What I tell my African American son

My son was locked out of the house yesterday, in the middle of a snowstorm.

He called me at work to ask me to drive home and let him in. None of the neighbors we knew were home, and the neighbors across the street are brand new. So he had nowhere to go.

When I told my co-workers that I was leaving because my son was locked out, one mentioned that they used to climb in a window, or pry the door open with a credit card, when they were locked out.  And my reply was, “I can’t tell my son to do that”.

My son is African-American and he’s fourteen years old.

When we go shopping after school, I tell my son he has to leave his backpack in the car.

When he’s hungry in the grocery store and sees customers eat food they’ve yet to pay for, I tell him he can’t do the same.

When he wants to take a walk past dark with his friends, I tell him “no”.

If he bounces a ball in the sporting goods store, I make him stop.

He’s not allowed to play with guns that aren’t clearly Super Soakers.

If we’re stopped by the police because our headlight is out, I say, “Remember what I taught you.”

Because my son is African American and he’s fourteen years old.

When my son couldn’t get in the house, he walked down the street to the local drugstore, to seek refuge from the relentless snow.

I drove to the drugstore as fast as I could and when I was near, I called to let him know I’d be there soon. I suggested he stay inside until I arrived, but when I got there he was out in the snow.

When he got in the car, shivering and wet, I asked why he didn’t wait inside.

His reply was, “Mom. The people who work there kept staring at me and following me around. It was like they thought I was going to steal something. I felt like I didn’t belong there.  It was awful. And I had no money on me to prove I wasn’t a thief.”

Because my son is African American and he’s fourteen years old, he can’t just be a teenager shopping for acne cream. He has to make a purchase to prove he’s not a thief.

Those who know me will tell you that I’m not one to claim every scuffle with the police is police brutality. And I’m not one who sees racism in every unique article of designer clothing or every news anchor’s slip of the tongue.

But I do remember moving to a nice neighborhood as a child, and being awaken during the night by a cross burning in the front yard and the “N” word carved into the fresh concrete sidewalk that led to our front door.  And I remember the nails in our tires, every morning when mom tried to leave for work.

I remember the neighbors staring at us, like we didn’t belong. And I remember, for our safety, mom told us things that other moms didn’t have to tell their children.

Yes. That was over forty years ago. That was then and this is now.  But just because you’re uncomfortable talking about it, doesn’t mean it no longer exists.

Accept it. Talk about it. Change it. And don’t get caught outside in a snowstorm.

 

Follow me at lovingmiddleagedlife.com

 

186 thoughts on “What I tell my African American son

  1. Tears for our children that in 2019 this is the world that we still live in… 2 months ago my son Face Timed me at 2am stuck on the thruway after running over a deer. The anxiety I felt waiting with him for the police to arrive made me physically nauseous as I fervently prayed that God would send kind officers, no matter their ethnicities, who wouldn’t respond out of fear of a young black male alone on a dark stretch of road in the middle of the night. Thank the Lord for cops that weren’t only kind but also concerned and treated my child with respect and care.

    I’m so sorry for your son’s experience and for the warnings you’ve had to give him in preparation for this world we live in. We have to pray as parents, a community, and a nation for better days ahead.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Yes. Prayers for better days ahead. We must continue the conversation. This topic is uncomfortable for people to talk about. But this conversation is prompting folks to get out of their comfort zones. I’m glad this article has enlightened many people who didn’t realize that this was our reality.

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      1. I thank you for continuing to teach – and wanted to share something of my own experience of being the “other” for a time. I am a white, educated, middle class woman, but lived for 3 years in another country where I was not wanted. This is not the same as being a Black American in America, but it taught me how it feels to be seen as “other” and always feeling that I was being watched. It helped me to be less quick to make judgments about people that I don’t know. My hope is that your son will not have to teach his child the same lessons you had to teach him.

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    2. This part of the Black experience that white people cannot relate to because this is not what they experience. They do not have to say these things or even give racism and harassment by law enforcement a moments thought. Every day we hear a horrific example of a racist and senseless act. Today l heard about a Black man being harrassed and questioned who was picking up trash in front of his own house. Who picks up trash in front of anyone elses house except someone who either lives there or works there. Before it was all said and done there were seven officers there harassing him! This does not happen to white people, nor should it. It’s a d____ shame we have to have this conversation in order to protect our children, especially our Black boys.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Unfortunately my son deals with this too. He is white. Most of his friends are black. Some of the best kids that I have ever known. A few weeks ago he ran into one of his friends at the store and the guy came up to his window when he pulled in to talk to him and all the sudden the cops pulled up behind his truck and he was told to get out and was face down on the ground. They thought that it was a drug deal. In the end, he was let go because he was just going to the store and ran into a friend, no drugs involved. It really makes me angry!! I don’t understand why people have to judge.

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      2. Hi Carlene,
        I am white, my son’ father was black… as a white woman in her 40’s I absolutly CAN say that I have dealt with racism. And yes… personally… directed at me… I was called a Wigger by his family, I was confronted and accused of stealing “our good men”, his black friends would comment about how easy I must be to control… We’d be out and about and I’d get blatant started downs by black women… I generally was treated like a second class citizen… not only by his family but at the time of my son’s birth we were living in Georgia. We were walking down the street one day, my 3 week old in a stroller and him and I holding hands and a teen screamed out the window, “n***** lover!”…
        Racism hits home no matter what your skin color. I find if you’re not part of the crowd as a white person, you are sometimes lesser in a racists eyes.

        My son is now 11. We role play. I pretend to be the racist, the angry police officer, the horrible teacher, the white Librarian, the store owner… if you ask my son what I’ve told him t ok say if he is ever arrested he will just start repeating like a robot… “I want an attorney, I want to see my mom…. I want an attorney, I want to see my mom….”

        It’s a very scary world for a child of any color… and it’s scary for their parents… even if they’re white…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was totally ignorant of this… even when we adopted my son. When he was little, everyone gushed over him, even as an elementary aged child – but of course most of the time we were with him. About the time he became a teen, the Trayvon Martin incident occurred and I was stunned. We lived on a US Base overseas that is quite isolated and very diverse; everyone knows everyone. Luckily, I had friends I could talk with and I learned that unlike my white peers, I had to have two ‘talks’ with my son… the sex one I expected, and the hoodie/cop/etc. one I had never dreamed of.

        Now I am training to be a middle school teacher, and at the school where I student teach there is a large AA population. My mentor recently said that the boys ‘just don’t understand’ why they can’t wear their hoods in school – that they don’t realize that it’s for their safety (so they can be identified if there is an outside threat in the school). I couldn’t help but think that every one of those boys has been told by their parents about walking around in their hoods, but likely feel that they are ‘safe’ in school since we know them.

        It tears me apart. I admit, white people have no idea; I was one of them; I am still one of them in that I only know what I have learned to protect my son (and my daughter, who is two different ethnicities). As I began to realize some of the things that were going on in my lifetime, when I was in high school, much less now, it infuriates me because I thought things were getting better – it just seems that some people just find other ways to hide their hate.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. As a white person, it is hard for me to relate to the black experience, especially when it comes to the police. I think we (society) are all suffering from the remnants of the civil war, and especially The Fugitive Slave Acts. We may not think about these old, outdated laws anymore, but they still have an effect on the way black people feel “hunted” by society. The “bounty” that was put on black folk who managed to flee the south and live free in the north, encouraged the ever present anxiety and fear that black folk dread with every encounter with the police. Despite the great efforts that have been made over that time, 150 years and 6 or 7 generations do not erase the trauma of being hunted in your own country. The Underground Railroad is hailed as a great thing (and it was), but what the history books don’t tell you is the hushed words that were told to every runaway slave who made it to the North- the admonitions – “keep your head down, stay out of trouble, don’t make noise, be invisible, don’t call attention to yourself, the bounty hunters are everywhere, your master has people on the lookout for you” That constant looking over your shoulder is traumatic and is woven into the story of every person who has descended from a slave. Parents of young black men are still saying almost the same things to their children 150 years later – again for their own protection.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are absolutely right. I stood up at City Hall and said this, last night. I never feared for my son’s safety, because he is white. It’s a disgrace and time we advocated and stood up for and with our black community. I am an Allie.
        Roselle

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    3. Young black males have a fascination with guns and have been known to use them for very little reasons. We are bombarded with this information day in and day out on the news I expect to be seeing another one of these stories in the next day or two. What is wanting to be safe and what is just pure prejudice it’s a hard Thing 2 not be cautious don’t be insulted

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      1. Young white males have a fascination with guns and have used them to kill innocent school kids at Sandy Hook, 9 innocent people at a bible study class, innocent students at Columbine, innocent students at Parkland, innocent worshippers in Texas…Need I go on??? Who should we really fear? Don’t insult me!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Its people like you that make it a necessity to STILL have these conversations with young African American boys even in 2019. You need a wake-up call because your “statistics” are wrong and sound like nothing more than your personal ignorant opinion. I pray you see the light one day soon.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. What are you talking about? Do u know ALL the young black males in amerikkka to make such a broad allegation? You and that comment is why this is the world we live in. Youre part of the problem.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Young males of every culture have a fascination with guns. Don’t use the one sided news media lies to justify your fear of brown skin. You have had countless examples of how having black skin and doing mundane tasks get you killed, yet Dillan terrorized a church and no one feared for their lives while detaining him. Get to know black youth and you’ll find that they’re great people.

