My Black Is Beautilful, which falls under Procter and Gamble, recently released a video entitled Talk About Bias. What may seem like average African American parents and their kids going about their day to day lives, is much more. The messages the parents are giving to their kids who just want to drive, go to band practice, etc. are reminiscent of "The Talks" AA parents have to have with their kids all over the country and likely across borders and the pond as well. The fact that two of the children were young enough to be in elementary school yet have to receive a lecture so heavy is accurate, yet troubling that is has to happen so young.
So what is "The Talk" you ask? It is a conversation that parents, aunts, uncles, church leaders and so on have with African American youth to basically let them know racism is ALIVE AND WELL in this country (despite what the media wants you to think) and it is inevitable that they will become a target in some form. They will be called a n****r, they will be followed around clothing stores because people will automatically assume they are about to steal (no matter what they're wearing), little girls will be told "you're pretty for a black girl" as if they are the exception and black isn't beautful, and young black men will be asked for i.d. when walking down the streets of their own neighborhoods. I.Could.Go.On.For.Days!
Then you may say (if you are not black) that "Well if they didn't look like they were about to steal" or "Don't do anything to cause a cop to stop you," then you missed the entire point. All of this is a result of skin tone: being black. It's not an easy conversation to have, many avoid it as if it wil go away (it won't), but the black community doesn't have the luxury to ignore. We have to always be aware and alert.
We see the stares, we see you grab your purse a little tighter in our peripheral, we know you follwed us from the shoe to the dress department, or from aisle 5 to aisle 13, and that you put your money on the counter instead of in our hands to avoid touching us. These are not isolated incidents. This is our everyday life. Did you catch that? This is our everyday life. This is our everyday life. One more time, this is our everyday life.
The Talk is all about telling black kids that more of this behavior will likely come and this will be your life. No exceptions. Parents have to tell their children that they basically can't protect them from it, but how to deal with it (and it is not easy). I am so grateful that Procter and Gamble and My Black is Beautiful are shining a light on this issue so that one day this conversation will no longer become a life changing necessity.