Traditions pass along through family lines and are thought to bring unity and civilization in what can be a confusing world. During this dangerous time of white police killing blacks and blacks killing law enforcement officers perhaps it is far past time to speak of a family tradition passed along in most black families at least since the early 40’s.

I was only ten –years-old when I got the “talk.” No, it was not about the birds and bees, but about blacks and the police. It was made very clear to me that in many instances the police were an occupying force to be left alone. The rules for engaging with the police were spelled out for us.

Number one: Always to be respectful and respond to police commands no matter what you thought. Remain calm, don’t resist and do as you’re told.

Number two: Don’t draw attention to yourself. They would give of examples of appearances that could attract the police whether it was correct or not.

Three: Don’t interfere with police business because there was a good chance you could become part of that police business.

Four: Pick your friends carefully because right or wrong police consider crime before they consider the person especially if they’re black.

Five: Never ever run. If you run you are asking for an ass-whipping, a brutal “short cut” to the police station or, death.

I heard this talk from my grandfather in Chicago. I later heard it from my father and I remember it coming from my mouth to my boys and grandchildren whose father had already told them.

Although seen as potential enemies, for the most part, the police are welcome additions to many communities.  They keep order, lower crime rates and often are sympathetic to the people who live in the areas they must police.

Unfortunately, racial profiling has resulted in embarrassment for the police and perceived felons. Two days ago on Facebook, noted astrophysicist, Neil DeDegrasse Tyson, recounted how he had been pulled over 11 times. It is not unusual for this occurrence. Music Hall of Fame trumpeter Miles Davis was pulled over in Bel Aire two blocks from his home.

These occurrences are not the exception, they are the rule. As one having the same, it is embarrassing standing with hands on the top of your car and being frisked while people drive by and look at you being guilty of nothing but DWI. (Driving While Black)

When there is fear on both sides, there is bound to be tragedy. Police are afraid of black men and black men are afraid of the police. When the two are brought together under pressure tragedy can ensue. Hopefully, others can see what is going on or it’s back to the 1960’s when police faced violent confrontation with armed black militant groups.

We truly need an open dialogue on the situation. Not a political show, but real people looking for real answers. Amen.


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Comment by Joan Denoo on July 26, 2016 at 3:03am

Carl, thank you for that very moving video clip. The undercurrent of racism that emerges during these stressful times reveals how crazy people become during times of uncertainty and strife. Having videos of encounters between police and black helps to clarify what happens; holding police accountable for their over-zealous is only part of the solution. The fear goes both ways cops ⇌ blacks creating an environment resulting in tragedy

Comment by Donald R Barbera on July 25, 2016 at 10:51pm
Flying Athemist--I saw that interview and was heart broken.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on July 25, 2016 at 10:49pm
Glen, at that time that is exactly the thought. The police and black folks had a bad record and it was worse in the South.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on July 25, 2016 at 10:41pm

Did not those rules include instructions for those pulled over by cops while inside of car?

Also was it a given that white cops are bigot/racist authoritarian tyrants?

Comment by tom sarbeck on July 23, 2016 at 1:22pm

THE TALK has probably saved the lives of many young men in America.

I didn't need to hear it; my ethnic German parents taught obedience to all authority and our experience of America differs greatly from the experience of minorities.

Being a veteran and having been trained to shoot first or be shot, I've seen nothing in the news on whether the police who have been shooting black men were similarly trained, either in the military or in their police training. Has anyone else seen info on that?

Comment by The Flying Atheist on July 22, 2016 at 2:36am

I just watched this interview clip several days ago.  It is with Dr. Brian Williams, the ER surgeon who was working at Parkland Hospital in Dallas the night a sniper attacked the police after the Black Lives Matter event.  It's very moving and appropriate to this topic.


Comment by Loren Miller on July 21, 2016 at 8:15am

I can't escape the feeling that there are elements of the police who have DEVOLVED, in that it's become less about "Protect and Serve" than "Protect and Serve US," where "US" is the police themselves.  Sadly, this has taken a bad situation with black people and made it far worse.  Worthy of note: the cop who shot Tamir Rice had been rejected for employment with another police department before he was hired by Cleveland PD.  This by itself makes me wonder how thorough the vetting process is, not just for our police but ANY of them.

I'm not saying this is the situation with all law enforcement, but it is widespread as hell, and it needs to be stopped.

Comment by Michael Penn on July 21, 2016 at 7:47am

Thanks Don. The way the world is going right now the advice you give here is good for any person of any race. I watched a video of country singer Coffey (coh fey) Anderson explaining to everybody how to act when pulled over by the police. Anderson is a black singer who gives a detailed and explicit view that is applauded by everyone and that includes the cops. I follow a similar routine anytime I'm in my car and dealing with police.

Cops have a hard job. While I disagree with many shootings they have done recently, keep in mind they have to make split second decisions. It's OK to let the man be "the man" and then just go merrily on your way. Think. If it looks like you are putting one hand up your ass in a traffic stop you just might get blown away.

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