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      5. Actually sir they are not fascinated by guns. They are not handed a gun as a toddler instead of a Tonka Truck or ball. As a matter of fact it more likely that you will find boys of other nationalities who fit your statement better. In the rural south it is a rite of passage to teach young white boys to shoot guns often before they can read. The news media often perpetuates this myth. However it is up to rational adults to research fact over falsity and not just accept an incident as an inditement for an entire group of people. I live in South Los Angeles and of the hundred or more of the black boys I know, NONE own or play with GUNS. But 80% have been stopped for being black in America.

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      6. I noticed a few errors in your comment so allow me to make some corrections.

        Young white males have a fascination with guns (and explosives, too) and have been known to use them for very little reasons (except maybe to shoot up a school [elementary, high, college, university], movie theater, church, synagogue, Sikh temple, Planned Parenthood, country music festival, bar, federal building). We’re bombarded with this information day in and day out on the news. I expect to be seeing another one of these stories in the next day or two. What is wanting to be safe and what is just pure prejudice? It’s a hard thing to not be cautious. Don’t be insulted.

        But people feel threatened by 14 year old UNARMED Black boys….oh okay.

        Liked by 17 people

      7. That is just plain incorrect. If anything, it is white males who have a fascination with guns (witness who the mass shooters in this country are) – but we acknowledge that it is inappropriate to make judgments about them on the basis of their race. Why is it that this falls apart when the subject is black men? Using anecdotal information to justify racism is unacceptable.

        Liked by 4 people

      8. I’m amazed that you haven’t noticed or mentioned the mass shootings in this country (98% of the shooters were white males) but seem to notice the lone black unarmed male child. How sad!

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      9. You obviously are going by the media or hearsay. Black males are no more interested than other males and working in a detention center there was just as many white kids doing the same or worse crime but they didn’t get the same punishment. I’ve also seen white kids stealing but the police was not called. If everyone got the same consequences you’d probably feel a little different.

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      10. This man (and those who think like him) is clearly “”the problem” in American society. Singling out a race because of your discomfort and fear blinds you from the reality of injustice and the truth that white boys have done more mass killing on American soil ! Shouldn’t we have more saftey concerns about their “gun fascination”?

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      11. The medical is in the business of Fear Mongering for ratings. Don’t be so easily LED. Get out. Meet some Black people. You’d be surprised at how wrong you are..

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      12. Are you serious? Young and old white men are fascinated with guns and killing people just because no one likes them. Please educate yourself before saying something dumb ever again. If you knew anything you would know that the behavior of the black man is what was taught from years of Slavery. You would aldo know black people don’t just kill random white people.

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      13. Garry,
        Please research first how your own government now admits it purposely flooded the black community with guns and drugs. Look up the government documents themselves. This is the same government who now admits they conspired to have Martin Luther King Jr killed. Look up court the court case that was quietly buried by mainstream media. There has been a concentrated effort to destroy the black community for many years. Don’t add insult to injury.

        Liked by 2 people

      14. Young white Male also have a fascination with guns to the point where they want to shoot up students in schools and they don’t go after enemies or foes they go after innocent babies and children and their mission is to kill as many as possible. These young white males.

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      15. Oh my gosh… Its so sad to read the nonsense you just expressed. I hope when you meet your maker your not judged for what’s in your heart. Young black boys do not have fascination with guns! Mass shootings in America, in schools, churches, places of employment and entertainment have been done by young caucasian males. Let’s not get into this topic because you are very misinform and uneducated on the issue.

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      16. So young white men use guns for better reasons and have no fascination with them, is that what you are attempting to convey Gary because it sounds very biased and completely uninformed. I have to teach my sons and daughter how to navigate a world that has a separate set of rules for them because they are black and it isn’t the we walk a different path set of rules its the this will save your life one day set of rules because like it or not WE ARE JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF OUR SKIN AND NOT THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER to paraphrase Dr. King and don’t think I’m some militant Malcolm X type I was raised and raise my children with the Golden Rule as the foundation of everything because respect can only be given when you have self respect. Have a blessed rest of your life and remember what my favorite rapper said:
        Love all
        Trust a few
        Do wrong to none (Actually it was William Shakespeare lol feel free to fact check me)

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Your statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. It is the reason why these conversations have to be held. I grew up with 4 brothers and many male cousins. None of them are fascinated with guns, drugs or the stereotypical norms. I recall in high school, after a formal dance, the guy I dated and a friends were pulled and detained after dropping myself and the other young lady off. They were in tuxedos and asked to kneel in snow for 10 minutes, before being told that they fit the description of robbery suspects. Ridiculous! Who robs someone on a tuxedo??? The stereotypes don’t define an entire population/race of people. The dialogue between races need to be opened up to shoot down misconceptions.

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      18. Well—if anyone wanted to suggest that racism isn’t as bad as the article suggests, you shot them down with your comment. Take the time to get information beyond the stereotypes you are presented on TV.! Young black males have a fascination with guns?? My son is white and goes to a school that is predominantly white. I can’t even tell you how many of the 13/14 year old white make students are “fascinated with guns” and collect them, and post photos of gun collections. It’s a lot! Do you realize how many mass shootings at schools are perpetrated by white male students??

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I am the white mother of a Latino teen. A 6’2″, 290lb, size 15 shoe wearing, muscle bound, intimidating-looking, soft-hearted teddy-bear of a teen. We face the same issues, along with the assumption he’s not legally entitled to be here. His father is from Guatemala, and when we last renewed his green card, the local ICE office recommended my son always carry a copy of his birth certificate as proof of citizenship. It’s on his phone, and a copy is in his car alongside his registration and proof of insurance.

        When he was 12 years old, my African-American police officer neighbor saw my son walking home from school on a blustery spring day with his hood up on his hoodie. He called me and said “He can’t do that!”. I’d told him that repeatedly, but he was 12 and cold. My black cop neighbor had a “come to Jesus” conversation that day with my son about the harsh realities of life as a black or brown man. Only a few of my white-parent peers acknowledge this is a reality of life; the ones that do, get it because they have black or brown sons themselves.

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      2. My husband and I became parents by adoption. The first child we were blessed with happened to be African American. The fact that young men of colour need different rules simply to survive is horrific.

        I live in fear of my son being involved in a traffic stop. He is a careful driver, but everyone makes mistakes. He is very polite, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve told him to dial me as soon as he can, or ask the officer to dial ‘Mom’ on his phone… but the officer won’t be able to see me, so I won’t be able to offer my shield.

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    4. This is a great read. A sad reality, but it is our reality. I have 2 Black boys, so I am very familiar with the messaging. Thank you for sharing this.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. As an African that has resided in the USA for31 years. I have a piece of advice for you, pls take your son to Africa, specifically Ghana. It is life changing to visit a place where you are treated as the king you are

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    6. This is infuriating, and you know something? As bad as black men have it, similar crap happens to black women. We have GOT to do more than pray; that activity hasn’t changed anything for over 400 years since we, as a people, were forced to practice Christianity. Way more needs to be done, and it starts at your local-level. One day, people will understand that God gave everybody free-will, and laws were supposed to be created to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. The Civil Rights Era made a blip on the face of the Earth, I grew up in that era, and “We shall overcome” was a mistake that even Dr. King admitted he made. There’s a time to pray, a time to fight, and both are clearly needed. Fight intelligently, because the other side does not play anything fairly … not at all!

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    7. I’ve left several comments that are still awaiting approval. Is it because I didn’t reply to the OP? You are 100% on the money, ma’am! Whoever is arguing about these things is fragile and probably should keep educating themselves about the Black plight! I’ve experienced racism all of the years I can remember, and it is systemic. Just because something didn’t happen last week, doesn’t mean it won’t happen next week. The struggle is REAL!

