Chip and Joanna Gaines's daughter asks Emmanuel Acho if he's 'afraid of white people'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Chip and Joanna Gaines brought their whole family along to appear on “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.”

The first couple of home renovation talked with former NFL star turned sports analyst Emmanuel Acho about what they could do as parents to inform and educate their children about race, Black history in America and the Black Lives Matters movement. Their kids — Drake, 15, Ella, 13, Duke, 12, Emmie, 10, and Crew, 1 — participated, even asking tough questions like: Is Acho is “afraid of white people”?

“If we truly want to bring forth change, it not only starts with you and I, but it’s also about the next generation,” Acho said at the top of the show. So that’s why the sports star was happy to continue the conversation about race along with the “next generation.”

And the kids came prepared. Emmie asked Acho, “Are you afraid of white people?” He replied, “That’s what I love about children,” calling it a “phenomenal question. I’m not afraid of white people. I am cautious of white people.”

He explained, “I think about water and electricity. Water is necessary for life. Electricity is also necessary for life. But I do understand if those two have a negative interaction, it could be lethal. ... The beautiful thing of children and about children is that we learn things as kids and it develops us as adults, which is why you all being here with your children is the most powerful thing because this conversation could be life-changing — and not necessarily for their lives, but for the life of someone who looks like me.”

Jo shared that she and Chip have been having a dialogue with their kids amid the death of George Floyd and ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

“The other day, he was wanting to get a pulse on, ‘What are our kids thinking about all of this?’” she recalled. “And so he asked the kids a question: ‘Pretend like you’re at a gas station and you see a Black man and a white man. Are you more threatened by either of those two men?’ And the kids, really quick, all said, ‘No, why?’ They didn’t even think about that.”

She said she and Chip were patting themselves on the back for raising “color-blind” kids, but “then we started kind of pushing back on that.” She asked Acho what he thought about the concept.

Chip and Joanna Gaines appear with their children in Episode 3 of "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man" with Emmanuel Acho. (Image: "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man"/YouTube)

“I think that it’s best that we raise our kids to see color, because there’s a beauty in color and there’s a beauty in culture,” Acho answered.

He continued, “I think that if we don’t see color — if we don’t expose our children to different colors, to different races — then it’ll be the same thing as a white kid who becomes an adult: You won’t be able to decipher the difference between a Black man that’s a threat and a Black man that’s just Black.”

Similarly, “A Black person won’t be able to decipher between a white person that’s a racist and a white person who’s just white and may happen to be racially ignorant,” Acho added. “I think there’s a strength, a beauty in seeing color. I don’t like the concept of color blindness.”

Chip asked how we can get the people who may not view themselves as racially ignorant to come around to see it.

“History is meant to be remembered, but history isn’t always meant to be celebrated,” Acho said. “I think we have racism so ingrained into our culture, we don’t even realize we are blind to it.”

Acho went on to talk about how his white brothers and sisters need to open their eyes to see things like how having schools named after Confederate generals is disturbing for a Black person — especially one who attends that school.

“Maybe having statues littered across campuses that I have to look at of men who would have oppressed and enslaved and potentially executed me, maybe that’s a problem,” Acho said. “So I think that in America we need to do a better job of properly discussing and placing our heroes.”

During the conversation, Chip revealed that he reached out to his fellow Texan Acho after seeing his poignant debut episode of the YouTube show. Last week’s guest, Matthew McConaughey, was similarly touched by the premiere installment.

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