Reese Witherspoon Describes ‘Trying to Explain Racism and Bigotry’ to 7-Year-Old Son Tennessee

Teaching truth. Reese Witherspoon had an honest conversation with her 7-year-old son, Tennessee, following George Floyd’s death.

How Celeb Parents Are Educating Kids About Racism After George Floyd's Death

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“Last night at dinner, my 7-year-old asked why all the grown ups were so upset,” the Little Fires Everywhere star, 44, wrote via Instagram on Monday, June 1. “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.”

The actress went on to write, “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.”

Reese Witherspoon Explain Racism and Bigotry to Son Tennessee
Tennessee and Reese Witherspoon. Courtesy of Reese Witherspoon/Instagram

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The Big Little Lies alum’s social media upload, which read “Don’t ignore something because it makes you uncomfortable,” came one week after Floyd was killed when a police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.

With thousands across the country protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Witherspoon urged her followers to speak with their kids about “racism, privilege, bigotry and hate.” She concluded her caption: “If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is.”

The Golden Globe winner shares Tennessee with her husband, Jim Toth. She is also the mother of her and Ryan Phillippe’s two children — Ava, 20, and Deacon, 16.

Ava Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Deacon Phillippe, Tennessee James Toth and Jim Toth Reese Witherspoon Explain Racism and Bigotry to Son Tennessee
(L-R) Ava Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Deacon Phillippe, Tennessee James Toth and Jim Toth attend the premiere of ‘Sing’ on December 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

The Louisiana native has been quarantining with her family amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Whiskey in a Teacup author shared her homeschooling struggles via Instagram.

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“Really nailing this WFH/homeschooling life,” Witherspoon jokingly captioned a photo of herself on a call while her son sat on top of her chair.

On Wednesday, May 27, she and Tennessee spent their school session “dreaming of the places” they will go with a lesson on India.

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