      Liked by 1 person

    8. And, whoops, I changed my name. It was DaFox45! Never thought I’d live long enough to see Jim Crow raise its ugly head again … without one single law being passed. Overt & covert racism abounds, and I’m just about beside myself. I was born in the 1950’s, experienced some of Jim Crow, and dammit if this crap isn’t happening again … just from different angles.

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  2. Unfortunately this is still so true and very relevant today as peoples prejudice has become more rampant under Trumps administration and our police and judges still practice racism and turn the other way by blatantly letting off offenders who do hate crimes and spread racist propaganda

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    1. Some Caucasians I know say them and their children don’t see color… I think to myself that’s exactly the problem– you should see color then you might raise awareness about why it’s fair.
      SMH!

      “Judge a person by the CONTENT of CHARACTER is not known just by looking at RANDOM people in the streets, neighborhoods, stores, parks etc… That’s why I don’t agree with that cliche!” REALTALK101BYJBONTZ

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    2. Donna,
      Lumping ALL police officers and judges into the same category, is just as wrong as lumping ALL black men into the same category. The are some bad apples in each category, but also some very, very good men in each category.

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  3. I had a incident with my son he was 9 he’s 37 now, he at his best friend camron who’s White his family had company came over so my son was asked to leave because he’s their visitor didn’t like blacks.my son walk into the door I saw this look in his eyes of hurt and he explained to me what happened. I was on fire I was going to go to this house let them know how I felt but before I could put my shoes on camron and his parents was at my door, I open the door with anger and the little white boy said my parents made our guests leave. Can lil Melvin go eat with us I said yes. Thank God I couldn’t find my shoe but they grew up Besttie

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thankfully Cameron’s parents are teaching him the correct way to treat others by showing their racist guests to the door. Too bad they didn’t do it before they made him go home.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Before I finished your comment I thought, ‘if only the family had done the right thing’…and they did! Thank you for sharing. JN

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    3. I understand how you feel. I have a son though he is older but, we still have these same conversations. I really worry about him when he is out. I am so sorry our children cannot enjoy the life their forefathers worked and died for. They deserve the same pleasures that others their age enjoy.
      In a courtroom you see the drunk and driving young people get community service while they want to put our babies in jail. We went down to just sit in a court room to see how it was done. I wasn’t suprise but he could not believe it.
      He was 16 at the time but it was truly an eye opener for him. He realized he was not equal to them, inspite of all his so call friends, not like himself.
      It’s not fair. We can only pray for our children and children old and young every where.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Im disgusted that this world is the way it is. I don’t pray often for it to be better because I know all the prayers from this earth won’t change God’s plans for us. Sad but true

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  5. My son is 26 years old. He is an adult. Yet, I worry more about his safety, now, than ever before! Will he get to live out his life in the way he’s planning? Will he get to start his business? Will he get to have the family; with wife and kids, as his older siblings have done? I worry more with every broadcast!
    I love my son very much and I tell him every chance I get!

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    1. I’m here with you. All 3 of my sons are adults, but the mere fact that they are Black makes me worry even moreso. My middle son is always fussing at me because I always tell him to find out where his younger brother is and let me know if he’s okay. I always tell him that I’m his mother and I don’t want to go through grief and tears. I already know that all of my 5 children have I don’t know how many strikes against them just because of the melanin in their skin. I’m so appalled by this and this is the 21st century and we’re one of the richest nations on the globe.

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      1. I agree, being a mom of two adult men i am always worried about their safety from these sick evil racist.
        2019 we shouldn’t have to feel as if we are in 1865.

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  6. 24 Year Old African American College Student here.

    I feel like that author is almost imposing the racism on themselves. I’ve done everything they said they told their son not to do and never gotten ‘in trouble’ or anything that would result from racist assumptions.

    I feel like this person concern comes from a good place, but is incredibly outdated. If they tell their son every day “Don’t do X because if Y person is racist Z bad thing happens”, its obviously out of love and concern, but if you repeat that day after day after day, and their son never actually challenges it, then they never find out that the world is far less racist now than it was previously, or that the fear was even wrong when it was initially brought about and they just lived in a racist area or delt with a rare but possible spacing of racist individuals. If they never challenge it for fear of repercussion then they can keep complaining about how racist everything is without evidence that t actually remains that way (which it obviously isn’t anymore.) I doubt few people WANT to believe the world is racist, but there are some that are becoming more vocal in the last few years that ENJOY being ‘oppressed’. I think its more likely that this person’s good intention and fear of past issues they faced prevents them from seeing how things are currently.

    The long and short of what I’m saying, I believe the person concern is real, they are worried for their son. But I believe in being overprotective, they are warning him against previous issues that are no longer relevant. They assume the world is racist and act under the assumption that it is, and when they follow the beaten path from back when people were racist, they never step off the trail and see that things have actually changed from when they did need to worry about doing the things they listed in the article.

    Your concern may be justified to you because you lived in a time when it was prevalent. But as someone raised in a more recent generation, a ‘fresh perspective’ as one may put it, I don’t think its an issue anymore. I understand your concern based on what you went through in the past, but that’s just not how it is anymore.

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    1. Young man, If this is how you feel then good for you. But as a son, brother, father, and grandfather who is highly educated it happens more than you think. It happens in Maine to California. Just be prepared for when it happens

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      1. Your spot on in your message ,but ,,,,,,you used the word racism for the definition of prejudiced in one example.,Very good for the most part.ĺ

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      2. I’m sure that there are issues still in the world. These were issues in the bible with Egyptians and Hebrews. But let me share my own story.
        I grew up in Detroit. 98% of my school was not white. I look white. I’m actually native american but my grandmother was taken and put in an orphanage as a child, labeled white. So here I am in Detroit, every single day my older brother and I were bullied, beat up, called names, shot at with bb guns BECAUSE we were white. It was a predominantly black neighborhood. I REALLY crushed on my neighbor Phillip, I remember him to this day, he couldnt be my boyfriend. HIS family would not allow it! Come on now! If people would just look in the mirror long and hard it’s YOU, it’s ME, it’s every single act of poverty, anger, brainwashing & mindset. It’s what we tell our children! Don’t do that because this will happen. Are we REALLY certain that WILL happen? I could NOT EVER walk the streets at night EVER. Because I was a white girl. Always bullied, always attacked. Don’t fool our own selves into believing. Belief is such a powerful thing. my kids had NO IDEA my cousins are black. None! For many years, Because I never say, this is your uncle and hes black, this is your cousin, shes black, oh by the way your other cousin is korean. They only see people when that is what we teach.

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      1. Young man this may be true in your circle and limited life experience but as a 54 yr old Black male who has lived/worked in many states and circles,it is waaaaay more perverlent than you can imagine.

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    2. I hear your perspective and I’m glad you haven’t had any trouble. Maybe the world isn’t racist anymore, but the problem is you can’t really afford to be wrong.

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    3. YOU are crazy. My son was 16 years old – just a few years ago and was locked out. Climbing into his bedroom window was HIS logical choice. I gasped, and broke into tears as I heard his voicemail explaining what he’s about to do and that he will call me once he is in.
      Baby, these SUBURBAN STREETS are real!! Your neighbor only recognizes you when you are standing at the mailbox or watering your grass.
      The moment you pass each other at the grocery store or street – you are no different than that black person with the saggy pants and hoodie on.

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      1. #ActualFacts

        That child comment^^^ up there is delusional. My son’s only 9 and experiences racism…
        The ONLY time PEOPLE remember him is when he’s playing basketball… “That’s the boy that played with the”pink sneakers.” (Yes he’s different and a great player)… But off the court many parents would have a view of him that they should be ashamed of!
        Other times people are just envious of his abilities even though they fail to realize he performs that way because of hard work, consistency, and perseverance (all things PEOPLE don’t see it know), and a dedicated mother to make sure he gets to WHERE he desires to be in life on and off the court! But all the same fears this mom has, I have! It doesn’t matter how successful he is; people will almost ALWAYS remember his skin color first!

        So we must teach our CHILDREN that they can not get AWAY with what others get away with, nor should they DESIRE to act in any unrighteous way in the first place! #StayFocused

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    4. You call this mother overprotective, but I think a more correct view is that you are overprotected. I am glad that this has never happened to you, but it is disingenuous/ignorant on your part to believe that your positive experience is universal. You must remember as a young college student, your range of experience is rather limited – limited by location, socio-economic factors, and mostly just time. That you think that her concerns are from another era is dangerously naive, since every study out there shows that black people, and young black men are more often stopped, search, charged and prosecuted than whites for the same offense; that deadly force is used more often against them, that they are more often perceived as dangerous. Her concerns are not outdated; not only the details of her son’s experience, but the data clearly shows that they are accurate. You may hope and wish that it were different, but the facts show otherwise. You put yourself in harms way by not at least accepting that there may be some basis in truth it her concern.

