“It’s what we don’t know that hurts us all,” says the #HSMTMTS star
Ever since she made her Disney Channel debut as Buffy on Andi Mack, Sofia Wylie’s led groundbreaking storylines that have resonated with millions of people. In fact, her digital series Shook just garnered a Daytime Emmy Award nomination! But the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star doesn’t just spread love and acceptance through her roles: Over the past three years, Sofia has constantly worked to share not selfies and accolades on her personal social media platforms, but messages of wisdom and empowerment.
And this week, Sofia’s speaking up about racism in America. See in the past, when Black lives have been stolen and justice isn’t served, it becomes a trending topic for a week and then everyone moves on, and social media feeds go back to normal – until the next tragedy occurs.
But #BlackLivesMatter is no longer a moment: It’s a movement and Sofia wants the conversation to continue. “I wanted to talk about some things that have been weighing on my heart,” she shared in a powerful Instagram video. “There are 9, 10, 11 year olds going on social media and seeing the news and not really understanding what is going on. I wanted to reach out and plead to the parents out there that you have open conversations with your kids about the images or videos that they’re seeing. Why it’s taking place and what they can do about it and opening up that conversation. I know personally how beneficial that can be because my family has been having so many amazing conversations over the past couple of weeks and it’s really helped my sister and I become much more educated and understand what’s going on in our world today and what we can do to help it.”
Sofia also revealed that she’d love to help start those conversations – not just on social media, but in person. “Something that I really, really would love to do is I would love to go to your school and talk about racism and play my part in keeping this conversation going. Because I know no one wants this to end a week or a month from now when the trending hashtags go away. This needs to continue to be talked about and we need to continue to educate ourselves so that change can happen and we can see progress. With bringing back normalcy, we can’t forget all that has happened and we still need to continue to keep that conversation so there can be change.”
On June 8, Sofia also addressed implicit bias, a phrase you’ve likely been hearing and seeing frequently on the news and social media, but might be unsure what it actually means. EducationPost.org explained it perfectly:
Understanding implicit bias, the unconscious associations we make about people and situations, is critical to understanding how race operates in the U.S., and in our classrooms. Implicit bias is why Black men are read as being threatening in situations where White people are not. Implicit bias makes the Starbucks employee call the police, it makes the officer see a gun where there is a cell phone. It makes teachers read Black kindergartners as behavior problems and White students as intense and precocious, or, as a student of mine offered in class, why a group of White teens in a mall is harmless, and a group of Black teens is dangerous. This racism happens without conscious racist thought, which is what makes it so scary and persistent.
Sofia shared a heart-wrenching video illustrating how children view racial bias. “I hope anyone who has followed me the past few years will take some time to watch,” she wrote. “My father is a child psychologist so I’ve been fortunate to watch and hear a lot of research about this topic. I have even suffered from the confusion that growing up in our world brings. It’s what we don’t know that hurts us all.”
Watch the video now: