Zach Braff to white people: Having a Black friend doesn't excuse you from national conversation about race

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Zach Braff and Donald Faison’s stints on TV comedy Scrubs ended in 2010, but the two men — who happen to be of different races — have remained close. Really close. They even co-host a podcast, called Fake Doctors, Real Friends With Zach + Donald.

Still, Braff knows that doesn’t excuse him from the national conversation about race that’s happening as protests erupt all around the country over racial injustice and inequality.

Scrubs co-stars Donald Faison and Zach Braff have been real-life friends for years. (Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

“As I’m listening to everyone who’s speaking and reading, I know that I too have lots to learn,” Braff said as he appeared alongside Faison on Monday’s episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show. “It’s not enough to just say, ‘Oh, my best friend is a Black man.’ It’s not enough to say, ‘Oh, I grew up with a diverse population.’ There’s ways that I can be way more proactive than I’m being. I can’t just sit back and be, ‘Oh, no, I’m cool. I have a Black best friend.’ That’s b.s.”

Braff, who grew up in the cosmopolitan areas of New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles, said he’s using this time to really listen. He’s learning more about his privilege and the ways he can be more proactive against racism in his own life.

Faison urged anyone who’s not a person of color to do the same.

“It’s very, very scary to be judged by the color of your skin. It’s happened to me quite a bit my whole life,” Faison said. “Even how people describe me on Scrubs. I’m the Black guy from Scrubs, you know what I mean? I’m not even one of the actors from Scrubs. I’m the Black guy from Scrubs. And so I encourage everyone to just, first of all, educate yourself. That’s most important.”

People who become more educated will see the similarities between all humans, Faison said. “We might do things differently, but we all are the same, and together we can abolish racism, and it’s everywhere.”

The Clueless star explained that when people recognize the pervasiveness of racism, the current movement will make total sense.

“It’s finally coming to a head is what’s happening, but [racism has] been here forever,” Faison said. “Once you ... recognize that there’s racism out there, you’ll start checking yourself. You’ll start checking yourself, believe it or not.”

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