Olivia Harvey
Updated June 15, 2020
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Like so many of us across the world right now and always, Angelina Jolie is finding the right words to teach her kids about systematic racism. In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar U.K, the actor and humanitarian specifically noted the systemic challenges her daughter Zahara faces and the privilege she, her mother, and Zahara’s white siblings have. Based on her own experiences, Jolie has advice for other mothers.

Jolie told the publication that the best piece of advice we can tell our children is, “To listen to those who are being oppressed and never assume to know.”

Jolie has six children with ex Brad Pitt: Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pax, and twins Vivienne and Knox. The Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Refugees continued, “After almost two decades of international work, this pandemic and this moment in America has made me rethink the needs and suffering within my own country. I am focusing both globally and domestically; they are of course linked.”

However, Jolie said, as much as the fight to end racism begins at home, the systems and institutions in place in our current society need to change in order for the Black Lives Matter, and other equality movements, to stand a chance.

“A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter—or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin color—is intolerable,” Jolie said. “We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity. Ending abuses in policing is just the start. It goes far beyond that, to all aspects of society, from our education system to our politics.”

Though we have a winding road ahead of us, Jolie has faith that we can make it to the end. In response to a question about what is restoring her hope right now, she responded, “The way people are rising.”

“Saying that they are tired with the excuses and half-measures, and showing solidarity with each other in the face of inadequate responses by those in power,” she added. “It feels like the world is waking up, and people are forcing a deeper reckoning within their societies.”

“It is time to make changes in our laws and our institutions—listening to those who have been most affected and whose voices have been excluded,” Jolie continued.

Jolie’s one wish for the post-lockdown world is something echoed throughout the nation at the moment. “That the focus on efforts to make structural change to protect vulnerable people stays at the center of our discussions,” Jolie said she hopes. “That we don’t turn inward and we work with even more awareness of our shared humanity.”

So, let’s get to work.