Isaiah Washington has revealed his belief that some of the “best elementary teachers” and “neighbors” he had during his childhood were also members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The veteran actor, who has been open about his thoughts on race and other polarizing topics, recently shared his experience as a youth growing up in a southern, racially prejudiced environment on Instagram. The post, which includes a black-and-white photo of what appears to be three generations of KKK members, was initially removed from the platform. However, Washington has since reposted the photo and an accompanying message that has yet to be taken down.
In the post, the former Grey’s Anatomy cast member shared that it was commonplace for him and his fellow students to play with one another and visit each others homes, but that the racial “boundaries” were known on both sides.
“I had some of the best elementary school teachers and even some neighbors that I knew were Klan Members back in Texas while growing up. I knew where They stood with me and They also knew where I stood with Them. The boundaries were very, very clear and I still played with Their kids, I just couldn’t drink from Their outside water hose or come inside Their house to eat.”
Washington wrote that while he experienced racial prejudice during his childhood, the conditions of his own home environment were often superior to that of his neighbors and classmates. He also pondered if he and his own family’s goodwill towards the community had a positive effect on his classmates’ outlook on him and his success as an entertainer.
“Their houses were usually much smaller than what I grew up in,” the 60-year-old added. “My mother never refused to let Their kids into her house to eat a summer lunch and drink from our vintage JFK water glasses. I can’t help but wonder today, if Their kids are vigorously supporting me as an actor today, simply because I showed Them love and respect as a true Texan and a true American. even when Their parents and grandparents forbid Them to reciprocate love and respect for me publicly to me back then, but I’m infamous now, I wonder…”
See Isaiah Washington’s Instagram post below.