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“He thought my dad kidnapped us” — Blake Griffin opens up about realizing his father was racially discriminated

Blake Griffin shared an unforgettable experience that he later realized was racist.
Blake Griffin with his father Tommy Griffin and mom Gail Griffin

Blake Griffin with parents, Tommy and Gail

Racism is still one of the major issues in the United States. But more likely, you don’t recognize racial discrimination or undertones when you're just a kid. That’s exactly what happened to Brooklyn Nets big man Blake Griffin, who shared the first time he realized racism comes in many shapes and forms.

Realizing racism

As a child of interracial marriage, Griffin had an array of weird experiences in which his family became a subject of racism growing up. However, Blake never realized it until he reached adulthood.

We [me and my brother] both sort of remember these things but at the time when you were like six years old or like nine years old, you’re not really thinking like… this had sort of a like either racial undertone or it was sort of blatantly racist,” Griffin told Graham Bensinger last year.

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One instance Griffin shared was the time when a gas station employee thought he and his brother were “kidnapped” simply because their father was black.

I remember one time like a gas station clerk was kind of like questioning me and my brother like, ‘Are you guys good?’ We’re like ‘Yeah’ and he’s like ‘Where’s your dad?’ and we were like ‘Right there’ and he was like looking at us,” Griffin recalled. “I didn’t really think that much of it. I thought it was a weird interaction… but you don’t realize why until you think about it when you’re older and like ‘Oh, he thought my dad kidnapped us.’

Dealing with it

Indeed, not all families can cope with racism and endure the damage they inflict from it. Fortunately for Griffin, his parents were not one of those, especially his mom.

Growing up in this world is challenging, especially for a mixed kid like Griffin. We could just imagine what he and his parents had to go through just because they had different skin colors. But on the bright side, Blake did not succumb to all the discrimination and managed to fulfill his dreams of becoming an NBA star. And he owes all of that to his parents.

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