NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The death of George Floyd is restarting tough conversations all black parents are forced to have with their children — like how to interact with police — and no one is exempt.
CBS This Morning’s Gayle King shared the terrifying reality of being a black parent in America, describing on “The Talk” how she fears for her son’s safety in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I’m worried about him walking his frigging dog. He’s 33,” she said.
But she says this is not the first time parents are having these conversations with their children.
“This is not new,” King said.
From Ahmaud Arbery to Breonna Taylor to the falsely accused Central Park birdwatcher, parents say these stories document how dangerous it is to be black in this country.
As difficult as the conversations about racism are, it’s become necessary to teach their children how to interact with police.
Carvet Richards started with her 18-year-old son from when he was in elementary school.
“It’s not even four months ago that we’ve had to have this conversation with him. He was pulled over and I had to say to him, keep the phone on speaker, let me hear,” she said.
For black children, “the talk” has become a rite of passage as seen in a powerful video from “The Cut.”
In it, a young African-American girl holds her hands in the air and says, “I’m 8 years old. I’m unarmed and I have nothing that will hurt you.”
Her father says, “It’s just kind of a thing that we practice at our house.”
As Sen. Cory Booker shared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the anxiety carries on for many until adulthood.
“I’m a United States senator, and I left here late last night and I literally thought twice about putting on my shorts and a t-shirt to walk home,” he said.
“This is 2020, this is supposed to have been done. This has been happening for over 400 years to black people,” Robbin Phillips, of the Bronx, said.
The protesting will eventually end. The fires will die out.
But parents say their fear for their African-American children’s lives will not be over until everyone starts having the talk about racism.