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“the Talk” With My Son Is Not About “the Birds and the Bees”

N. E. Wright has studied writing at NRI Schools, Writer’s Digest Schools, and took a Creative Writing Course at Columbia University.

Never A Day I Ever Not Fear For My Son’s Life At The Hands Of The Police

My son and I visiting my parents for the day in Queens, NY.

My son and I visiting my parents for the day in Queens, NY.

Stranger Danger Talk Usually Forgotten When Raising An African-American Child

Several months ago, while helping out my mother with my elderly father, I woke up early one morning to a repeat program on MSNBC about “Stranger Danger”, and I felt like a very bad mom. My son was 14 years old at the time and I never spoke to him about “Stranger Danger”. Sure I should have. Yes he needs to know about this very real problem, but in America most African-American parents give their children “the talk”.

No, our talk is not about the euphemism for sex we call “the birds and the bees”. No, I can not actually have a talk with my son about sex. Yes, I am a wimp. It is not life or death to me so, I pass it off for another time. Not good, but it is the truth. If I had a husband — yes feminist, which I am, I said my husband — I would send my son to him. I am a single mother going for life or death talks for Black males daily. So I punt. Yes, I am a wimp and not so great mom.

Thanks Sara Palin, Racist Police Officers, and George Zimmerman For Having Me Explain Your Actions To My Young Son

Unfortunately, I have been torturing my son about how to behave while being Black in America since he was five years old. I would like to honestly fault Sara Palin for her scary racist talks about Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential General Election Campaign. Caucasian cops for killing Black males so often it seemed like an epidemic. Most importantly it was important for me to talk to my son about how he will be seen as different, or non-human, because of George Zimmerman’s murdering Trayvon Martin and getting away with the murder. I had to address all of these incidents to a very confused child. To be honest I was pissed. I thought I could wait until he was thirteen-years-old. Nope. No such luck.

Neglecting The Stranger Talk Is Not ComfortingTo Realize

Now I am specific about how he needs to behave so he cannot get arrested or killed by cops while walking, shopping, driving, riding the train, coming from the library, sitting on a park bench, eating a pizza while walking to visit a friend, or just standing at a bus stop while being Black. Still, when I realized how I never spoke to my son about “Stranger Danger” I felt negligent. So, I decided I would ask if he knew the term “Stranger Danger”. I was hopeful as hell that he learned this in school. Well, he did not know it. Not even remotely. Now remember this is kind of sex talk. Sure sexual assault. Which is worse. I did not know how in the hell I was going to tackle this. I do not remember what I said. I just know that to this very moment my son still does not know what “Stranger Danger” is. So I was not effective. Not regular about it either.

Driving While Black Talk Bores My Son

Now, “the talk” I tackle at least once daily. I started the driving while Black in America talk about two years ago. Yeah, he was thirteen. I would ask my son about how he would protect himself when he drives a car, and he would roll his eyes while he begins our usual conversation like this,
“Put my license on the dash board.”
“With Scotch tape.”
“Where would the tape be?”
“In the glove compartment.”
“How many phones do you need?”
“Two. One stays in the car and I put it on face book live.”
“You need to put it on the upper right side on the passenger’s side of the car.”
“Do you know why?”
“To protect myself.”
“Where should your hands be when stopped by the police?”
“On the wheel.”
“So the cops do not think I am pulling out a weapon.”

Truth Is African-Americans Are Regularly Being Stop By The Police For Being Black

So this is not always the way it goes. Just an example of our unfortunate, but much needed conversation. This is torturous for me to ask daily, and to be honest my son is quite bored and exasperated. He is a kid. What is he doing wrong I am sure he is thinking. Nothing. Well, I hope not anything wrong. Still I need to talk more about “stranger danger” and “the talk” on how he needs to protect himself without offending the police when stopped by them for his being Black in America.

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© 2019 N E Wright

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