The Reddit co-founder and executive chairman announced his decision to resign from the company's board on Friday, encouraging them to fill his seat with a black candidate. The following day, he sat down with his wife, Serena Williams, for a candid discussion on why he felt the move was so necessary.
"This was not an easy decision at all," Ohanian confessed of the decision, which was made "upon reflecting on the state of where our country is right now."
"I thought about what I could do beyond a social media post, beyond a donation," he explained. "We need diversity at the highest levels of business now more than ever. Once I realized why I needed to do it, it became very easy."
Ohanian and Williams share a 2-year-old daughter together, Alexis Olympia. Ohanian said that stepping down from the board and other decisions (he also announced he would be donating future gains from his Reddit stock to help the black community, starting with a $1 million pledge to Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp) were made "to make a better world" for his little girl.
"I thought about what those dollars could do for a community that has clearly suffered for far too long, and that I with my power and my influence and my privilege want to do something meaningful to start to show a change. To make a better world for Olympia," he expressed.
Ohanian confessed that as Olympia grows up, it'll likely be Williams who explains to her how her race operates within culture. However, he wants to be able to tell her what he's done to fight against racial injustice with "the clearest conscience."
"I wanted to put as much weight behind the gesture as I could because I felt I owed it to you and I owed it to her," he told his wife.
"One of the things that really broke me at some point in the last week, I was looking at Olympia, she's 2 and a half now, and she is such a pure, just blank canvas. She only knows love. There is not an ounce of hate in her body," Ohanian said. "That's the crushing thing. At some point, Olympia is going to have to have a talk with you, a talk with us, but especially a talk with you, about how she's going to have to work that much harder, how she’s going to have to deal with this much more, that pisses me off."
Ohanian and Williams' conversation also offered insight into the tennis star's struggles with racism throughout her life.
"I'm sitting here like, if I'm this pissed off just now, how have you been able to endure your entire life?" Ohanian asked Williams. "How have generations of black Americans been able to endure your entire life? Because If I'm just getting this mad right now, I wouldn't be able to function."
"It's hard," Williams confirmed. "It is definitely not easy. It's something that unfortunately has become normal for us."