Donald Faison participated in a conversation about anti-racism with his Scrubs co-star Zach Braff and Kelly Clarkson on her talk show this week, in which he encouraged fans to continue talking about racism and to listen.
In a revealing and deep discussion on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the 45-year-old immediately said racism is learned.
"When you're a kid, you don't look at colour," he began. "Your friends are your friends, you know what I mean? And it's not until your parents get, you know, into your head or outside influences get into your head and tell you that people are different than you are.
"So, I encourage everyone who is not a minority or a person of colour to really learn about people of colour by listening and doing your research."
Donald went on to speak about some of the ways he said racism has affected his life. He said it goes right down to how people talk about his career and his acting roles.
"It's very, very scary to be judged by the colour of your skin. It's happened to me quite a bit my whole life," he continued. Heartbreakingly, he said at one point in the discussion that having his bag checked "doesn't even faze [him] anymore."
"Even how people describe me on Scrubs," he said. "I'm the Black guy from Scrubs. I'm not even one of the actors from Scrubs. I'm the Black guy from Scrubs."
He said the most important thing people can do right now is educate themselves about racism so they can understand just how pervasive and prevalent it is.
Zach shared some of what he'd learned with Kelly, saying while he grew up in diverse communities in New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles and had many different types of people among his friends, that wasn't enough.
"There's ways that I can be more proactive than I'm being," he said. "I can't just... sit back and go, 'Oh, no. I'm cool. I have a Black best friend.'... There's plenty of ways that I haven't been proactive in my own life and my own privilege. And I'm really learning that now. I'm taking this opportunity to really listen and to really learn and to see how I can improve my way of being as well."
Kelly, who is the mother and stepmother of four children, encouraged parents who were watching the show to speak to their kids about racism. She said parents have a responsibility to educate their children, who will grow up to be future leaders.
"People are so afraid to talk to our kids, but those kids are the ones that we're helping shape and mould with those ideals and those conversations, I think, are just as important to have with your five-year-old that it is to have with your mom."
They ended with Donald encouraging the audience to remember that this is a conversation about equal rights and that he's hopeful for how he's seen people wanting to speak about these issues the last few weeks.
"But we're at the point where the conversation is being talked about, and more than usual; more than it used to be," he said. "And I am very appreciative for everyone who is willing to learn and listen. I'm very appreciative for that. I'm glad that we are all taking steps in the right direction. We still have a long way to go, but we're taking steps in the right direction."