Willow Smith and mum Jada discuss male privilege with a transgender pastor
Willow Smith and her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, discussed male privilege with a transgender pastor on an episode of their web series, Red Table Talks.
The Facebook Watch show features three generations of the Smith family, including Willow’s grandmother, Adrienne, having open conversations about “taboo” subjects.
Paula Williams, a pastor and transgender woman, was invited to share her experiences on the show’s latest episode which aired on October 7.
After hearing of Williams’ journey to coming out, Willow, 18, asked if her 35 years as an evangelical pastor had kept her from accepting her transgender identity sooner.
Williams agreed. “It was a way to not have to deal with what I needed to deal with. It was a way of staying in a safe space, and frankly, a way to keep my power, my male privilege, which is painful to admit,” she said.
“That’s real talk,” Jada replied.
“Me, I feel like if I was a man, I would be like ‘Wow, I have so much privilege as a man, I don’t know if I want to mess that up,'” Willow said. “It’s so much — religion, politics, everything is set up for the patriarchy.”
“White patriarchy, for sure,” Jada added.
Williams acknowledged this. “As a male I was just pretty sure I was the stuff,” she said. “I think that is a strength that I had, that the world had been very good to me. Everything I ever touched turned to gold.
“So it was easier for me to make that decision, certainly, than a person of colour, or someone who’s not had the kind of education, the male privilege, the success that I’ve had.”
Jada praised Williams for her self-awareness and understanding of her own privilege. Williams then described how her life changed when the world started seeing her as a woman.
“Shortly after I transitioned I started watching my power disappear,” she noted.
“There are a lot of things you discover when you transition. One is, if you speak up, well if you speak up too strong, now you’re just too strong.
“And if you don’t speak up strongly enough, well, now you’re too acquiescent. And if you do speak up, you’re just going to be interrupted.”