Longtime activist and actor Jane Fonda said Sunday that while some may focus on the violence in the George Floyd protests, she sees hope.
The two-time Oscar winner told CNN’s Don Lemon that the mostly peaceful thousands who have massed nationwide in the aftermath of Floyd’s death create a real possibility for change. Floyd was seen on video pleading with a Minneapolis cop for air as the officer kneeled into his neck. He later died.
Fonda said she believed that more white people are “getting it” and that society’s band-aid on racism was torn off when Donald Trump was elected president, prompting more robust awareness.
The “Coming Home” and “Klute” star said she saw two tracks for the nation to rebuild after Floyd’s death: “First of all we have to get rid of this administration because this country should not be burdened with somebody like that and the people that are all around him, enabling him.”
The second part of the solution, she said, involves white people actively seeking better understanding of racism in America.
“Even the poorest of us have had privilege and we need to recognize that and we have to understand what it is that keeps racism in place,” Fonda said.
“Policies have to be changed and white people have to understand the history that has led to this and we have to try to change within ourselves,” she continued. “And we have to get to know Black people. … And we have to understand the reality they live in. And we’ve got to do it now.”
The “9 to 5” star’s interview trended to the top of Twitter overnight. While some viewers criticized Fonda for her own “white privilege” and teased her for wearing all-black clothing for the chat, many praised her eloquence and noted her long history of speaking out, even at personal cost.
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