Ellen Pompeo opens up about her experience raising her biracial children, talking about the subject during an appearance on Red Table Talk on Monday, according to a report by Entertainment Tonight. The Grey’s Anatomy star also revealed her views toward race relations and explained why she has no fear in speaking out about them.
While speaking with Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith on the show, Pompeo said, “Don’t feel like you have to tiptoe. I’m not afraid to talk about race. A lot of people get very nervous when you bring it up, and I understand why they do, but I am not afraid. These are important conversations to have and if you’re afraid to talk about it, that’s a problem right there.”
Pompeo is married to music executive Chris Ivery, who is black, and the couple shares three children together, Eli, 1, Sienna, 4, and Stella, 9. Describing the experience of raising her children, Pompeo said, “My challenge with raising brown children is how much do you say to them and how much do you not say to them?”
Recalling a recent event that made the subject of race quite clear to her and her oldest daughter, Pompeo said, “A couple of weeks ago I had some friends over [to] the house, little girls of color, and the little girl came in and I introduced myself. I said, ‘I’m Stella’s mom.’ She went right to Stella and said, ‘That’s your mom?’ She points to the nanny who’s a black girl [and says,] ‘I thought that was your mom.’ The little baby looked like she was scared of me. That just breaks my heart. Maybe scared is a strong word… but, again, non-trusting possibly.”
While it was a difficult experience, Pompeo was thankful that the event happened and allowed her daughter’s friend to see that not all white people are exactly like some would expect. Pompeo went on to emphasize how important it is that people interact with others from all walks of life in the world.
While hoping for the best with raising her daughters, Pompeo understands that race will play a role in her children’s lives that she will not be able to shield them from as they grow older, saying, “My son looks completely white. You couldn’t even tell that he has any brown in him at all. There is no escaping when your skin is dark. That’s why my children are brown or whatever it is. Because the world will see them that way and they will be discriminated against and they will be judged and they will be spoken to and they will be treated like they are brown because their skin is brown.”