Celebrities share their personal experiences with racism

Viola Davis opens up about childhood trauma caused by racist bullies in new memoir

Stars Insider

27/04/22 | StarsInsider

CELEBRITY Intolerance

In recent years, the fact that racial discrimination is still a problem has been gaining acknowledgment all over the world. People of color have always known that our society is not "post-racial," even though those for whom race is not an issue might like to think it is. Police violence against Black people was finally recognized by the world during the summer of 2020 as the Black Lives Matter movement reached a fever pitch. Anti-Asian hate crimes saw a major increase as the COVID-19 virus spread, with the US president referring to it as the "Chinese virus." These incidents have made us more aware that racism and discrimination are still prevalent in every corner of society, even among the most famous and successful people in the world.

Many celebrities have shared stories of the shocking prejudice they have encountered, from childhood to the height of their fame. Viola Davis gave a harrowing account of the racist bullying that traumatized her in third grade. Her 2022 memoir, 'Finding Me,' recounts a conversation she once had with Will Smith that brought it all back. Smith asked her "Viola, who are you?" Explaining what he meant, he said "Look, I'm always going to be that 15-year-old boy whose girlfriend broke up with him." Davis thought about everything she had achieved in her life and career up to that point, but realized, "sitting there conversing with Will Smith, I was still that little, terrified, third-grade Black girl." 

Davis recalled the peak of the racist abuse she suffered at school while in third grade. "Eight or nine white boys in my class made it their daily, end-of-school ritual to chase me like dogs hunting prey." Her tormentors not only hurled slurs and insults at her, they even pelted her with stones and bricks. The 56-year-old Oscar-, Emmy- and Tony-winning actress has come so far since those days, but still lives with the trauma of those experiences. 

Click through this gallery to read about how some of the biggest stars in the world have been mistreated due to the color of their skin.

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