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    5. Tanner C. You might be a college student but you are dumb and dumber. As a 69 year old Black great grandmother. I grew up in Virginia and the racism against Blacks is more relevant now in our lives. At least we knew if he stepped out of line with the White man, we would be hung. Now we get shot. What world are you living in with Rose colored glasses. Just because you can now date white girls,does not change the issues at hand.

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      1. Mrs. Fleming, calling this young person dumb and dumber is unnecessary. His experiences today are totally different than what you have experienced. Instead of insulting him, it would be good to explain (not preach) what it’s been like for you. He will learn the harsh realities of being young and Black in this country. He needs the guidance of those before him. Don’t know why you brought up dating White women in the comment. There was no mention of that in his comments. By the way, I’m 72 years old and have been and will continue to be there for my children’s guidance and help till the day I die, even though they are adults now.

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      2. You better tell him!!!!
        I believe that’s y he made that comment.
        He is dating a white female or male.

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    6. To the young man that believes this story is outdated. Your eality is not everyone’s reality. Black men are being killed today in 2019 for every thing listed in the article. We must pay attention and be careful while at the same time fight against brutality and inequality. The article is outdated until it happens to someone you know.

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    7. It’s refreshing that you think this way. And it’s great that you have never been in situations that have caused you to see different. But you’re being naive. I’m a mother of 4 Black sons ;the oldest 26 the youngest 7. And we have encountered situations that would make you think it was 1960 not 2019. From my oldest being racially profiled ,to my younger sons being called the n-word. So while you may not have had this experience it doesn’t mean others haven’t or it doesn’t exist. Be open to others experiences and listen. The world is bigger than just what you see and experience. This is how we grow and learn. By talking ,listening and being open to others.

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    8. My instincts tell me that the first few words are not true. I know we are not all monolithic but my intuition tells me that this is not a 24 year old African Americaniui

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      1. I absolutely agree, that was my first thought as well. Even the most sheltered black person emersed in white society can’t deny racism and prejudices still exist and are prevalent today. If so, it’s their denial, not the lack of experiencing it, they just didn’t realize they had experienced it.

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    9. I’m glad that you feel that you don’t have anything to worry about; however, as a mother of two young men it is still prevalent. I remember talking to my now 22 year old and he told me some of the same things that you mentioned here; however, after a while he started seeing things for himself more and more. One of his good friends felt the same way until being stopped while driving several times for no reason other than being a young black man. This has happened from MD to Kansas to Illinois to Georgia. My youngest son is 14 and we have these same conversations. I have to remind him that although we live in a very diverse neighborhood, he can’t do some of the same teenage stuff as his peers without being looked upon differently. Is it being overprotective no, he’s still able to go out and do things however, I do take extra precaution. I worry about my sons, my brother and all young black boys and girls.

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    10. I question your your maturity, at 24 years of age you should be more aware, if only for your own mental and physical safety. I question it to a point, that I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a white person posing as a black person.

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    11. Oh noooooooooooo. Young-blood, you must be watching the wrong news channels, because things have NOT changed. I’ve had things happen in my youth to things that happened just last year, and I guess you missed this as well:

      You will only understand what is going on TODAY, when this hits you personally. Not sure why a bunch of young people are always claiming racism is outdated. Perhaps they’re all trolls or something, because the very same thing that was happening in the 1960’s is a modernized version today. What was happening back then was just the tail end of people being fed-up from over 300 years of this. Unknown history leaves people thinking like this; what you learned in school wasn’t even close to what really happened, and if you don’t understand history, it will repeat itself. Forget ‘will”, it IS repeating itself.

      I’m living to see Jim Crow rise again, but then, I experienced it. You didn’t. So, you know not which you speak here; not experientially. No, this mother is not being over-protective; her son was followed all over a store trying to escape a snow-storm, and that happened presently not in the distant past.

      Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt!

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    12. Tanner C…I believe it depends on where you live, I mean what city. There are some cities where racism is much more prevalent than others. I live in a city with numerous military bases. In the military community racism is less prevalent. It still exists in some people but the military is more diverse. You cannot apply the same standard in all cities across the nation. I am a white woman married to a black man. My husband gets along with everyone. He was raised in Florida and has lived in Atlanta Ga and Alabama. He’s respected and loved by nearly everyone he meets. We both know there are places where racism is alive, but we are blessed to live in a military community where, for the most part, we feel safe.

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    13. I know you mean well, but you are definitely either living in a silo, in denial, or flat-out delusional to speak of violent racism against innocent Black people as something of the past with there is abundant evidence to the contrary. Where in the world have you been, man?

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    14. My heart almost jumped out of chest when I read your comment. Our poor baby (you are a baby to me). I’m glad you have not had to experience the terrible things this world can offer but I beg you not to be disillusioned. You do what the hell we say if you ever are pulled over or stopped on the street. You keep your hands in plain sight. You follow their commands and you go make it home to your parents. Try watching the news; our young men are dying out here at the hands of those sworn to protect them. Take those rose colored glasses off and live young man. Please.

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    15. Tanner, what world are you living in. Not only do we have to educate our sons, grandsons and great grandsons. Yes must educate them on what to do if being stopped, have $ when you go into a store, amongst many other instances they may face. Unfortunately, this the world in which we live. Purchased life insurance polices on my sons for safety sake. Take a walk in our shoes, then perhaps you will understand.

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    16. Venture outside your own neighborhood. I fear for my son’s and grandson all the time. Have they been targeted with racism? You bet they have! Have they had non racist situations? You bet they have! Just because it hasn’t happened to you or you have so blinded, that you didn’t recognize it when you saw it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! As the old folks say. Just keep on living!

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    17. Although it is sad to have ask this maturity is a 14 year old, I was hoping the young man could simply state his plight to the store owner and be offered refuge by him/her. Decency and empathy often help people rise above institutional racism and prejudice. That is my experience and hope. Individuals make a difference.

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    18. Well young man good for you. I’m chucking just a little bit. My 37 year old daughter felt the same way when I used to tell her she will face it one day. When it happened she was stunned, upset and then absolutely furious. I’ll tell you the same thing … just wait, live a little bit longer, you won’t understand when it comes out of nowhere, but you will have your personal experience and I hope you remember your statement

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    19. Excellent and honest statement. Your experiences in current times gives hope to those who did not have such experiences. Thank you for sharing your truth and in questioning the racism this reveals.

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    20. It is still like that! I am Hispanic but very fair skinned. I have experienced very little prejudice in my own life time. I am well educated, middle class and have given it very little thought until about 2 years ago. I married a very dark skinned man and gained a very dark skinned, teenaged step son. We left our home together one day, headed to a restaurant to celebrate his little sisters birthday. I was walking ahead because he had stopped to talk to an acquaintance. About 2 blocks from our apartment, a police car pulled up along side him. The doors flew open, the officers stepped out, briskly, with purpose. Without saying a word, my stepson knew to back up against the wall. When I realized what was happening and tried to get close to my son, one officer blocked me while the other patted him down. I was furious, how dare they. My son called out to me that it was alright. It was one of the most frightening experiences and yet to my son it was common place. He hadnt done anything. When they were finished one if the officers haphazardly stated that they were looking for someone that looked like him. There was no respect, very little explanation and certainly no apology for targeting my son and terrifying me and my 10 year old daughter. Worst of all was that my son just thought that it was ok, he knew how to handle it

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    21. I am a white mother married to a black man and we have mixed children. I am so glad at 24 years old you have not felt this racism and discrimination but I even white as I am can assure you that racism is alive and well. My husband and I get stared at, ignored at customer service counters in favor of all white families, I get asked outright if I am sure my youngest, who has light hair and blue eyes is really my husbands daughter. People would never think to ask an all white family with brown hair to explain who fathered their blonde daughter. My husband gets stopped frequently for things that I have never been stopped for. He has an ingrained anxiety when cops are around where I love getting stopped so I have the opportunity to thank a cop for their service. My first instinct is to call 911 if there’s a problem and he hesitates and thinks how it will look from an officers perspective. Racism may not be as overt as it once was but it’s still there and I don’t fault a mother or father cautioning their black sons to stay safe and be cautious and be respectful. Police and society will automatically take the things they are shown regularly and use that information to judge people they see in the community. So the more news and movies and TV shows we get out there depicting good things happening to all races and the more intermingled the world becomes the less fear and prejudice we will see. We are far from being free of racism I can promise you that.

