Angelina Jolie reveals daughter Zahara, 16, faced racial bias after surgery

Angelina Jolie’s 16-year-old daughter Zahara recently underwent surgery.

The 46-year-old said that her daughter, who is black, faced bias due to institutionalised racism after undergoing an operation, when doctors asked if her skin had ‘turned pink’.

Angelina spoke to medical student and writer Malone Mukwende as part of her role as contributing editor to Time magazine about his work in exposing institutionalised racism in medicine.

While studying at medical school, Malone noticed that the almost all of the images and data used in teaching were based on white skin.

He said: ‘If we learned about a particular type of rash or disease that manifests on skin, it would always have white skin as the reference. I would ask “what does this look like on other skin tones?” just for my own learning. Often people told me that they didn’t know.’

Angelina said: ‘I have children from different backgrounds, and I know when there was a rash that everybody got, it looked drastically different depending on their skin colour. But whenever I looked at medical charts, the reference point was always white skin.

‘Recently my daughter Zahara, whom I adopted from Ethiopia, had surgery, and afterward a nurse told me to call them if her skin “turned pink.”’

Malone said: ‘That’s the kind of thing I started to notice very early on. Almost the entirety of medicine is taught in that way. There’s a language and a culture that exists in the medical profession, because it’s been done for so many years and because we are still doing it so many years later it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem.

‘However, like you’ve just illustrated, that’s a very problematic statement for some groups of the population because it’s just not going to happen in that way and if you’re unaware you probably won’t call the doctor.’

Angelina did not detail what surgery Zahara underwent.

The Salt actress has six children with ex-husband Brad Pitt, three of them adopted.

Her 15-year-old daughter Shiloh and 12-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox are white, while Angelina adopted Zahara from Ethiopia in 2005 when she was six months old.

Her eldest son Maddox, 19, was adopted from an orphanage in Cambodia in 2002, and Angelina adopted Pax, now 17, when he was three years old from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2007.

Angelina previously shared her concerns that Zahara would be exposed to systemic racism and discrimination, telling Harper’s Bazaar last year: ‘There are more than 70 million people who have had to flee their homes worldwide because of war and persecution – and there is racism and discrimination in America.

‘A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter – or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin colour – is intolerable.

‘We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity. Ending abuses in policing is just the start. It goes far beyond that, to all aspects of society, from our education system to our politics.’

The actress is reportedly set to appeal the decision that ruled that Brad, 57, would have joint custody of five of their children (Maddox, aged 19, was not subject to the ruling).

The Oscar winner is aiming to show ‘demonstrate clear, reversible, prejudicial legal error’ on the part of Judge John Ouderkirk, a private judge who the couple hired.

The filing read: ‘Judge Ouderkirk denied Ms Jolie a fair trial, improperly excluding her evidence relevant to the children’s health, safety, and welfare, evidence critical to making her case.’

It also claimed that he ‘has failed to adequately consider’ a section of the California courts code, which states that it is detrimental to a child’s best interest if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence.

It was previously reported that Jolie was was prepared to offer proof of domestic violence in the custody battle.

However, a source familiar with the case told Metro.co.uk at the time: ‘When they were first divorced in the fall of 2016… she made similar allegations which were reported to the authorities and thoroughly investigated before no action was taken.’

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