Angelina Jolie talks daughter Zahara and 'intolerable' system that 'might not protect' her

Angelina Jolie spoke about her daughter Zahara, 15, who is Black, in a conversation about race and discrimination in America.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Angelina Jolie has shared her view of the worldwide protests against racial injustice as a mother of six, including three children of color.

The "Maleficent" star mentioned daughter Zahara, 15, whom she adopted with ex-husband Brad Pitt from an orphanage in Ethiopia, when talking to Harper's Bazaar UK about the outcry across the world in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last month.

Angelina Jolie spoke about the worldwide protests over racism and injustice and the need for systemic change. Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

"There are more than 70 million people who have had to flee their homes worldwide because of war and persecution — and there is racism and discrimination in America," Jolie said. "A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter — or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin color — is intolerable.

"We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity. Ending abuses in policing is just the start. It goes far beyond that, to all aspects of society, from our education system to our politics."

She also had some simple advice for parents looking to teach their children about racism during this time.

"Listen to those who are being oppressed and never assume to know," she said.

Angelina Jolie with children Knox, Vivienne, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara and Maddox at the "The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind" screening in New York City in 2019. Monica Schipper / Getty Images

Jolie, 45, has been gratified by watching people take to the streets to let their voices be heard.

"The way people are rising. Saying that they are tired with the excuses and half-measures, and showing solidarity with each other in the face of inadequate responses by those in power," she said. "It feels like the world is waking up, and people are forcing a deeper reckoning within their societies. It is time to make changes in our laws and our institutions — listening to those who have been most affected and whose voices have been excluded."

The Oscar-winning actress also has been spending plenty of time with her children at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Her oldest son, Maddox, 18, had moved out in August to attend Yonsei University in South Korea but returned home when the school temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

One of her younger sons, Knox, 11, helped out with the Harpers Bazaar UK article by taking a pair of portrait photos of Jolie that were included in the magazine.

"Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all they are worrying about," she said. "I put all my energy into them. During the lockdown, Vivienne’s bunny passed away during a surgery, and we adopted two sweet little ones who are disabled. They need to be in pairs. They are so gentle and it has helped to focus on their care with her at this time."

Jolie, who serves as the Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Refugees for the United Nations, also expressed her concern about reports of the rise of domestic violence and child abuse during lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The reality before lockdown was that the most dangerous place for a woman to be was in her home,'' she said. "During lockdown, the abuse and level of violence has risen. Above all my concern is for the children. The number of children we know are being abused at this very moment keeps me up at night. There is a global health crisis for children from abuse, neglect and the effects of that trauma. And not nearly enough done to protect them."