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‘We Have to Hear Each Other Out’: Two TV Stars on Friendship and Race


So we met on common ground. And when you meet on common ground, it creates the basis for a wonderful relationship, no matter what color it is. When you start on the same level and you are looking eye to eye with somebody and you are jumping off the cliff with your work, that is the basis of a wonderful relationship. So that’s where Beth and I started out. Out the gate, we were ready to rock.

When you were first starting out, and saying, “I just want to perform, I just want to share this gift,” I’m sure there were so many obstacles. What are some of the ways that you overcame those obstacles?

ARNOLD There is a double standard in Hollywood. In America. There is a double standard when it comes to my career and Beth’s career. Beth and I, we have had this conversation.

BEHRS Yeah.

ARNOLD Beth is afforded certain things that I am still afforded, but how it’s looked upon and how it’s treated and how it’s cultivated, it’s completely different. So our roads are different. And it has not been easy. And there have been a lot of changes made, but we’ve got a long way to go. We are not done.

But I believe that Beth and I on “The Neighborhood,” we represent change. We represent something that’s not even new. It’s always been here. Our relationship, there are a lot of Black women and white women out there that have the same relationship that Beth and I have. But guess what? It gets drowned out by the bull. Sorry to bring it down.

I think it’s interesting that you are on a sitcom about racial issues, and we are having a kind of reckoning going on in all kinds of forms, in entertainment, in academia, a racial reckoning around the police, and it’s pervasive. And you have a show that discusses these issues. Have there been moments while you were filming that you felt really spoke to the atmosphere around you?

BEHRS Yeah. I used to shy away from being uncomfortable. Like, “I don’t want to ruffle feathers.” Now, we have tackled some things on the show that Tichina and I talked about. Tichina and I had an episode where, the moral of the story was a police officer followed her through the store even though I was the one who was doing the stealing. I’m trying to educate myself and also learn how to be an ally and be uncomfortable and step the [expletive] up, because it’s something that I know has been my privilege to shy away from.

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