In an open discussion about race, Garcelle Beauvais told her fellow Real Housewives of Beverly Hills co-stars how racism has affected her and her children.
While Garcelle’s co-stars Kathy Hilton and Dorit Kemsley insisted that “everyone was equal,” Garcelle was quick to provide a reality check. She told the housewives at dinner that they were *not* treated equally, even if they should be.
She brought up interactions with the police as an example and asked the ladies,
“I mean has anybody with adult children here ever said, ‘be careful if the cops pull you over, you might get shot’?”
Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna immediately shook their heads, repeating “never.”
In her one-on-one interview, Garcelle confessed,
“Jax and Jaid can’t drive yet but I worry about Oliver being pulled over. I worry about it every day because, in an instant, he’s not my son, he’s just a Black man. And, um, the world doesn’t see the value in Black men.”
As the conversation continued, Kathy seemed appalled that anyone would have conversations about racism with a young child. She told the group,
“Tell me if I’m wrong [but] I don’t want to sit down with a little 4-year-old and point things out to them with these innocent little minds.”
But Garcelle told Kathy that, unfortunately, that’s what has to happen in Black families.
To the camera, Garcelle said,
“It’s a privilege not to have to have that conversation. I wish I had that choice. And I don’t.”
Having “the talk” is something that’s expected in Black families. According to clinical psychologist Afiya Mbilishaka, most Black children have a complex understanding of racism by the age of 10.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that the majority of white families “rarely” discuss race and racism with their children.
Applied Psychology Professor at NYU, Diane Hughes, Ph.D., explained,
“On average, white parents avoid talking about race with their kids at all. They don’t have to protect their children from oppression and racism.”
This is not the first time that conversations of race and racism have been on RHOBH, but it is the first time that the white housewives have seemed genuinely interested in listening.
Earlier this season, Crystal Minkoff Kung attempted to have a conversation about the problems with being colorblind with Sutton Stracke, but Sutton quickly dismissed it. She started crying white crocodile tears and insisted, “what’s so wrong with not seeing color?!”
After a public backlash, Sutton posted an apology to Instagram for interrupting Crystal and not being more receptive.
Sutton was no different in this conversation. She refused to even engage.
But the other housewives seemed more receptive and interested in what Garcelle and Crystal had to say.
When Kathy said she grew up “not seeing color,” Garcelle explained to her,
“I know you can see me as a woman, I know you can see me as a mother, you can see me as a friend, but if you don’t see color, then you don’t see me.”
Kyle seemed particularly struck by what Garcelle was telling them. She told her fellow housewives,
“We can say, of course, we’re all equal. But I have never walked in [Garcelle’s] shoes.”
Out of all the white housewives, Kyle seems to be the most interested in engaging in discussions about racism. In the season 11 premiere, Garcelle confronted Kyle over a fight they had during the season 10 reunion in which Kyle accused Garcelle of not following through on a promised donation. Garcelle ended up explaining to her why it was so hurtful and the stereotypes associated between Black people and money.
“I was really happy to have that conversation. I wanted to hear what she had to say, and I wanted to really listen. I always, I liked Garcelle, so for me, having that conversation, it meant a lot to me.”
Meanwhile, Sutton seems more interested in convincing viewers she’s not a racist than actually discussing racism. When Kathy reignited the conversation over “not seeing color,” Sutton told the camera, “I’m not touching this one.” She had absolutely no interest in having an open conversation about the issue.
But it needs to be discussed. Crystal explained it best in one of her confessionals:
“In elementary school, we’d get little comments, ‘slanted eyes’, or like, make fun of my last name. My parents, they didn’t want us to engage but to just, keep your head down and walk away. Because they were afraid we’d get hurt. And I think that’s why having an open conversation about race is important.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo on Wednesdays.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.