Shay Mitchell opens up about experiences with racism: ‘I was bullied’

Shay Mitchell is ready to approach race talks with her daughter. (Photo: Getty Images)
Since becoming a mother in October 2019, Shay Mitchell has shared daughter Atlas Noa Babel's milestones, moments of parenting joy and more on social media. But she did share some things with women's health that went on behind the scenes, like talking about racing with the couple's one-year-old.
“Matte [Mitchell's partner] is half white - his father is from Trinidad. And Atlas is a mix of all of us. But she's very fair skinned and has light eyes and hair so she doesn't look like either of us,” Mitchell said of publication. "We learn how to have the right conversations. It starts with her dolls, the toys she plays with and the books we read to her, all of which are different colors and ethnicities."
The 34-year-old actress stated that these conversations were not new to her as she herself was a mixed race child to a Filipino mother and white father. Mitchell even thought about the racism her parents faced when they started dating.
"It's something my mother has been concerned with all of her life," she said. "When she and my father were together in Toronto in the 1980s, their relationship was looked down on. She looked the worst on the bus with my father. They told me they went to a restaurant and people who didn't serve her. ""
Mitchell went on to say that she too "saw it in real life" when people started commenting around her, both about her mother and about herself. "My mother got derogatory comments like, 'Are you the cleaning lady? Are you the nanny?' And she said, 'No, but what's your problem if it were me?' "Mitchell recalled. "I was bullied at school - I got questions like, 'Are you going to go clean the bathrooms?'"
Knowing the importance of that dialogue, however, did not make Mitchell better prepared for motherhood, revealing that her "prenatal depression" made it harder to come to terms with the fact that she was becoming a caretaker. "A new version of you is being born with this baby," she remembered her doula, who told her. "Yes, you will lose something - but what you gain is obviously so worth it."
And while she has no parents and is completely in control of the numerous challenges that come with it, Mitchell doesn't seem too afraid to take on anything. "When I first saw Atlas, I forgot everything," she said of the worries she had during her pregnancy. "Shortly after she was born, I said to Matte, 'Okay, I'm ready to do this again!'"
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