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Reese Witherspoon urges parents to talk to kids about racism after arrest death

The actress said that talking to her seven-year-old about the incident was ‘heartbreaking’.

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Reese Witherspoon (PA)

Reese Witherspoon (PA)

Reese Witherspoon (PA)

Reese Witherspoon has urged parents to talk to their children about racism following the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest in the US.

A video of the incident in Minneapolis appeared to show George Floyd gasping for breath while a white policeman knelt on his neck before he died on Monday night.

Oscar-winning actress Witherspoon said she had the “heartbreaking” experience of trying to explain the death to her seven-year-old son after he had asked during dinner “why all the grown-ups were so upset”.

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Last night at dinner, my 7-year-old asked why all the grown ups were so upset. We spoke to him about what happened to George Floyd. Being a white mother trying to explain racism and bigotry to her white son, who did not understand why anyone would treat another human being that way, was heartbreaking. But not nearly as heartbreaking as being a victim of one of these senseless, violent, unconscionable crimes. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being one of the families who have experienced loss and harassment and discrimination daily. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being a mother who lives in fear of what will happen to her children in this world. I grew up going to church. We were taught that we were all the same in the eyes of God. We all breathe the same air. We all bleed the same blood. But that is not what I grew up seeing. It was as hard for me to reconcile the difference between what I was taught in church and what I see in the world. I don’t want that for my kids. Or for yours. We have to be held accountable for what is happening in this country. What happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery - and countless others - can not go without justice. Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate. If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is. Regarding comments: I urge you to share this space for meaningful discussion, not hate. There is enough hate in the world. I hope this can be a space for discussion, understanding, growth and LOVE. We all need more of that.

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She added: “We spoke to him about what happened to George Floyd.

“Being a white mother trying to explain racism and bigotry to her white son, who did not understand why anyone would treat another human being that way, was heartbreaking.”

Witherspoon said the experience was “not nearly” as heartbreaking as it is for victims and their families, and added that “we have to be held accountable for what is happening in this country”.

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(Isabel Infantes/PA)

(Isabel Infantes/PA)

PA

(Isabel Infantes/PA)

“Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate,” she said.

“If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is.”

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