An 8-year-old is earning waves of online praise for the way she responded to her Black friend’s experience with racism at school.
Isaiah, who is 14, started the private, video chat-based roundtable to talk about a time in the third grade when he was “called the N-word.” At one point in the conversation, Vivien, who is white, jumped in with her insightful take on combating racist comments.
“It’s a hard question,” Vivien says in a recording from the panel. “Because if they’re posting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their Instagram, but they’re still calling people the N-word, if you know them … I feel like you have to confront them.”
Vivien, who is also a child actor famous for her role in the 2018 Netflix movie “Bird Box,” went on to recall a saying her mother has told her in the past: “Hurt people hurt people.”
“But I wanna know, to those people that have been mean to Black people: What happened to you?” Vivien continues. “And it’s very interesting what I said about actions and words not matching, but I just wanna know: What happened to those people calling Black people the N-word? What happened? I wanna know, I really do.”
Isaiah and his mom, the actress Brittany Perry-Russell, shared Vivien’s comments to the TikTok account they manage together. The clip immediately went viral, and has racked up 1.6 million views in the past six days.
Those views also came with thousands of supportive comments, as social media users poured in to praise Vivien for being “educated” and “articulate” beyond her years.
“The fact that someone so young can comprehend why it’s wrong…” one commenter wrote.
“It’s sad when a child can articulate the problem better than adults can. It’s sad when a child understands the situation better than adults do,” another added.
A few days after the original video, Isaiah and his mom even recorded a video call with Vivien and her mom, during which they told her just how much her words meant.
“Well, first of all, you’re so articulate,” Isaiah told the 8-year-old during the call, which was also shared on TikTok. “Everything you were saying was like, teenager-level. So it kinda blew me away.”
Perry-Russell, meanwhile, tells the young girl that she was shocked when she woke up the morning after posting the video because it already had 900,000 views and countless more comments.
“Everybody wants you to run for president,” Perry-Russell adds.
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