The reality TV alums were joined by “Love and Hip Hop” cast members Yandy Smith-Harris and her husband Mendeecees Harris, who are Black. Joining the conversation was the Robertsons’ son Will, who they adopted when he was just five weeks old. Will’s biological father is Black and his biological mother is White.
Kicking off the chat, Yandy asked the Robertsons how they dealt with questions about their son’s skin color after welcoming him into their family years ago.
“I remember my grandmother had a friend who’s Black that expressed to her that she felt like White people shouldn’t adopt Black kids. I think she just felt like Black people should adopt Black people and White people should adopt White people,” Korie recalled. “But I just think that’s not helpful.”
Willie recalled being told by an adoption agency that biracial children are “the hardest ones to place here in the south.” He remembered the two having no qualms about adopting a biracial child, and Korie recalled their adoption of Will being “all love and all excitement and just gratefulness for this beautiful baby boy that we had.”
Korie revealed the pair weren’t concerned about being asked about Will’s skin color until questions started to arise when their family’s reality show on A&E took off.
“We didn’t think about it until the show happened and people were like, ‘Wait who’s the Black kid? Who does he belong to?'” Korie recalled.
Yandy, who shares two children with Menceedees, said her son struggled with the realization that he looks different than his classmates because of his skin color. She questioned if Will endured a similar struggle when he was younger.
“I was one of the only Black kids in my grade,” Will said. “My friends were White so I didn’t get the notion that I was [different]. I would look myself in the mirror and be like, ‘Oh, I’m just a little bit tanner.’ My hair was short…I didn’t have all this texture that I have now so I was just like, ‘I kind of am just one of them.’ As I got older I started realizing, ‘Oh gosh, I’m a lot different.”
Willie also spoke to “all kind of ugly comments” the family received about Will.
“For us it was weird because now he can see that,” Willie said of the judgmental commentary. “We didn’t see that and we had people do all kind of ugly things.”
In terms of encountering racism, Korie said it’s “always shocking.”
“I remember when the Charlottesville thing happened. It’s just so sad to me, and you know, having a son that’s Black and biracial, just to, you know, have to explain that to him, you wanna say, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no…that’s in the past.’ But whenever it’s right there in your face, you’re like, ‘No, it’s not in the past,'” the mother of six said.
Yandy discussed the importance of having conversations with her children about racial tension in today’s society. She specifically spoke to the importance of teaching her Black children how to react if ever pulled over by police. Asked if they ever sat down with Will to discuss what to do in this type of situation, Willie admitted him and his wife had not.
“I’ve never once worried about that. I think I taught them to be respectful to any type of authority, with teachers, everyone,” Willie said.
“You haven’t had to think about that, but these are the kinds of conversations that [Mendeecees] has to have with his sons,” Yandy said. “We can cut off the beard. We can not get tattoos, and we can prevent those things from happening but you can’t wash off your skin.”
Willie felt Yandy and Mendeecees’ input was beneficial as they brought “a different perspective.”
“Your heritage is mixed so it can’t just die because you’ve been brought up in a different place or, you know, with a different group of people that love you,” Yandy informed Will, “because you have to be able to pass down your heritage as well.”
Korie concluded that she hopes one day we can all live in a world where “racism just does not exist, where no one is judged for the color of their skin.”
Korie and Willie share six kids together. “At Home with the Robertsons” is their new Facebook Watch series which will follow the couple inviting celebrity guests into their Louisiana home.