The “Talk” From a White Perspective

I watched a TV show this morning on the VICE network concerning “The Talk”.

The “Talk” is a conversation that black parents have with their children, especially boys, about how to act when interacting with the police.

This particular show highlighted several black mothers describing their instructions to their children to a predominantly white audience of parents. These folks happen to live in the St. Louis metro area including Ferguson, Missouri.

The instructions were pretty common sense directives for just about anyone dealing with the police in any community.

Then the program took a decidedly liberal turn when the parents asked why should they have to have the “Talk” at all with their kids. They bemoaned having to tell their children how to conduct themselves simply because they were young black me.

I wondered what makes these mothers think that the “Talk” is a black only thing. I’ve had the “Talk” with my own son. Heck, I’ve even had the talk with my wife!

I carry a badge and ID that shows I am a retired LEO but I still conduct myself by the same rules I give to my wife and son when stopped by the police.

I tell them:

1. The first thing to do is to DO NOTHING! Don’t make any sudden movements, don’t reach for anything and above all keep your hands in plain sight. Just follow the officer’s instructions.

2. Keep your mouth shut. Getting angry or argumentative with a police officer will guarantee that the situation will only worsen. Just politely and respectfully answer their questions. Now is not the time to argue your case. That’s what courts are for.

3. If you are in a car at night turn on your interior lights BEFORE the officer approaches your vehicle. Night time is a particularly bad time for police officers. Mistakes, often fatal mistakes, happen more at night.

4. Roll down your window BEFORE the officer approaches your vehicle.

5. Keep your hands on the steering wheel unless the officer asks you to retrieve something (license, registration & proof of insurance).

6. All members of my family are licensed to carry concealed weapons and do so. I tell them that even though Indiana law doesn’t require them to, they should IMMEDIATELY inform the officer(s) that they are carrying a concealed weapon and to follow the officers instructions carefully. My experience has been that the officer(s) will simply say “thank you for telling me that” and go on with their questioning.

So again I ask what make these black parents think that the “Talk” is a black only thing?

They may be able to make a case about blacks being stopped more often than whites in their community but I have to believe that if EVERYONE followed some simple common sense rules that these interactions wouldn’t turn into confrontations.

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