Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie Addresses Racial Medical Bias Her Daughter Zahara Has Experienced

Actress and philanthropist Angelina Jolie discusses racial bias in healthcare, particularly toward Black children.

The mother of six, three of which are adopted children of color, says her kids were prone to dangerous tactics of misdiagnosis because of their race. In an op-ed for the American Journal of Nursing entitled, Addressing Health Inequities in Survivors of Domestic Violence,” Jolie described how medical professionals often missed the mark on certain things given race and ethnicity and noticed how training centers focused more on white skin. “As the mother of children of multiple races, I have seen my children of color be misdiagnosed, at times in ways that endangered their health,” Jolie wrote.

She hit a soft spot while writing about her daughter, Zahara Jolie-Pitts, who was adopted from the African country of Ethiopia. Jolie touched on the lack of proper tools that may miss bruises on darker skin, something she’s experienced with her daughter, now 18. “Without use of the best available technology to detect bruising, abuse survivors of color are at a significant disadvantage in having their injuries properly identified and documented, are at greater risk for further abuse,” the Academy Award-winning actress said.

She reminisced on a time when Zahara was hospitalized for a medical procedure, and a nurse told her to notify her “if she turns pink near her incisions.” Jolie said at that moment, she realized the conversation she needed to have with her daughter about what makes her different. “When she left the room, I had a talk with my daughter, both of us knowing that we would have to look for signs of infection based on our own knowledge, not what the nurse had said,” Jolie wrote.

Jolie has always advocated for proper healthcare for all and taught her children to adopt the same ideologies. NBC News reports in an essay for Time magazine in 2020, she revealed Zahara went in and out of surgeries for undisclosed reasons. “I have watched my daughters care for one another,” she wrote. “My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister and then assisted the next time.”