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    22. I am white and a senior citizen, but I raised my son in those rather predjudiced times. I use to tell my son the same thing. ALL people fear young, strong men, black or white. If there is a possibility that a young, strong man might be dangerous in some way, people are on their guard. I’m sure it’s worse for black kids, but white kids have to be careful as well. My son was stopped by the police three times in one night. He was polite and respectful even though they shoved him up against his car and frisked him without giving a reason. I was shocked and angry for him. He was angry too, but remained respectful towards the officers. I went to my local police station the next day to complain. The desk sergeant explained that an officer had been by shot by “a young, white male” around my son’s age. The officer remembered my son from PAL football and was surprised at the treatment from the police. He said it was lucky my son behaved the way he did because there were a lot of hot tempers that night. Black, brown yellow or white, young males need to be respectful and calm when dealing with those in authority.

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    23. You sir have not lived long enough. My African American son is 38 years old. His wife is a state delegate. He has three handsome boys. He works hard to support his family. I worry about him daily when he is traveling in his community. He’s 6 feet 5 inches, with shoulder length dress. He coaches sports at the high school and works at the shelter. He’s always one bad traffic stop gone wrong from becoming a statistic. Everything he’s done prior to that will have no baring on how he’ll be treated. I know he will have to remain humble in embarrassing and sometimes humiliating experiences to ensure that he gets to come home to his family.

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    24. When my son was 9yrs old he was in a school for gifted children. One day some people from the school came to my house to offer a proposition. The proposition was that if I allowed him to go to a boarding school that they sponsored, they could guarantee that he would attend an Ivy league college upon graduation. After careful consideration I turned them down. Well there’s no need to tell you that they looked at me like I had two heads and exclaimed “Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this great opportunity ?” I simply said “You can’t teach him how to be a black man in America”. I still believe that I did the best for him as a parent. As a response to your assumption that racism doesn’t exist in this day and age, and we’re making these statements based on the past, I’ll have you know that this was in the mid 80’s. If you haven’t encountered it yet, live a little you will.

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  7. I am a 61 year old women and this breaks my heart….If someone is nice then what difference does color make, I sometimes wonder what would happen if a racist white person showed up at the pearly gates to find that God is black…. something to think about……

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    1. My son, white, best friend growing up in grade school was black. We love his parents. This was a small college town. My husband’s a police officer. Then he joined the state police-crime scime officer. We moved away closer to the city. When my son a freshman then was in football practice during the summer was on break. A black kid came up to my son and demanded his fries. My son said no. The kid said give me your fries. My son again said no. A another kid was sitting with my son and he said here take my fries. So the black kid took the white kids fries laughed and said never trust a black man then walked out. On graduation night that black kid murder an elderly white woman who he knew because she ask them to turn the music down it was late. My husband did the crime scene and the black kid was arrested. When my son found out about it several days later he told his dad and me that this kid had bothered him and some of his friends almost everyday all four years of high school. His dad ask him why he didn’t he come to him for help or advice. Our son said around here dad we don’t let people know that our dads a cop. Besides you always said if we can’t work it or the school can’t work it out then come to you. I had it under control. My son still had some black friends and they knew about this black kid and he was bad news. So ma’am it’s not just the whites who starts things. This kid plus his friends stirred lots of problems and now they’re paying for it for life. Sad.

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      1. What does this have to do with anything or this topic? Yes, there’s a lot of crime for a lot of reasons, and wypipo are still the main serial killers in AmeriKKKa! Kids in school bully others, which is old news. Still has nothing to do with the fact that white kids don’t fear for their lives everyday, nor do you have to have the “talk” with them about how the pohleece (and crazy citizens) treat black boys/men! You people aren’t being exterminated because you are white. SMFH

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      2. Just as you see this man behavior as connect to him being Black, and lack the education to see that him being black has nothing to do with this, when I see you and your husband, I pray that God will protect my son and myself from your whiteness, if it was about who murders the most people in the world, who harms the most people in the world. Blacks are not more criminal, if you put more police in the Black communities you will get more black criminals, if not for racism, there will be way more white criminals way more!!! But the system lies and says because Blacks are more criminal lets put the police there and use media to tell the people it is these people that are the problem so the justice systems will not believe them over us. Old trick, but well used and now clearly, have tricked the ignorant.

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    1. Yes all parents should teach there children about safety and make them aware. The difference is, you aren’t seen as a threat. People don’t “fear” for their lives when they see you.

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  8. I totally understand this article. Eversince my sons were 9, I stopped buying them hoodies. I remember a day my 10 year old was running ahead of us on the sidewalk so he could hide in the bushes and jump out to play with his 6 year old sister as we approached. I stopped him and had to tell him how other people would think he was hiding behind the bushes to rob them. If one one them had a gun they would take the act to shoot him without looking at his face but only his color.He really didn’t understand. But, he never did it again. Also, around the age of 8-9 that’s when police officers stop saying hi to them in the street, at the stores, at the mall, at entertainment events.

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  9. I am just curious but shouldn’t a fourteen year old have a key to his house and shouldn’t he have a little change in his pocket? He appeared to be rather naked out in public. My intent is not to be critical but only to understand. Perhaps I’m missing something.

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    1. I have a 16 yr old whose lost three keys to our home. Now, he sits on the porch until I arrive home from work. Lucky for him we don’t live in the northern states, so he doesn’t have to worry about the cold. Additionally, he’s given money each Sunday night for the week. Most times he’s broke by Wednesday.
      Sometimes teenagers are irresponsible, but they shouldn’t have to fear racially backed consequences as a result of being an irresponsible teen.

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      1. Morgan, well written and it’s true. My husband is white and I’m African American and our son is 13 and brown. My husband have to teach him the do’s and don’t of the times we live in. We live in a pretty decent area in Florida but my husband and I have to think out everything when it comes to our son. He’s already 5’9 and looking way older than 13 so we always caution him about his movements and being aware of his surroundings. Always reminding him that he cannot do as others and to think before he reacts to anything. Sometimes it feels scary but we trust God and we stay sharp..

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    2. I guess he should, but he didn’t. He’s a kid. I’ve locked myself out my house before without my wallet, and I’m a 41 year old man. He was locked out. It happens.

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    3. He was locked out. Clearly that means he had a key, but couldn’t access it – lost it, misplaced it, left it, broke it, couldn’t work it, etc.. It happens to us all. What you’re missing is that a small mistake or accident can turn into something deadly. The point is that small issues like this become major issues of safety for a black child.

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    4. Beware of the instinct to blame the victim, Dave. Please sit with the story, which is the author’s real feelings and experience instead.

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    5. Yes. You are missing something. He got locked out. Which could mean as a fourteen year old boy, he lost his keys or left them somewhere.

      He was coming home from school, he probably spent his money during the day.

      Lastly, he’s FOURTEEN years old, not 40. Obviously you don’t have kids, especially boys!

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    6. My 16 year old has a key, but my 13 year old doesn’t, becasue she’s lost two already. Neither of them EVER carry money unless there’s something specific they are planning to buy.

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  10. Unfortunately this is a conversation we need to have with our children. Not talking about it because others are uncomfortable does not make it any less real. I worry about my husband and stepson who is 17. I am 8 months pregnant with a girl and I will need to have the same conversation with her because the issue just doesn’t stop with our young men and boys. I pray for better days as well.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this experience. I am the mother of a 22 year old biracial son. We live in a small town rural community. It is a great place to work and raise a family but it is not diverse. Even though our family is well known in the community, I had to have conversations with him when he was younger about some of the situations you spoke of. I also teach in this community. My 7th grade class is just finishing The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 which tells of an African American family who travels from Michigan to Alabama to see their extended family. The oldest son is 14 and giving them problems. They want him to see what the world is like so that he understands he needs to mature for his own safety. As I look at my classroom and try to explain that it is still this way, it is difficult for my students to understand. I will definitely share your perspective with them in hopes that a room full of 13 year old caucasian students can put themselves into someone else’s shoes, if even just for a short time, and that somehow it will stay with them.

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    1. It’s why I loved what Jane Elliott used to do. She couldn’t touch as many people as would have been effective, but I still love her style and she was not afraid to teach the truth in a way that ‘showed’ them the truth!

