One of the ways I really woke up to how bad racism is in the U.S. was reading an article in Ebony magazine about how to talk to your kids about police. It was in amongst articles about skin products and travel, right there in the middle of all the regular lifestyle magazine stuff. Something about the juxtaposition really brought it home for me emotionally. I knew that talking to your kids about the police is a rote conversation in our black communities, similar to a “birds and bees” talk, but I didn’t understand it emotionally until that moment.
After that, I started going deep every time I heard about another black person hurt or killed by police. I followed all the news, educated myself whenever it happened. I was shocked, and eventually devastated, by how mundane it is. It has become necessary to scare the shit out of your very young American kids, scare them to tears, so they don’t accidentally reach for their license in the presence of an officer who then kills them because they believe the kid is reaching for a gun.
Anyway, if you’re not black and you feel confused, or like there’s something you’re missing, consider just tuning in a little more. Watch the video above, maybe subscribe to Ebony (it’s like $18), follow a dozen black people on Twitter. Don’t bug any strangers, don’t argue with anyone on social media, just listen to the conversation and feelings happening in a few of our black communities. Google stuff you don’t understand, and see what you can learn.
3 thoughts on “Black People Explain to Kids How to Deal with the Police”
So sad, so true and so unfair. And I am baffled. I live in Miami and it is such a WONDERFUL mix of cultures – Cubans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Europeans, Canadians, etc. and the majority of people here just want to live their lives, love their families and hope that their children will have a better future.
Please view the CBS Sunday Morning interview with Lee Daniels (Jan 8, 2017). Inspiring, amazing, “common sense” man.
And yes, thank you, thank you! ‘MightyGirl’ for what you wrote:
“Don’t bug any strangers, don’t argue with anyone on social media, just listen to the conversation and feelings happening in a few of our black communities. Google stuff you don’t understand, and see what you can learn.” Super Advice.
And try to see what you can do to lift up others. Even little things, like a smile, a thank you when treated cordially, an email to the manager of the restaurant where you received good service (and if you didn’t receive good service maybe you were the one that wasn’t giving good vibes, hey?). We should all do this, no matter the color of anyone’s skin.
And speak out to your County/City Commissioners when you feel something is not right. Being active in local politics is more effective than at a national level.
This had me in near melt-down tears. It is devastating to watch. Seeing that 8 year old girl cry for her father’s experience just hit home so very much. I remember being pulled over when my daughter was an infant – it was for a dumb reason, the police officer was very rude, my child was crying, and I was certainly not respectful. When I think about the way that I talked to him and what that could have meant for a POC, I am floored every time. We need to be better than this.
Thank you for writing about this in a way that people can hopefully understand where we are coming.