'Today' Star Hoda Kotb Hosts Moving Talk With Kids About With Racism

Kayla Keegan
Photo credit: Today

From Good Housekeeping

As many continue to take a stand against racial injustice after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, Today's Hoda Kotb checked in with a handful of children demanding change.

On Monday's show, Hoda brought on a panel of kids for a virtual conversation about the ongoing protests and how they believe we can all make the world a more just, safe, and equal place for Black Americans. While talking with the kids — a 10-year-old named Rosalie, seventh graders Logan, Josh, and Aidan, and Marley, a 15-year-old activist — some opened up about their personal experiences with racism.

"The moment that we're living in is kind of frustrating because it feels as though it's an attack on people that look like me, which is really scary and disappointing," Marley, who advocated to get thousands of books about Black girls into schools, told Hoda.

Aidan also shared, "I feel endangered, like I'm being hunted because I'm different, and I find that just unacceptable."

Hoda followed up with Aidan and asked if his parents had ever talked to him about the way he should act while in public. In reply, Aidan said that his parents taught him to be careful, know his rights, and "never disrespect a police officer." But even still, sometimes he feels intimidated when he leaves his house.

"Like, when I was walking my dog Phineas, I felt like it was night, so I didn't want anybody coming to me like, 'Oh, he's an African American boy at night. He must be doing something bad,'" Aidan said. "It's, like, 'Why? We're all the same.'"

Moments later, Logan talked about how his father tried to explain to him the reason for the global protests.

"Yesterday, my dad said, 'You don't know what it's like to be Black until you walk a mile in my shoes,''' Logan said. "What he means by that is you don't know what it's like to see people clenching their bags when you're walking down the street. He says it happens every day."

Marley then recalled one of her first experiences with inequality and racism. When she was in elementary school, other students made negative comments about her hair.

"A lot of the kids at school would say that it was taking up too much space, and they wanted me to sit in the back, or that it was dirty,'' she said. "And these things were super frustrating because I felt like it was completely out of my control. This is how my hair looks, and I would never say that to somebody else."

Hoda brought Rosalie into the conversation by asking her to talk about what she had witnessed at her summer camp.

"I saw some people from a different cabin. They were saying how they didn't want to play with someone because of their race," she remembered. "I didn't really say anything to them at the time, but I talked to my counselors, and sometimes I kind of regret not saying anything, but I also at the same time don't, because I could have made things worse."

Marley recommended that if kids encounter overt racism, like Rosalie did, they should ask themselves how much they know about the situation before intervening and not be afraid to seek adult help.

Before wrapping up the conversation, Josh offered up his thoughts on standing up to racism. "I would say that we're all the same, we're all people. I say that it's going to be okay, and soon we'll all be, like, friends, and it'll be over."

Marley added: "We need to understand that it's okay to be Black, it's okay to be White, it's okay to be Pacific Islander. And all of these differences is what, in fact, makes this country beautiful and amazing, and makes us the people that we are."

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