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  12. I told my sons basically the same thing growing up, you don’t have to be black to be told not to climb in the windows of the house or bounce the ball in the sporting good store or eat something that you haven’t paid for. That’s just courtesy, respect, and common sense.

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  13. White Father of 4
    You may be surprised to hear this, but I’ve had the same conversations with my children. I told all 4 of my kids the exact same things.
    Why? Because it’s better not to put yourself in a situation that can be mistaken for something bad being done. That philosophy crosses all the races.
    I’m going to get replies that say no you don’t understand. Look, I’m not trying to minimize the uncivilized treatment that the African American community received and in many places still receives.
    What I’m trying to say is that we are all in this together. When you care about your family enough to teach how to behave to a particular scenario that keeps them from getting hurt, everyone ends up being better off for it.
    Stopped by the police: my hands are on the steering wheel, and I’m asking if I may reach into the glove box, sir. I worried every time my oldest son was out late.
    Locked out of my house, I’m not breaking into my own house! That’s a great way to get shot. I’m waiting for the key to be driven to me.
    Kids playing out front with airsoft guns or any realistic replica, absolutely not! That’s begging for trouble.
    I just wanted to say that this is not uniquely an African-American issue, and as one parent to another I get it. I pray that racism is eradicated, from both sides. And I pray that our communities can grow together and behave as 1 instead continuously being divided.

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    1. You say that you are not trying to minimize the uncivilized treatment that the AA community receives, but as white people, we absolutely cannot understand what that fear feels like. We do not have generations of being treated less-than behind us. Part of the process of eradicating racism is letting someone describe their own experience and sitting with that knowledge ourselves, realizing that as a white person we can never fully understand that — and how can _we_ do better?

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    2. It might not be unique to the black experience. But, how many of your children ( and adults) are shot and/or killed as an outcome?

      I could give examples of the outcome being deadly for every scenario you gave . And surprise, the person was black.

      The racism isn’t on “both sides”! At least, not to the detriment of white folks!

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    3. Exponentially far worse are the consequences for black boys (black girls, black men, black women) caught doing any of those things! Again, praying isn’t changing anybody’s heart. Have to do more than that if things ARE to truly change.

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  14. I’m sorry that it is still this way in some places but it is not isolated to blacks. I’ve lived in different places and visited relatives in other places and it occurs everywhere where one majority is prejudiced against the smaller groups. I’ve seen Cubans against Mexican in Florida , whites against Indians out west, in some places they were against all those Asians! Yes and in many large cities whites against blacks and lately many against Muslims.
    Sometimes for a reason.
    When I was growing up in Florida the school I attended was fairly new and was very integrated with black, white, Indian, Cuban, Asian, one Italian and a British. I loved being around all the different kinds of people and everyone got along.
    I was a little shocked when I moved to north Mississippi at how submissive the blacks were but there was no bullying or mistreatment going on, just acceptance of how their relationship were. I left for college to Tennessee to a private Baptist school and then again everyone got along and I tried to befriend black students but they were stand-off is . But there was no racism. Got married and moved to Texas and we lived in a white community but had African immigrants in our church who were cherished.
    I visited my relatives over my youth who lived in Mexican neighborhoods and I learned how neat they could be so in Texas I befriended the Mexican and black families in my child’s Headstart class.
    Later my family moved back to Mississippi to be close to parents, and I saw a lot of change. It went from no crime in this small community to a lot of crime and drugs had arrived. Since that time some blacks have become beligerent, have formed gangs and are fighting and shooting each other. There’s very little racism here. Lots of mixed marriages. The racism here is directed more towards Mexicans. Two of my daughters married blacks, one married a Mexican so far they’ve experience very little racism.
    I say all this to say it depends on where you live. I’m friends with many different race of people. I’m mainly white with about a fourth Indian,

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  15. God doesn’t see color. He is willing to be the God to anyone that will submit to Him. There has always been racism and there always will be. Just learn of the history of racism in other countries. With that being said, it doesn’t make it right. I love the story of Dr. Ben Carson and how his mother raised him. All each person can do is teach their own children right from wrong. All black people are not bad and all white people are not racist and all policemen and policewomen are not racist. There are always going to be a few bad apples in every bunch and as long as sin is in this world that is not going to stop. It’s a heart problem.

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    1. I do hope God sees color. I hope God sees how living is very, very different for a white woman, like I assume you are, and a black teen.

      And with the overwhelming spate of black teens being killed by police officers, this is not “a few bad apples.” Please, read up on this. We white people need to STEP UP if this is going to change.

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  16. My son and visited the neighborhood we lived in for 2 yrs and then rented our home for 3 yrs. My son jumped out of the car to visit his old friends. When he got to one house and rang the door bell no one answered but he could see the mother running through the house. She called the police on my 13 yr old son even after her children recognized him. The police came by an questioned my son and I thank God every day he had nothing in his hands. This neighborhood was less than a mile away from the Walmart where a young man was shot dead for holding a toy gun. The struggle is real….

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  17. When you have kids this takes on a whole new resonance. Its pathetic and sad how we’ve grown accustomed to everyday indignities and offenses. Even life threatening events are met with a shrug as we go about watching cat videos and arguing about “culture war” nonsense. Let’s be absolutely clear about something. The violence that is part of the daily drumbeat of life in America DOES NOT EXIST in other first world countries. Only in America do we accept that this is the way things are. All while shouting to the rooftops about how exceptional and godly our homeland is.

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  18. I am curious, what has brought you to the conclusions you have made about prejudice in America? Are you concluding America is a less prejudice place now as opposed to then (when is then) How are you drawing that conclusion, what is your evidence? Is your conclusions coming from personal experiences in your own context? Have you talked to young black people outside of your context? If what you say is true about your experiences that is great. As a black man myself I can’t say I share in your experience of America today as any less prejudice or dangerous for black people then it was then. (You can define then.)

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  19. For the naysayers, those who feel that what is being taught to stay safe is antiquated, outdated, or just not needed in the current era, I offer the recent viral video of a young man with a bucket and trash claw outside of his own home that was surrounded by 6 police officers, some with guns drawn, who didn’t think he belonged there. But her teachings aren’t necessary in today’s world….

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  20. I try not to put the burden of our country’s ignorance on the shoulders of my amazing Black 16 year-old son, but like so many of you, I feel it is my responsibility to be honest and direct about what he should expect as he moves through the halls of his predominantly white private school, hangs out with his diverse group of friends at the mall and movies, dates girls outside his race and culture, drives to school from our predominantly black middle-class neighborhood to an all-white suburban neighborhood, and lives as a Black Man in Public Space.
    To be honest (as the kids say), I am somewhat relieved that my son hasn’t rushed to get his driver’s license; how crazy is that? His friends are wonderful and represent diverse races and ethnicities. I pray they look out for each other if there is ever an incident with law enforcement. I armor my son with the best I can, including knowledge of who he is and Whose he is. His advantage in this society is what Sandra Ciscernos refers to as the “third eye” marginalized people develop as a means of survival. I take great pride in this method of defense and will continue to help my son perfect his vision.

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  21. I taught my biracial son this since he was very young! He was raised mostly with my white family, had white friends etc but I always told him that others will see a black man when they look at him and will treat him differently. I would worry when he went out on weekends with his friends bc I knew reality was different for him, even though he didn’t see it yet. He actually said to me once that there was no reason for the police to pull him over or bother him as long as he’s doing nothing wrong! I cried myself to sleep that night since I’d obviously failed him and he didn’t understand the danger he was in by just existing. It wasn’t until a rich older DRUNK white woman hit him and totaled his car broke his hand and HE was the one threatened with arrest that he realized Mama knew what she was talking about.

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  22. My son found it strange and awfully difficult to accept us preaching the same things to him. He thought I was especially strict, and often resented being told such. Fast forward to age 17, and he gets it. The young man beaten so badly he lost an eye for being in the wrong neighborhood, the countless men shot and killed arbitrarily.

    It is sad and unjust, but it ia necessary so that we keep our sons alive.

    Btw I have saved this so he can have a read, and see I was not alone.

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  23. I’m sixty-eight years old, and I’m still trying so hard to focus on the forest, but the trees are so often rotten. Life ain’t no crystal stair (to paraphrase Langston Hughes), but I have to think there are some good steps on the stair case. If I didn’t think there were, I would be insane by now. Keep sharing your wisdom with your son. Solomon did it with his. That’s the best way of ensuring a long life.

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  24. Hi, there! Love this blog, and I wanted to ask permission to reference it and you in my own story as I have many things to relate and add. I’m totally on your side about this, and it should be talked about in all of our communities.

