The Talk


If you are a Black man or woman over the age of 30, there is a good chance you have experienced "the talk." I must have been around 13 when my parents had it with me. My parents noticed I was starting to figure out who I was a person and the changes I was going through as teenager. On this particular day I had just got home from the basketball court. My father told me, "Have a seat son. Your mother and I want to talk to you." I was thinking to myself that I hope this isn't about sex again. We had that talk a few year ago.

My mother was present for the talk, but she didn't say too much. My father started off with, "Now son we want you to know that we love you and don't want anything to happen to you. You're at that age now where you're going to be hanging out with your friends and discovering new things. The one thing we want you to discover is that you are a young Black man and could be targeted by the police." I stopped my father right there. "Why would I be targeted by the police dad? I haven't done anything." My father went on to say, "It doesn't matter son. Some people and some police are gong to prejudge you because of the color of your skin. If you ever get stopped by the police, always be polite and say yes sir or ma'am. Never make any sudden movements for your pockets or like you're going to run. Never run whatever you do! If they ever ask you to do anything, do it. If they ask to search you, put your hands in the air, and tell them you would like to speak to your parents."

Unfortunately this is a mandatory conversation many Black parents have had with their Black sons and daughters for decades. Is it right? Yell no. Is it necessary? Hell yes. I pray and hope there will be a time when this talk is unnecessary. From what I observe going on my community today, the talk will not end anytime soon. God have mercy on us all.

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