Jaleel White is best known for his role as Steve Urkel in the 1990s sitcom, Family Matters. White spoke candidly about how he was treated in comparison to white child actors although he portrayed an iconic character,
“It’s fair of me now to definitely say– You were made to feel African-American. Fred Savage [Wonder Years] was always invited to the Emmys; he was always treated like a darling during this time. I was never invited to the Emmys, even to present. I was pretty much told that I would be wasting my time to even submit myself for nomination.”
White was only 12-years-old when he joined the cast of Family Matters as a one-time character but became a breakout star and evolved into the main character.
He starred in his role from 1989 to 1998, and the show was nominated once for outstanding special visual effects at the 1996 Emmys.
Jaleel White appeared on the Ever After podcast hosted by Mayim Bialik who starred on Blossom as a child. Bialik said, “It was so normalized — you just shrugged and said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s for the white kids.’ When a Black person would win anything — never at the Emmys but at least on the Oscars side — if Denzel [Washington] would win or Whoopi [Goldberg] would win, those were ‘Pick up the phone and call the whole family’ moments.”