Comedian Nicole Byer is popular with adults and has a huge under-18 fanbase thanks to her Netflix show Nailed It.
Kids love watching the baking fails and Byer’s hilarious hosting, but she’s reminding white parents that liking Black people on TV is not the same thing as standing up for them in real life.
In an Instagram post, Byer explained how amid the national conversation about dismantling white supremacy, one of her followers recently commented on one of Byer’s Black Lives Matter posts to say that they would just “keep their head down and just let their kids watch nailed it.”
Byer points out that keeping one’s head down is not enough. Parents have to get their heads in the game, especially those raising white kids.
“That made me boo hoo hoo,” Byer wrote. “That you will allow your kid to watch me but not stand up for me. So I’ll do the work I’ll write you a conversation to have with your white child.”
Byer offers this script for white parents who aren’t sure how to teach their children that Black Lives Matter.
“[Y]ou like this black lady right? She’s silly? She makes you tee hee hee?You would be sad if a police officer hurt her right?”
“Well this is the current country we live in where someone you like can be hurt by the color of their skin,” she writes, adding that the people in charge are not doing anything about this problem.
On police oppression, Byer offers a way to put it in an age-appropriate manner: “There are no nice cops because if a cop was nice they wouldn’t watch and participate in violence against black and brown people. If cops were really nice they would have spoken out about police brutality years ago and maybe walked out on their precincts to send a message that they are against this. Instead they dress up like your GI Joe doll and are very mean. The curfews the helicopters the police in riot gear is all because black people have asked to not be killed… that’s it. There’s literally nothing else to it.”
She ends her post by suggesting parents read to their children about important chapters in American history like “Juneteenth, black Wall Street, how black people have influenced most of pop culture today and aren’t credited or it’s just co-oped…”
She challenges white parents to “Post about the black history you teach your white kid to maybe inspire another white parent to do the same thing.”
Byer is right. Enjoying Black-made content is not the same as upholding and fighting for Black lives. We all have to do better and we can do that by both letting our kids consume more content featuring Black people (like Nailed It) but also by teaching them the history that white supremacy denies and modeling allyship by fighting for Black lives.