Jada admits she used to have "a very difficult time" with the idea, as her mother adds she still has "certain feelings" about interracial adoption.
It was an "educational" day on "Red Table Talk" for everyone involved, as Jada Pinkett Smith, mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones and guest Kristin Davis had an incredibly candid conversation about interracial adoption.
The "Sex and the City" star is mom to two adopted black children; daughter Gemma and a son whose name she has not publicly revealed.
Before the interview even began, Adrienne told Jada she thought the talk would be an "interesting" one, thanks to her personal beliefs. "I have to admit I have certain feelings about this whole interracial adoption," she told her daughter, "because I think it's really hard raising black children today."
Right off the bat, Davis said she understood that it was a "hot button" issue, but said she knows as a white woman that it's her "duty and my job to do so much research" to "build as many bridges as possible" to the black community. "We don't want to make it so they don't fit into the black community and they don't fit into the white community," she explained of her kids.
Speaking about the adoption process, Jada brought out a questionnaire prospective parents must fill out, a questionnaire which includes a page where the parent-to-be has to check off which ethnicities they'd feel comfortable adopting.
"I was a little thrown off by that paper," said Davis, who explained why she didn't exclude any. "If the right children is going to come to me, why would I say no to this or no to that. It seemed strange to me, it seemed racist to be saying, 'No, no, no, no, no.' That's what it seemed to me at the time."
Gammy, however, had some concerns there. "I feel like people are so anxious and so desperate wanting a child, they'll say anything and they don't really understand everything that would be involved," she noted. In response, Davis talked a bit about the "long and involved road" to becoming mom to two black children.
To prepare, she took "a lot of courses," one which was all about hair. "I know it's a big thing and I'm still learning," she admitted. The hair course really interested both cohosts.
"What I learned is it's a big thing and it has a whole long cultural history to it and you absolutely have to learn because it's a bonding situation," Davis continued. "You can't just send her off somewhere, you need to -- just like you would your own child you gave birth to -- know what's best for their skin and their hair. And if you don't, you will be judged harshly."
Davis also admitted adopting two black children makes her think about her own white privilege constantly, saying she knows she will never "fully understand" what her children go through. She has, however, witnessed discrimination and institutionalized racism against her kids firsthand.
"It's horrifying, it's hard to put into words," she said, tearing up. "There's been so many things over the years. Gemma's 7 now. The first couple things that happened, when she was a baby and I was holding her in my arms, people would say to me, 'Won't she be a great basketball player.' I would have to be like, 'This is a baby, how could you say that without just being mortified?'"
"That was when it began and I would hold my baby and try to be polite, but I'd just be like, this is really deep and bad and how dare they limit my child and how dare they make that assumption," she continued. "That was the beginning of how I still feel. Our country is built on this, it's institutionalized."
The actress went on to give praise to the "amazing" black moms who have become part of her inner circle, who she can call at any time to simply "ask them stuff" and learn as much as possible.
When Gammy said she worried for Davis "trying to raise a black boy in America," Kristin added it's something she worries about as well. "Every day something new happens and I think about it and I also have friends who have black sons and I ask so many questions," she explained, "Every night I worry. One of the things I would ask [Jada], what did you say to them when they were little?"
"I was telling Jaden when he was 4,5 6 years old, 'No red, no blue. You live in LA, no red, no blue,'" Jada revealed. "I was like, uh uh, I was in too many incidents being in certain places with friends of mine who had on the wrong color."
Jada also revealed she first spoke with Jaden about how to deal with being pulled over by the police when he was just six, telling him how he had to be aware of his surroundings and "always be vigilant."
After Davis noted she never wants to "be under the crazy white privilege assumption everything's going to be fine," Jada commended her guest for always wanting to know more.
"I just want to say to you, I at one point had a very difficult time thinking of white families adopting black children and I've gotten an education over the years ... even sitting here with you today and getting even more of an education," said Pinkett Smith. "For me, one of the things I had to discover about myself and some of my bias toward it, was that my attitude toward it was perpetrating the very thing that I fight against, which is racism. The idea of thinking black children only deserve black love."
She went on to say she had since opened her mind to "understand that love is love," and told Davis she'd gladly be part of the actress' "village" anytime she needs her.