Kristen Bell is still promoting her ‘both sides’ Purple People kids book

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Kristen Bell was recently on The Late Show to promote her ill-timed and ill-conceived The World Needs More Purple People children’s book. It was released in the height of the Black Lives Matter movement this June, when there was a growing awareness of racism and white privilege. The book seemed like a variation on the antiquated “I don’t see color, I don’t care if you’re purple” way that certain white people deny racism. (Also see: “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”) It was widely criticized for that reason, but Kristen never addressed that and she kept promoting the book as usual. She’s still promoting it, and on Jimmy Kimmel last week she repeated the reasoning that she and her co-writer had for writing the book: that their children were seeing political divisiveness and that they wanted them to see similarities instead and just get along:

Purple, it’s obviously a little bit of a metaphor. One of my best friends Ben Hart and I we were having a family dinner two years ago. It takes a long time even though there are only 20 pages. It takes two years. We were noticing this very polarizing political culture seep into our family lives and we were like ‘this feels wrong, it feels like we’re seeing enemies everywhere.’ So we wanted to do something helpful with the language ‘red vs. blue,’ ‘blue vs. red.’ It’s not versus anything and so we wanted to create a social identity that positions kids toward other human beings, to work out any disagreements, any different opinions.

[From The Tonight Show on YouTube]

You’ve surely heard the famous quote by James Baldwin, “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” Only for Kristen’s kids, and for her co-writer Benjamin Hart’s kids, that disagreement between the two parties is rooted in the oppression of other people, isn’t it? One side is denying Black and brown people’s humanity. Rich white people are going to be just fine. Kids understand good vs. evil. There are villains in almost every kids’ story. Aren’t you telling them “oh honey those people aren’t that bad, just be nice to everyone and it will work out fine.” Unfortunately Kristen’s book is number three on the NY Times Children’s Picture Books bestseller list. I guess it’s easier to tell your kids we should all get along than help them acknowledge implicit racism and that the system is stacked in their favor.

Kristen told Jimmy that the book was two years in the making. It came out in June, 2020. Let’s assume it’s just about “politics.” Charlottesville was in the summer of 2017. We saw children locked in cages and separated from their families at the border around June, 2018. All of that escalated and was so painfully obvious by the time the book came out. The Republicans are responsible for hundreds of thousands dead Americans due to spreading lies about a deadly pandemic. Of course we knew well before then what they were up to, but Kristen and Benjamin saw those things and still thought it was a great idea to write a book telling kids “political” differences didn’t matter. Penguin books decided to publish it and at no point did they pull it or issue a disclaimer. I doubt they even questioned it since a celebrity wrote it. Kristen is still acting like this book is a great idea and she’s still promoting it using the same sh-tty talking points she used this summer. She’s shown us who she is.

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