The Talk The Conversation That We Are Dreading

12 Comments

I have sat on this post for many days, writing, re-writing and looking for a perfect title. I’ll be honest, I was at a loss for words. How do we have this conversation with our sweet 9 year old?  He’s the sweetest and most gentlest soul. He sees the good in everyone but now we have to have the “talk” with him.  No, it’s not about the birds and the bees, or how his body will be changing. It was about survival, yes survival.  {Sigh}

Anthony Anderson in his role of Dre portrayed what many parents of black and brown children feel during an emotionally charged episode of Black-ish.  In this episode Dre and Bow aren’t sure how to respond when the kids ask tough questions about a controversial court case involving alleged police brutality.

His portrayal was deep,  poignant, and real.  As I watched this episode I couldn’t but help feel a sudden urge of sadness and hopelessness.   My son is 9 years old, a big boy for his age.

The talk is simply referring to the conversations that Black parents have with their children to prepare them for the racial bias they may face in the world. My mixed child who is proud to be both Black and Latino will always be seen as a  Black man.  He will be measured differently from other men. He is a Black man thus he will need to be more in sync with the world that he sees him differently.

With so many violent cases against Black kids and men we can only prepare them.    Their lives can literally depend on it.

For example, he should never run in public. A Black or Brown boy running will be racially profiled regardless.   In the heavily racist climate that we are living in this can lead to a very dangerous outcome for him.

When walking into a store or other location he should take his hoodie off.  Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie and was racially profiled.

We will continue to stress that he be polite and cooperative if stopped by the police.

This one is one that hubby stresses all of the time and it’s to be aware of your surroundings: people, places and things.

Him being a Generation Z  kid  (these are kids that have used the Internet since a young age, and they are generally comfortable with technology and with interacting on social media) I will have to remind him to never to use his real information online. Ever! Or send nude pictures of himself ever!

We  will remind him that, no means no, but to never get himself into a situation where that “no” is the only thing that will keep him safe.

As he gets older, and learns to drive.   We will remind him that if he’s driving to always keep his  hands on the steering wheel if pulled over, and to always keep his hands visible.

My Mom would always tell me that if I’m in an office or a closed area with a man to make sure to keep the door open (this applies to men as well).  Always leave the office door open when talking with a female. If a woman is alone in an elevator  wait for the next one when there are more people.

Lastly, and not less important always pay attention to the exact words and slurs people use. Memorize them. Write them down.

Black or brown, boy or girl this is something that they need to always keep in mind.  I’ve started these conversations with my 9 year old. Though it’s still difficult for his young mind to comprehend it’s a much needed “talk.”

What else would you add?

 

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Categories: Parenting

12 Responses to “The Talk The Conversation That We Are Dreading”

  1. So glad I found your blog! I’m white, my husband is Afro-Jamaican and our son turns 7 next week. My place in this conversation is… awkward at times. Something I’m still working my way around. For starters, I don’t have the reproductive organs to make a post like this. So thank you for doing it, I don’t mind if I piggyback on yours.

    A few I can think of:
    1. Personal appearance. I suspect economic discrimination plays a role in racism. We dress our son pretty “preppy”/conservative. It makes me sad to type that out but sometimes you have to “play the game”.

    Though IMO Zimmerman was on a child-killing mission and used the hoodie as a lame excuse like the pathetic coward POS he is.

    2. Don’t drive a car you don’t own (or bend rules you can get nailed for). In my early 30s, I was a passenger in my car, which a Black male relative of mine – same age
    – was driving. He was pulled over for DWB, and with the registration in my name… it was a ridiculous effort to convince that redneck moron cop that I wasn’t being abducted (by the legal witness at my wedding!) and that my car was not stolen.

    3. Have a police or attorney friend on speed dial. #2 ended when a Federal Agent relative of mine was called to the scene to set Roscoe P Coltrane straight.

    4. Watch what’s in your hands. Angie Thomas’s “a hairbrush is not a gun” may be fictional, but… it’s realistic fiction.

    5. Watch your language, conversation/ jokes that can be twisted and volume. In public or on social media isn’t where you discuss that “epic” prank is pretty funny.

    • Kelly I’m glad you did find my blog! These are great! It’s sad that we have to think this way and prepare our children for this, but it is what it is. #1 I had not thought about the “personal appearance” since we are both older parents we tend to dress our son “preppy/conservative” anyways. LOL No hanging pants or showing your underwear. #2 The car tips is a good one, I can only imagine what you went through! For #3 hubby and I will have to have find one (police or attorney). #4 is a really good one, too! #5 Yes! I’ll have to stress this one as he gets older. Since young men tend to be loud and play jokes, and use foul language. Thanks so much for piggybacking on my post, and again thanks for stopping by.

  2. I can’t even fathom what every family even with remote African origin is going through in America. I can’t understand why in counties we call “developed” and “civilized” such talk even have to take place! I pray and hope that our children and their children see better future.
    Huge hugs. It is not an easy post to write, mama.

    • Isn’t it crazy that we have to have this type of conversation in this day and age, and where we live!? Thank you for your kind words! Hugs!!

  3. That you need to have this conversation is just heartbreaking. I wish I could say that we are heading in the right direction as a society and that maybe your son won’t have to have those same conversations with his children but I fear that is not the case. We can but hope one day this will be a truth. Hugs.

    • Amanda, it is heartbreaking! We are living in some sad times but as I always say that “hope” is the last thing that we should lose. So I will continue to pray and hope for the best. Hugs!

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