What Do I Tell My Black Son?

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On my way to pick up my son from school, emotionally paralyzed, my mind in a fog, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to tell him that, once again, a Black man’s life wasn’t important enough to charge the officers who savagely killed him, even when the murder was caught on video for the world to see. How will my teenage son respond to this news, only a few days after darren wilson’s tragic non-indictment?  What kind of psychological effect will society’s blatant disregard for Black life have on his self-esteem?

My wife and I have raised our son to be socially-conscious and culturally-aware. We’ve had “the talk” more times than I can count. But is that enough to stop the world from labeling him a “thug” just because he’s Black? He knows how to interact with police to minimize any possible friction, should he ever be randomly stopped. But it’s clear that the police doesn’t always know how to interact with citizens, no matter how harmless they are. But it’s bigger than the cops. My son is painfully aware that the people who make up the grand juries that declined to indict Mike Brown and Eric Garner’s killers aren’t cops but everyday people like teachers, doctors, bus drivers, grocery store workers, housewives, moms, dads, and other common folk. Is his life worth less in the eyes of those ordinary people he interacts with on a daily basis….the same ordinary people whose decision absolved the killers of Black men?

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