Will Smith shared his personal experiences of racism as a black man in America, as he addressed the idea of one day running for office. The film star said he had been called the N-word to his face on 'five or six times'.
He said none of the people racially abusing him were "smart", which at first made him thing all racists were stupid. Will told the Pod Save America podcast, hosted by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor about the experience.
He said: "Fortunately for my psyche, I've never been called N-word by a smart person. So I grew up with the impression that racists and racism are stupid and they are easy to get around, I just had to be smarter."
Looking into the eyes of those abusing him he "[never] saw anything I perceived as intellect."
However, when the 52-year-old started to make it in Hollywood, he realised the reality of racism wasn't so clear cut.
As he grew older his view changed. "I started seeing the ideas of systemic racism, but at the core of it, I noticed a difference between ignorance and evil."
He takes encouragement from the fact ignorance can be educated, unlike evil.
Will says: "I've always been encouraged that the process of education and understanding could alleviate some of the more dangerous and difficult aspects of racism that have unfortunately been embedded in the very fibers of our country."
When it comes to his own ambitions, Will admitted he has considered a life in politics.
He said: "I think for now I’ll let that office get cleaned up a little bit and then I’ll consider that at some point down the line.
"I absolutely have an opinion. I’m optimistic. I’m hopeful. I believe in understanding between people and I believe in the possibility of harmony."
And while he has no firm plans, he will: "certainly do my part, whether it remains artistic or, at some point ventures into the political arena."
The actor appeared on the podcast to promote his new Netflix series Amend: The Fight For America.