In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, all of whom were Black, actress Viola Davis shared an illustrated video explaining what systemic racism is in easy-to-understand and kid-friendly terms and visuals to her Instagram on Wednesday.
“Systematic Racism Explained #ReparationsNow #BlackLivesMatter 🎥@actdottv
🔁@juveeproductions,” she captioned the post.
The video tells the story of two young boys that are friends: Jamal, an African American boy living in a poor neighborhood, and Kevin, a white boy living in a wealthy neighborhood. It details how, because Jamal’s school is funded by property taxes in his lower-income neighborhood, his school is not as well funded as Kevin’s. Consequently, his classes are more crowded, his teachers are underpaid, and he doesn’t have access to a private tutor or extracurricular activities.
The video then delves into the history of how this came to be, even though the two boys only live a few streets away from each other. After the Civil War, the video explains that cities divided up sections that were desirable and undesirable for investment, a process called “redlining” that blocked off access to African Americans from private and public investment. Historically, the video points out that this prevented many African Americans—including Jamal’s grandparents—from owning a home, while segregated colleges prevented them from getting a post-secondary education.
However, Kevin’s grandparents were not only able to secure a low-interest loan, but also attend college, opening up more opportunities generationally for Kevin’s parents and Kevin. The video further details that studies done on redlining have confirmed that this practice still has negative repercurssions for people living in major cities today.
Besides redlining, the video explains another term, “implicit bias,” that also impacts Jamal. He and Kevin graduate high school, attend the same university, and graduate with the same GPA, but due to Jamal’s name on his resumé, he will likely experience implicit bias when applying for jobs that prevent him from being given the same employment opportunities as Kevin.
“Systemic problems require systemic solutions,” the video says, as it details how this can be changed in America.
The post got overwhelming praise from Viola’s followers and fans.
“This is an excellent summation of so much complex history. Thank you for posting!” one Instagram user wrote. Another shared, “This is very well and easily explained… #welldone.”
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