I feel like we’ve been hearing entirely too much about Kristen Bell during this pandemic. It’s like Kristen, Chrissy Teigen, and Alicia Silverstone are in a lifelong bet over who can be the biggest oversharer. First Kristen informed everyone about her and husband Dax Shepard being “at each other’s throats” during isolation, then she let it slip about how her five-year-old still uses diapers, then she lent her face to that White Celebrities Care PSA last week. And if you thought Kristen was done talking about race, you were wrong!
Kristen and her friend Benjamin Hart wrote a book called The World Needs More Purple People, about a purple person who “looks for similarities before differences”. It’s an allegory for race. Or a metaphor. Or maybe a simile. Whatever the fuck it is, people aren’t impressed, accusing Kristen of being one of those white people who blithely says, “I don’t see color!” They say that by making the book about made-up “purple people”, Kristen is ignoring real-life racism.
Kristen shared news of the book on Instagram a few months ago, announcing the scheduled release date: June 2. But not even a triple threat (acting, singing, annoying) could’ve predicted the state of the world in early June. And it’s, errr, not great timing for a children’s book on race written by two white people. But Ms. Bell has bravely soldiered on, doing the rounds to promote Purple Lives Matter. Last Friday she went on CBS to talk to Gayle King about race, and even though Gayle threw her a bone by wearing a purple shirt, her eyes tell another story:
TOMORROW: Actress & author @KristenBell talks to @GayleKing about how she’s listening, learning and ready to lean in to the conversation about race and how she hopes her new children’s book will empower kids to speak up for what’s right.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 11, 2020
And here are some anti-purple people tweets:
#TrayvonMartin was not purple. #TamirRice was not purple. #MichaelBrown was not purple. #EricGarner was not purple. #RayshardBrooks was not purple. #RobertFuller was not purple. #BreonnaTaylor was not purple. #AhmaudArbery was not purple. #GeorgeFloyd was not purple…
— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) June 13, 2020
dude kristen bell got three strikes all during quarantine. you’re out sis pic.twitter.com/VSB410VQqK
— ACAB Bangs (@yuckybangs) June 12, 2020
Now why, in a world full of actual people of actual colors, would Kristen Bell need to make up purple people to teach children about living in a multicultural society? And why does she think she has the range to do that anyway? Most White people don’t know anyone but Whites.
— Musings on History (@MusingsHistory) June 12, 2020
Dear @KristenBell, when you say, "I don't care if you're white, yellow, brown, purple…" you are erasing the identities & experiences of people of color & perpetuating white supremacy
— ⚖️ Andie's here to dismantle white supremacy ⚖️ (@TheObamanista) June 12, 2020
Kristen, the type who reads aaaaaallll the comments, took to Twitter to defend herself and say that her book is not a teaching tool for race:
I’m so sorry if I didnt say it clearly or correctly- I was trying to say the similarity IS our humanity. Sameness is not blindness. Our book is about finding things in common with others, and the entire ending is about “being uniquely you.”
It’s not a teaching tool for race. I’m not qualified to write that, and many others are. Our book was written 2 years ago and is meant to help kids see past the divisiveness happening in the political conversations.
I am absolutely aware that children see color by 5, and have read quite a few parenting books about it in order to learn how to raise my girls to see humanity, find things in common and celebrate everyone’s differences as what makes us all magic. Xo
Clearly, Kristen is shitting her pants. Luckily, she’s close with a five-year-old who may lend her a few diapers, as long as mommy vows to never discuss her toilet habits in public again…