Teaching their children how to interact with police is a lesson black parents are often forced to begin with at an early age. Just how those lessons are shared and what the conversations sound like are documented in a new video titled “Black Parents Explain How to Deal with the Police.”
Created by Seattle-based Cut!, the video captures black parents talking to their children about the relationship between police officers and the black community, tactics the kids can use down the line should they engage with officers during a traffic stop and other sentiments that portray part of the loss of innocence young minorities, especially black children, have to face in today’s society. The children featured are of varying ages, from adolescents to teens, which encapsulates how soon in life this form of training tends to start. It may seem extremely early in a few of the kids’ cases, until incidents like 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s murder come to mind.
Then, it’s easier to understand that it’s never early enough to make kids aware how an interaction could turn tragic if they don’t react in ways perceived as threatening. Tears are shed by both the parents and their children as encounters are described where the adults were stopped, questioned and, in one case, tased, all as a reminder of how very real and common the incidents are. They’re happening and they’re probably one wrong verbal response or physical reaction away from becoming another headline in the news.
Towards the end of the clip, one mother tells her daughter “Don’t always assume that all of them are bad.” The daughter’s response captures part of the dark truth of the matter. “But all you see on the news and in newspapers…it keeps happening,” she says. “Just in a different way.”
She continues, “People are like ‘You should forgive so-and-so.’ But they keep doing it to me. I forgave them, but they keep doing it to me. It’s gets harder and harder to forgive them.”
Watch the video above.