "guilty" of that "to a certain degree."

"I do have my own biases, specifically to blonde women, blonde hair on white women just triggers me," she said. "I've had to catch myself."

For Smith, that response was developed through numerous incidents of racism throughout her childhood. "I do remember being teased by white women in regards to my hair, how I looked, feeling belittled," she explained. "I was going to do an interview with this blonde woman, I thought twice about it, because of how she looked."

Jada went on to call her own actions "no different" than someone theoretically stereotyping all black men as "thieves and dangerous" after being robbed by a man of color just one time.

For Adrienne, some of her issues were rooted in the belief that "black women have been brainwashed into only accepting the European idea of what beauty is," as white women co-opt the traits of black women. "We can't have anything to ourselves that we have our own," she explained, "tanning booths, they're putting injections in their lips, injections in their behinds and we were ridiculed for that for years."

She also said "black men have rejected us," something Jada was quick to say was not the fault of white women. "Because that black man has decided to be with that white woman, that's not on her," said Jada. "Thats on him. I'm tired of putting the blame of mens behavior on women. I wish sometimes the world could have more compassion for black women."

The three were later joined by a white female producer of Jada's show, Annie, and diversity educator Jane Elliott.

"We need to stop believing the myth," said Elliott, referring to "the myth of white superiority." According to Jane, it's up to people to educate themselves, because "the schools won't do it," they instead perpetuate it.

"There's one race, the human race, we all came from the same black women," Elliott continued. "The human race began with black women. There's one race. We got pictures of the baby Jesus who looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, he didn't look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy!"

The conversation ended with Adrienne saying she's more conscious of the work she needs to do on her own beliefs to bridge the gap between women of color and white women. Jada, too, added, "My messaging is going to change tremendously because of this conversation, in regards to we're all one human race. That's powerful. That's the cure."

The segment ended on a lighter note, as Elliott told the 64-year-old Banfield-Norris, "I really am angry at you because I know how old you are and you look about 20 years younger because black don't crack."

New episodes of "Red Table Talk" drop every Monday on Facebook Watch.

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