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  25. Thank you for posting. This is an excellent and timely reminder that we live in a broken and very fallible world. Our one true hope is in knowing that the God who calls us to love Him first and our neighbor as ourselves is on the move and continues to change hearts and lives. Giving thanks for a God who is our hope. (Romans 15:13

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  26. How sad but true I have a beautiful granson who is African American I couldn’t ask for a sweeter or better grandson. There will always be this problem. Only God and the people of this world can change it.

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  27. Sure. God doesn’t see color. ONLY God doesn’t see color. He also doesn’t have to deal with these fools here on EARTH walking around. So why not KEEP IT REAL? Anytime you have WHITE PEOPLE willing to call the police ion a child selling water, a child selling candy, a family bar-b-queing, or on a child whose backpack accidentally brushes you as they merely pass you, she is CORRECT to tell her son ALL of that. ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. White people got “TRUMP-ED”. A “heart” problem you call it? Then ALL of you WHITE people need a TRANSPLANT.

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    1. Hahahahahaha … right. Rose-colored glasses in full effect. People can’t handle the truth, because they’re not experiencing it. Privilege tells them they don’t have to acknowledge anything, and continue walking around like their race isn’t screwing-over everybody who isn’t white!

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  28. I am the white mother of two beautiful African American daughters. I identified with this moving and clear piece of writing, except for your terrorism experience at the end, because as a white person that has never happened in my life. Thank you for being a brave voice for all of your lived reality.

    Voices like yours are clearly still needed, amazingly enough, to paint the picture, especially to my fellow white neighbors.

    White friends, I say to you with love, when you read this essay, and immediately reply with, “but not just black people have this burden”, you apparently don’t see what you are doing. You are using your whiteness to attempt once again to silence black and brown voices.

    I know, you are already forming defensive arguments against that statement, too. Can’t people understand? You are just “chiming in”, or “being part of the conversation”, or “having a dialogue”.

    NO.

    Being engaged in a conversation starts with listening. Not planning what you’re going to say as soon as people start talking. This woman, and millions upon millions like her, has this experience. Listen to her. Stop talking and listen to her.

    Our nation’s black, brown, and native children are perceived and treated differently than our nation’s white children. By cops, teachers, neighbors, strangers. It has been proven over and over and over and over. Even a cursory reading of modern-day literature, or a review of shootings of unarmed citizens, will give you that information.

    I also know this from my personal experience. I have had these same conversations with my brown daughters in a way my mother never had to have with me. We have been places where you can feel it… it’s like you’ve been transported to the insides of one of those games where people are playing “what doesn’t belong”, and eliminating it from the picture… and you just know you have to get in your car and get out. The kids in my daughter’s high school will this spring be playing “Assassin”, where these (almost 100% white) kids run around town for two weeks, hiding behind each others’ houses with water guns “shooting” each other, eliminating each other, til one, the winner, is left. When I heard about that game 10 years ago, I went pale (well, paler than usual), because I knew my girls could end up actually dead if they played that game. And even more so if they were male. The other sweet white mothers think I’m making that up. You, well-meaning, sweet, sheltered white women, will never know.

    Yes, my mother taught me strictly to be polite in public. But never did it have to carry the added weight of, “or someone might kill you for it, and be legally and culturally and socially supported for that., even if you did absolutely nothing wrong”

    But even if I didn’t have these very real experiences, it would be important for me to listen without defensiveness to what this woman is saying.

    Stop arguing with black women about their own lived experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I get that some of you, who aren’t black, shared your experience and I get that you, too, have had to have these conversations with your children to make sure they are safe. You are right, it is common sense and courtesy. But here is where some things differ. As a white parent, you don’t have to worry about someone feeling “threatened” when they approach your child and your child being shot because the person “feared for their lives”. You don’t have to worry about a pretend neighborhood watch person following your son, who is only carrying an Arizona Tea and Skittles, ending in him being shot for defending himself from a maniac with a gun, dying. You don’t have to worry about your child walking across their college campus, while White Supremacy groups are attacking any and every black student, being beaten with a 2×4 board across the head and then being charged because he defended himself and tried to get away from said beating. You don’t have to worry about your child having a legal permit to carry weapon, telling officers they have said weapon and being shot by a scared trigger happy officer. There are many other examples I can give, but you get the point. I have those same fears for my 25 yr old son. I fear for him when he wants to walk in the dark to the store for a Lemon Tea Brisk, wearing dark colors while he walks. Just last night, the building we stay in was swarmed with officers looking for a suspect and my mother was scared for me to go out and smoke a cigarette because she didn’t want them to mistake me for who they were looking for. Mind you, I am a 43 yr old woman, who either wears my black hoodie or black coat, always with my hoods up, to go out to smoke. What does that tell you? You can say you have the same fears and the same talks, but you can’t truly understand how deep it is for a black person, not just mothers, but fathers as well. You can’t get it. You can’t understand the watching your child leave to go to the store, timing how long it should take them to come back and always watching and looking for them, waiting with baited breath for the moment you recognize the person walking back to you and your safe haven for them. No. You can’t understand it. You can empathize but you can’t sympathize. Not taking anything away from you and your concerns and worries, but you just can’t.

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  30. It breaks my heart to know that these words are the truth foe all young black men, including Young men that are biracial/Melado in America. . (Those with interracial parents). Because if you are a young man in America with a white parent and a black parent then you are not a white man but you are certainly a black man and all prejudices and Inequalities are yours as well but not all the privileges are yours even though he may be half white. It’s sickening and heartbreaking to see that reality stare us back in the mirror. Just when we thought we have come so far, we havent. Yet we have. There are barriers we must break down and the only way to do that is to stand shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand. Government has plenty to do with this and so does the media but where it really all starts is in our homes and until the ignorant become educated we will continue to struggle with this horrid reality of racism and injustice. God help our homes,country and world.

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  31. I grew up in East Harlem, El Barrio and I’m an AMERICAN. I don’t believe in hyphenation and that’s where I first disagree with you.

    I grew in the housing project and was exposed to gang life, drugs and the police. I have to say the NYPD was tough on us but we respected them because at the time they wouldn’t shoot you but they beat your ass if you got out of line. SO yes it was yes sir and no sir. Yep and as a kid I was also followed around in stores and my skin is white but I had curly hair that I kept in an Afro.

    I’ve been in law enforcement in upstate NY (Corrections and Police). Left it for greener pastures, experience racism when some found out I was from NYC and of Puerto Rican descent. I never kept it secret but like I said I had white skin.

    There are people with different views on minorities just like many people on this page have views of white kids as fascinated with guns and explosives YET I didn’t see one mention of the what’s happening in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, DC, LA and the list is endless with black on black crime involving GUNS.

    You want a conversation just tell your kid to give respect and MAYBE it’ll get him passed any police officer or civilian with a different mindset. I’m going to throw this out there just as Black people are suspect of whites, even good whites are suspect of black people it will always be like that. A lot has to do with what they see on TV, YouTube and in real life. IF I see one more iHOP video involving females and male fighting I’ll puke.

    BTW I made it out of EL BARRIO but a group of friends I used to hang out with that numbered 28 only 8 made it to old age. All the rest either dead or in jail. They didn’t die natural deaths either. YOUR environment doesn’t make you what you become, you could either go through life thinking everyone is against (i.e., police, store employees, everyone not like you) OR you can do the best you can with what you got, GET YOUR EDUCATION and respect everyone until there comes a time where make you own world.

    I know you won’t agree with me but just like you’ve seen a lot I’ve seen twice as much from both sides. I think your son will be fine.

    In dealing with POLICE – if he should get stop just tell him to SHUT UP. Tell them no more than asked. That’s the key. Too many people think they have to hold court on the street and that’s where you lose.

    As for being in retail stores have your son hide a 20 spot in his wallet and not to use it unless absolutely necessary this way he’ll always have money on him should he ever need it in a store or to catch a cab. I was not trying to be demeaning and if I came off as such I apologize. I just believe in telling it like it is and how I’ve seen it. GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR SON.

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  32. It seems what he taught his kids is the same thing I taught my kids. The thing we should teach all kids, respect. He doesn’t have to make the issue about being black, it is more about the attitudes kids have today. If you give respect, you get it back. He should have explained his situation to the store owners, I’m sure they would have understood and left him alone or maybe even helped. The vast majority of people want to help if they can.

