Tags: Hollywood | diffrent strokes | todd bridges | racism

'Diff'rent Strokes' Star Says He Faced 'Extreme Racism' Growing Up

'Diff'rent Strokes' Star Says He Faced 'Extreme Racism' Growing Up
Todd Bridges arrives at the premiere of Apple TV+'s 'Truth Be Told' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on November 11, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 22 April 2021 12:48 PM

Fame was not enough to shield "Diff’rent Strokes" star Todd Bridges from experiencing "extreme racism" growing up, the actor has revealed.

Bridges drew attention as a child star in several hit TV shows, including "Little House on the Prairie," and shot to fame after being cast in the role of Willis Jackson on the NBC sitcom "Diff’rent Strokes," which aired from 1978 to 1985. He had achieved teen idol status yet despite this, Bridges revealed that he was still subject to racial discrimination.

"Here you are doing something spectacular for people and people are enjoying it, but then you go outside and you’re treated like you’re ignorant, dumb and stupid," Bridges told Page Six. "Not like you have some intelligence or you’re a good kid, not at all."

Bridges has not shied away from opening up about his experiences of racism in the past. In an interview with Beliefnet,  he recalled being harassed by the LAPD after moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Bridges explained that his was the first Black family to live in his neighborhood and they "suffered a lot at the hands of racist police." At one point Bridges recalled it being "so bad" that he would get pulled over "every day for two years" by the same officers. 

"Harassing me, making me late for work, just messing with me," he said. "They knew that I had a job. They knew I was on a TV show, but they didn't care."

Bridges said he often spoke out about the treatment he was receiving from the police but nobody believed him because they thought he was "out doing bad things." Now he said people look back and realize he was telling the truth. 

"Now, we realize that police officers will raise their hand and tell a lie," Bridges said. "They're human beings and they're capable of lying just like anybody else is."

Despite his past, the actor told Page Six that has since been able to put it all behind him and move on.

"Anything that affected me back then doesn’t affect me now. You see what’s going on in the world right now, you see the racism, you still have to go through it. I don’t let that affect me as much now. I know that’s what the world is right now," he said. "I think the next generation may change it. My kids’ generation doesn’t see color, they see people."

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Fame was not enough to shield "Diff’rent Strokes" star Todd Bridges from experiencing "extreme racism" growing up, the actor has revealed...
diffrent strokes, todd bridges, racism
Thursday, 22 April 2021 12:48 PM
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