Racism affects all of us, no matter the age, as This Is Us actor Lonnie Chavis reveals in his personal essay.
The actor, who portrays Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) younger self, wrote for People Magazine how America has affected him and how he views himself.
“My life matters, but does it?” he wrote. “America paints a very clear picture of how I should view myself. America shows me that my Blackness is a threat, and I am treated as such. I actually didn’t learn about being Black and what that would mean for me until I was seven years old.”
He wrote about being the subject of poor treatment on sets, including being mistreated “by security or entrance checkers” at events, “like I wasn’t supposed to be there, until I had a publicist to announce me.” He also revealed how he’s often confused with the actors from Stranger Things and Black-ish, writing “I guess we all look alike since we are all Black. Can you imagine being confused for any other Black kid just because you all share the same profession? I can.”
He also revealed he has been racially profiled at a San Diego restaurant, with the accusation of attempting to steal tips thrown at him, as well as the mental and physical mistreatment his parents have had from the police, including his mother getting profiled by a police officer because of her new car and his father’s arm being twisted by a police officer at his own front door. The incident with his parents made him feel like they were going to die. “Can you imagine holding on to your three little brothers while thinking that you are all going to be orphans? I can,” he wrote.
Even on set, a scene caused Chavis to cry. The scene involved a grandmother being racist towards his character.
“I was crying for me,” he wrote. “Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn’t hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism? I can.”