BLACK VOICES

Gabrielle Union On Her Biggest Fear About Raising 'Privileged' Black Boys

"I don’t trust our neighbors to not see our teenage boys as children and not as threats to ‘put down,’ like an animal.”

Keeping her boys aware and informed about racism is a constant challenge for Gabrielle Union.

In a video interview for the November issue of Essence magazine, the actress shared some of the challenges she and husband Dwayne Wade often have while raising his sons Zaire, Xavier and Zion. Despite their conversations surrounding race and police relations in America, Union said that she and Wade want to make sure the boys aren’t “ignorant” to their social status.

“Even if society didn’t give us hashtags every day to prompt us, I was raised talking about it all the time. So I try to make sure our boys are not as ignorant as I was,” she said. “We are raising privileged black boys, which creates an interesting situation. Me and D, we weren’t raised with that kind of privilege, so we’re kind of learning through their eyes.”

Union went on to recall a past situation where she was reluctant to let the boys walk to a neighbor’s basketball court after dark, before learning Wade permitted the visit.

“I said, ‘No,’ because I don’t trust our neighbors to not see our teenage boys, our tall teenage boys as children and not as threats to ‘put down,’ like an animal,” she said before adding that she and Wade later tracked them down in a car.

“We told them to stop where they were. If they were under a street light, please just stay there. And as we’re in route to them there are cop cars coming from [their direction],” she said. “And it wasn’t even the cops that I was necessarily afraid of. Our neighbors have personal security, too, and in a stand your ground state, an open carry state, they’ll shoot you first and get off later.”

Union later added: “How do you arm our black boys with all the knowledge and all the pride and all the power that we can, but then ask them to be subservient when it comes illegal search and seizure? I still struggle with it.”

Check out more of Gabrielle Union’s interview in the clip above.

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