    While racism does exist, it doesn’t exist everywhere. I educated my children about everything the same way he told/did for his kids, not because of fear of reprisal for my race, I would do it because it’s the right thing to do. I am not a white person, I have faced racism in my life over and over growing up. My parents taught me that small minded people will try to make you feel bad about who you are, but just realize they are the ones who are making judgments based on appearance, without having the basis for those opinions. They should be looked upon as misguided because their parents didn’t instill the respect that every human is due. If someone transgressed that respect, then you can turn the other cheek and walk away. It is unfortunate because racism is learned, not innate and the people who subscribe to that behavior are the unfortunate ones.

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    1. Oh, to the contrary … it happens everywhere! I have lived from the Mid-West, to the West to the North to the South to the Southeast, to places in between and it’s everywhere. There is no escape from it FOR US!

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  33. I ditto all that has been said. Now it’s my time. I have broken the racial barriers on several occasions, by attending an All White female catholic Academy, by purchasing a home 🏡 in an All White neighborhood, by serving as a first black on several committees, by being a delegate to an all white conference, and the list goes on and on. I have yet to say that I was treated any differently, because I went in with an optimistic attitude as I have already been taught. YES!! Racism is prevalent, but how does one define racism?? Racism, can be defined as between black, white, Chinese, etc., it is how one perceives it. If I am cut with a knife 🔪 and my white counterpart is cut also, what color will the blood be?? I hope Red. Am I right? When God made He made us in His own image. There are sooo many what’s, why’s and so on; but the beauty of it all is that God made us All. I have five children, I have grandchildren and great grandchildren, I can’t say what or who they will associate with, marry, work with, what their measure of education will be. All that I can say is that they were given sound advice as they were growing up. They never heard a word uttered by my family about whites. I can say that, I haven’t been to Heaven but I have been told, that the streets up there are paved with Gold; I know that the Lord is my Shepherd I Shall not want; I know that, the Lord is my light and my Salvation whom shall I fear, whom shall I be afraid of; when the wicked and my enemies came upon me to eat Of my flesh they stumble and fell, and to cut it short, I have been told that when I get to Heaven I will be greeted with Angels with wings, and I look 👀 to sit on the Right hand 🖐 of my Heavenly Father. If we work focus more on the Kingdom and place all of our cares on Him; we will have less worrying to do. Yes!! I am a Mortician and I have seen more than one could imagine. I always told parents and families of deceased children, that I know were reared in a good home, church, educated, and go out and join a gang; it’s nothing that they did wrong, remember you can take a horse 🐎 to the water 💦 but you can’t make them drink. When you have done All that you can do. Keep Praying 🙏 when they go and come, but most of All turn them over to the Master. One that Still the Waters, turned Water 💦 To Wine 🍷. Prayer 🙏 is the key 🔑 and Faith unlocks the door 🚪. Just some thought 💭 that I observed while reading 📖 you comments. They are all beautiful and very touching, yet I am speaking from a parents, Mortician, Mental Health Therapist, R. N., and Criminal Investigator. We all need each other and above All we All need Jesus regardless of the pigmentation of our skin. Let Love 💕 Abide.🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️📖📖🌎🌎🌎💕

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    1. You don’t get it, and your wrong. You are saying as so many Blacks who dislike Blacks, like Bill Cosby says, if we Blacks will act right there wouldn’t be racism or racism will decrease, and that is a backwards ass lie. Blacks are NOT THE REASON FOR RACISM AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE THE ONES WHO HOLD US BACK FROM THE SOLUCTIONS. I’m so sick of saying this to your type, you guys really have serious self esteem, racial issues, where you really believe that if Blacks would just be positive and nice they wouldn’t have racist issues. SHUT UP!!!!! It is making me sick, I have list and list of great Blacks, hard working, nice Blacks, well educated, happy Blacks who have lost jobs, been sexually assaulted, fired, not hired, by racist simply because of their skin color. Racism isn’t about break racial boundaries, we are not taking about that! Anyone, and everyone can join a all white things. Them letting you in doesn’t mean their not racist, having a Black wife, husband, child, doesn’t mean you are not racist. I know Blacks who hire whites over Blacks because they are racist! Blacks don’t need to do anything, and just because you need to think you are special doesn’t mean this is the solution to racism. Your logic is illogical and frustrating because you are the Blacks like the whites, who are logical in all areas except the ones that add up to you being wrong. You are wrong. No Black or Brown person should ever be nice to counter racism, no Brown or Black person should ever try harder, go faster, smile or cry to counter racism! It will not work, the non racist can’t cure the racist, the racist must cure themselves If you are nice be nice because you are nice, if you are happy be happy because you are happy, don’t ever be anything hoping other will change their behavior this is a mental illness in all places except in the racist taking responsibility for their behaviors. Stop speaking slave please!!!!!!!

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    2. Racism means you can wield power over another race. So, no … racism cannot be wielded from us towards white people, because we have no power over them. Websters says racism is: A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. You cannot create your own definition to suite your narrative, because it changes the meaning of the word. Perception means nothing in this case, because it means what it means. Language altered to suit one’s bias means you’re talking about another word … not that one. Does all our screaming stop them from calling the pohleece and making false police reports? Does it cause them not to racially profile us? Do we racially profile them? NO! Do we make false police reports on them? NO! Therefore, we cannot affect their “race” in those ways, which are only 2 examples of how it’s carried out.

      At any rate, it is alive and well in 2019 … period! I experienced it in the 1950’s all up until now and it is no different. In fact, even worse, because it was gone both covert & overt. You’re just not there when they hold meetings that discriminate against you based on your race, but it’s there. Trust me, it’s there. Otherwise there wouldn’t be such a wealth disparity in this country, and we wouldn’t be getting murdered, jailed, imprisoned, harassed, gerrymandered out of voting, and/or profiled at the rate those things are happening! Wake up, people.

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  34. This makes me so sad, as a newly “woke” middle-aged white guy with little kids (we started late) I try to teach equality in all things. Gender, ethnicity, you name it. But seeing how far we still have to go gets discouraging, but I take some comfort in knowing my kids don’t act that way. Thanks for your voice.

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  35. 61 year old white man here. I attended an elementary school in Lima Ohio. There were maybe 10 or 11 black children in the whole school. I was friends with them. They did not fear for their lives nor were they pushed aside. My brother went to South Jr. High that was 85% black. The whites had to walk home in groups or they would be jumped or mugged. In our later years we moved to a town where I attended the senior high school there. Kenton, Ohio. There were 16 black students our of almost 500. There also was not any beating or harassing of the black students there. You can walk through my all white neighbor no matter what color you are and i can promise you no harm will come to you. If I did that in Detroit late at night as a white person my safety greatly is at risk. Heres the thing. Racism is taught. It comes in all colors period. I have not been waited on, was unable to adopt two black children in Detroit because my wife and I are white, not allowed to attend some events in Detroit because they were for blacks only. I have two friends that have adopted two black children each. One is a pastor. They talk, post about raising their children black. I told them to raise them to know there are good and there are evil people in the world. Why bring race into the issue, especially with 5 and 6 year olds? If you bring so much attention to racism you will make them racist.

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  36. I can appreciate your journey, you tell it well. As a white person with 5 children I also have to tell my children similar things. When we first moved to the Chicago area 7 years ago, I had 4 children with me at Target. I needed some rugs for the bathroom in our new home. I spent about 45 minutes looking at different rugs. I tried to contain my two boys, but they were restless. Several times I saw a Target employee peaking around the corner at us. I knew this was security and pointed it out as such to my children. I told them that the Target employees were doing their job well as we looked to be a shoplifting threat because we had so many children. I was confident when I talked to them about it and said I was glad they were doing their job. It was no big deal to me that they were watching us. I wasn’t going to steal anything. Since then we have had security watch us several times, I always point it out to my children when I see it. I also remind them that stores have security people and cameras. Stealing is not an option.
    When we moved to our house in the Chicago area, several neighbors asked me a couple of times, 5 children? They made sure to tell me they had security systems installed in their homes. I warned my children not to go near these homes at night, unless they were invited.
    Once when we went to Walmart to buy fish, every kid wanted a specific fish. The guy working in the pet department waited until I was standing by myself looking at fish food. Then he loudly whispered, “Don’t come back.”
    I am not saying that black people don’t have obstacles in their life. They do! All I am saying is, on this journey called life, nothing is perfect. No one has the perfect life, even rich people. We all have to warn our kids about the obstacles facing them in each specific situation.

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  37. How uninformed you are just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it a past issue. Please inform yourself before speaking on an issue you clearly haven’t researched.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Amen, and Amen again. I couldn’t have said it better. I am also a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. After all of these years living on this earth I have to say Racism is just as much with some blacks as with the whites. So, I say brush it off and move on.

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