Angelina Jolie Says Systemic Racism Black Daughter Faces Is 'Intolerable'

She's a big fan of James Baldwin and Black Lives Matter.

As many famous people embarrass themselves with attempts at meaningful celebrity activism, Angelina Jolie demonstrated her grasp of anti-racism politics in a candid interview with Harper’s Bazaar.

The ‘Maleficent’ star and mom of six spoke up about issues close to her heart in a Q&A with the magazine: Domestic violence, refugees, girls and children’s rights. She also criticised systemic anti-Black racism in the US at length, which directly affects her teen daughter Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt.

As a white mother to a Black daughter, Jolie emphasised that she benefited from racial privilege her daughter does not have.

“A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter – or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin colour – is intolerable,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity.”

To address the systemic racism that spurred unjust killings of Black people like George Floyd, Jolie donated $200,000 to NAACP Legal Fund on her birthday. People reported that Jolie’s family has been having “difficult and necessary conversations about race” in their Los Angeles home.

Born in Ethiopia, Zahara starred in the animated film "Kung Fu Panda 3" with her mother.
Born in Ethiopia, Zahara starred in the animated film "Kung Fu Panda 3" with her mother.

Talking to kids about racism has been a hot topic, as white and non-Black parents struggle for guidance on discussing these painful issues. When asked what tips she would give parents, the 45-year-old actor framed her approach with one line: “To listen to those who are being oppressed and never assume to know.”

“A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter – or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin colour – is intolerable.”

- Angelina Jolie

Jolie’s certainly been doing just that, as she went on to share what she’s been watching during lockdown: The James Baldwin documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” and important work by activists taking part in the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement.

Supporting Black girls, particularly refugees, has kept Jolie busy at home. She reunited with Congolese refugee Chantale Zuzi last week, who is now attending high school in the US, over a touching Zoom call.

“You are what builds a strong America, you, women like you, young girls like you,” she told Zuzi. “And our country was built by many people coming together from different parts of the world—that’s when we’re our best.”

Jolie adopted two bunnies during lockdown

Jolie and her kids have also gone through some changes at home, over the past few months. Pandemic-related anxiety was bubbling up in the household and the death of 11-year-old daughter Vivienne’s beloved bunny made it worse.

She told the magazine that staying calm and focusing on her kids’ needs helps eases worries. That, and the addition of two new family members: Jolie welcomed two “sweet little” bunnies to their home.

“They need to be in pairs. They are so gentle, and it has helped to focus on their care with her at this time,” she said, adding that the other family pets have been getting plenty of love too.