The Little Fires Everywhere star and executive producer spoke on The Ellen DeGeneres Show via Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 22, about how she's discussing racial injustice with her children, 6-year-old Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha and 23-month-old Caleb Kelechi Asomugha.
She told Ellen Degeneres, "I want my kids to know that I am fully present as they're exploring those ideas, too." She added, "In a lot of ways, I have to make sure that I am taking care of myself as I'm having these conversations and, just on a daily basis, doing what I need to do to stay calm and to stay present and stay informed. So that I can really be there for them as the world unfolds around them."
Washington continued, "I wear the Breonna Taylor T-Shirt, you know, 'Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.' So if I'm going to wear that, which I do proudly, I'd be ready to have that conversation in my house and answer those questions."
She bases conversations with her kids on what she learned growing up and most of all, tries to be a good listener. The 43-year-old said, "Such a big part of it is knowing who your kid is and as you're having the conversation, like watching and listening for the cues to be present for this stuff."
The Scandal alum added, "A lot of us remember the moment in our own childhoods when we were first confronted with negative views about race with racism, with institutionalized racism."
Degeneres praised Washington for her parenting skills and activism, saying, "Good for you for continuing the conversation about Breonna Taylor because we can't stop that until they are arrested. It's crazy that they have not been arrested yet."
Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 by Louisville Metro police officers as they executed a no-knock search warrant at her home.
The supermom further explained how the coronavirus pandemic is giving her new opportunities to educate her children—whom she shares with husband of seven years Nnamdi Asomugha—on Black history and African cultures.
"Our whole house has become a classroom, really," Washington said. "They both do online work with their classes, but I've also been really trying to use this time to teach them things that maybe not be on the curriculum."
Over the summer, she created lessons about the planets and continents. "But really with a focus on Africa," she said. "So I was walking them through lots of different African cultures. The Nubians, the Maasai warriors, Egyptian culture and just like scouring the internet for projects I could do with them and children's books about those cultures to really immerse them."
She noted that typical classroom curriculum can be lacking in Black and African history.
The new, first-time Emmy winner said, "A lot of times kids when they're learning about Black history in particular, you learn about Civil Rights and then Jim Crow era. You learn about all the things that Black people were told we couldn't do. So I thought it was really important to kind of immerse them in the rich culture of who Black people are and were even before the Martin Luther Kings and the great, great Civil Rights leaders."
Last week, Washington took home her first Emmy Award as executive producer of ABC's Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: "All In The Family" And "Good Times." She tuned in to the Emmys ceremony on Sept. 20, live from Little Fires Everywhere co-star Reese Witherspoon's house. Naturally, the event was New Year's Eve-themed because, as Witherspoon said, "We're ready for this year to be over."
Winners Regina King (Watchmen) and Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America) donned Breonna Taylor T-shirts while giving their acceptance speeches. The fashion statements meant a lot to Washington, who told Degeneres it was "so great."
Watch her Ellen interview above.