An African-American father and a black mother explain how they need to warn children about possible violence against them by police or others. This starts at a very young age and continues through young adulthood in a repetitive manner.
It’s called “The Talk” and it happens in every black family with children, says Isaiah Simmons, a father, a minister, and a court bailiff. Simmons has a son and a daughter and also has mentored his teenage nephew and niece.
“The Talk” gives practical tips to young blacks about how to behave if confronted by a police officer or another person in authority, where to put their hands and what to say or not say.
These are not just parental lectures but instead are survival tips delivered by parents so that their children stay alive.
I tell my son that when he goes out …I just want him to come home alive, says Gayle Williams-Byers judge of the South Euclid Municipal Court. Do whatever it takes to comply to protect your life, she says to him. We can work out the other details later, she adds.
However, both Judge Byers and Simmons question whether “The Talk” is even relevant anymore because the level of police violence against blacks does not seem to match any form of aberrant behavior. Blacks can do everything correctly and still be subject to police abuse.
Special instruction for black children starts way before teenage years.
Judge Byers says she started very young with her son and other young relatives to tell them that they unfortunately need to work twice as hard to reach half of the success levels of white culture.
Our culture, still in 2020, is stacked against a black child succeeding at the same level as his/her white counterparts.
The violence and other societal factors place an extra burden on black parents to rear their children safely.