In black communities, "the talk" — the sit-down that parents have with their children about how racism may traumatize or kill them — has a particularly devastating staying power.
Preparing your child for life is any parent's job, but too many guardians of black children wind up having to explain to them the inevitability of their deaths — too often at the hands of police. High-profile shootings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice have made that talk all too real for countless black families.
That reality is rendered in devastating detail in a new video from the Jubilee Project, a nonprofit storytelling platform. In it, black parents give "the talk" to the camera, allowing viewers a look into one of the hardest realities of parenting.
In gut-wrenching detail, the parents take turns to say the following to their children:
The reason we have to have this talk is because you are a black child in America. I need you to know that, man, there are so many things going on in the world. I won't lie to you, you're going to see some things that are going to break you down. It's going to hurt. I know how hard it is for you to see yourself in the place of Tamir Rice. So I need you to always be prepared and always be on your guard and it takes away from you being a little kid, I know, but I'm trying to protect you right now.
If you are approached by police, just stay calm, don't fight back, don't give any rebuttals — you have to understand, if you want to stay alive, you have to do what they say. Because it could be the difference between me seeing you again and not seeing you again.
Sad to say sometimes that may not even work, I'm just going to be honest, it may not work at all. I know it's tough. And I know it sounds really scary. But it's not your fault. We live in a society that is geared that we do not succeed. It is put together, it is constructed in such a way that we fail, and you have to be greater than all of that.
This is the reality we've given our children, and it's one that people outside of black communities in the United States are finally beginning to understand.