This Uncle Went Viral For Explaining MLK To His Nephew, And People Are Applauding Him For Showing How To Tackle Hard Conversations With Kids

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Famed for creating tasty dishes on TikTok, chef Chris Cho recently went viral for an unplanned moment that happened out of the kitchen. Chris was spending Martin Luther King Jr. Day at his sister-in-law's house when the adults in the room wondered aloud whether their local market would be closing early in honor of the holiday, and his nephew asked, "What's Martin Luther King?"

When speaking to BuzzFeed about the moment, Chris acknowledged that as the uncle, he wasn't sure what age is considered "the right time" to start conversations about race with kids. But he said, "I think anytime they can understand and start a conversation might be a good time to start. I remember asking [him], 'Do you know what a water fountain is? ... [Would] you think it's fair if you [weren't] allowed to drink at the same water fountain as your friends?' And he said, 'No,' so I continued to explain to him because I felt like he understood what being fair and not fair is."

In a now-viral video that picks up in the middle of their conversation, Chris and his nephew, Devon, sit across a coffee table from one another as the uncle answers tough questions from the 4-year-old boy. "If you were African American and if your skin was black, they told you to sit in the back. You weren't allowed to sit in the front," Chris said.

<div><p>"Why?" Devon asked. </p><p>"It wasn't fair back then," Chris answered.</p><p>"What happens if you sit there?" Devon pushed. </p><p>"Sometimes police officers are called and then they would hit the African American people...and be really mean. But Martin Luther King fought for that. Martin Luther King said, 'That's not fair. Us African Americans [should be able to] sit in the front. We should use the same bathrooms.' And if you were African American back in the day, you couldn't drink at the same water fountain. There was a different water fountain for white people and Black people. Which was unfair right?"</p><p>The little boy nodded. </p><p>"So," Chris concluded. "Martin Luther King was like, 'That's not fair, we're going to fight for this.'"</p></div><span> TikTok: @chefchrischo / Via <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@chefchrischo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tiktok.com" class="link ">tiktok.com</a></span>

"Why?" Devon asked.

"It wasn't fair back then," Chris answered.

"What happens if you sit there?" Devon pushed.

"Sometimes police officers are called and then they would hit the African American people...and be really mean. But Martin Luther King fought for that. Martin Luther King said, 'That's not fair. Us African Americans [should be able to] sit in the front. We should use the same bathrooms.' And if you were African American back in the day, you couldn't drink at the same water fountain. There was a different water fountain for white people and Black people. Which was unfair right?"

The little boy nodded.

"So," Chris concluded. "Martin Luther King was like, 'That's not fair, we're going to fight for this.'"

TikTok: @chefchrischo / Via tiktok.com

"Does Martin Luther King sound like a good person, Devon?" the boy's mom asked off camera. To which he immediately responds, "Yes."

People in the comment section of the video applauded Chris for the age-appropriate explanation:

Paulette Fuller wrote &quot;Age appropriate explanation [heart emoji}
TikTok: @chefchrischo / Via tiktok.com

And for not being afraid to teach children about history:

Dope, teaching our youth so they never forget what changes we have made in this rough unpredictable world
TikTok: @chefchrischo / Via tiktok.com

Chris remembers being around his nephew's age when he first learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and the effect hearing of the Civil Rights Movement had on him. "I couldn't comprehend [why] people were mistreated and had to use different water fountains, bathrooms, and sit in back of the bus. ... I was so young, and I came from a country where 99% of the people were Korean, so I never heard of racism or faced racism," he said.

As a young boy, Chris emigrated from Korea and joined the Philadelphia school system, unfortunately learning about the actions Dr. King preached against firsthand. "I was one of the only three or four Korean kids at the school, and [then] was my first time facing racism, with people calling me chink and all type of names."

"Ever since I read about Martin Luther King Jr. and learned about the Rosa Parks story, I remember thinking, 'Wow, if it wasn't for Dr. King, us Asians wouldn't have the rights we have right now.' I truly believe if it wasn't for Dr. King, none of us would have the freedom we have. He fought for everyone to be equal, which is super powerful."

Aa closeup of MLK&#39;s birth date and death date

"[After seeing the video,] some of my followers told me, 'Thank you for sharing,' and some were white, Black, Asian, and all different colors and nationalities. Some said, 'These are the things people should teach at home,' 'Thanks for standing up for us,' and so many other positive messages," he said. "I think it's important for Asians to stand up for Asian hate, and Black people to stand up for BLM, but I also think it's super important for all of us to stand up for each other, [regardless of whether] you're white, Black, Asian, or purple. It's super important to stand up for what's right and fight for freedom and equality."

View Pictures / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Though he can't predict the next time his nieces and nephews may need his historical breakdowns, chef Chris has been using his platform to connect people across the world in the best way he can — through food. "People might see me as a chef who shares recipes, but it's deeper than that," he said. "We connect through food. I think food is a way to bring people together."

If you'd like to learn a few tasty recipes or keep up with Chris, you can follow him on TikTok and Instagram.

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