Robert De Niro says even as father of 6 biracial children he takes 'certain things for granted' as a white male
Robert De Niro has given addressed the racial tensions that have gripped the United States from the perspective of a parent of six biracial children.
During an appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on Thursday, the 76-year-old Hollywood veteran was asked about his thoughts on the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The actor admitted that despite being the father of adult biracial children, he too has had blind spots when it came to racism and his own privilege. “My children are all half-black and I don't have, even me, I take certain things for granted,” he explained. “When people say that they tell their kids, ‘keep your hands [up] when you’re stopped, stopped by anybody, cops, keep your hands on the steering wheel, don’t make a sudden move, don’t put your hands below, don’t do this.’ You hear that … That’s scary. That has to change.”
De Niro has daughter Drena, 48, and son, Raphael, 44, with his ex-wife Diahnne Abbot, twin sons Julian and Aaron, 24, with his ex Toukie Smith, as well as son Elliot, 22, and daughter, Helen, 8, with his ex-wife Grace Hightower, per Fox News. "A lot of people have been saying the cops have to help in the community and have a sensitivity, and there are good cops of course who have that already. But there are some who don't, and they shouldn't be there," the actor said.
In conclusion, De Niro called directly for police reform - but noted that he personally doesn't have all the answers. “Anybody who hurts another person for no reason other than self-defense or the defense of other people around shouldn't be doing that job,” he said, nonetheless. “I’m not a cop, so I don’t know the day-to-day stuff that they go through. But still, there has to be a change and people have to be trained and be more sensitive to certain things. Not that people aren’t many times, but there’s still people who are not and that’s got to change," he added.
According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report released on June 1, 46-year-old Floyd died on Memorial Day, May 25, from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." The report also ruled his death a homicide.
The politically outspoken megastar was also asked about the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the United States even amid the ongoing protests. Unsurprisingly, the actor was quick to blame President Donald J. Trump. “This whole thing could have been avoided if Trump had listened to his people in the intelligence community,” De Niro said of the pandemic. “They kept telling him something was coming.”
“What scares me is that people just were afraid to tell him the truth," he continued. "And if you tell him the truth, then he’s going to be mad at you and he’s going to let you go and then what? It’s crazy. It’s like telling a crazy relative… you avoid arguing with them because they’re going to go crazy, but they run the country, you have to!”