Educating your kids on important facts of life just comes with the territory of being a parent. But parents of kids of color have a responsibility to explain to their children that they may be treated differently because of their skin — and that's an extremely difficult conversation to have.
In a video for Cut Video, Black parents explain to their children how they should act when dealing with the police. The parents share their own experiences with police officers, and explain what their kids should do if they come into contact with them. They advise them to stay extremely calm, follow instructions, and show the police officers they have nothing in their hands.
One little girl practices what she will say to an officer with her father at home.
"I'm Arriell Skye Williams. I'm 8 years old. I'm unarmed and I have nothing that will hurt you," a little girl says, while holding up her hands.
"That's just kind of a thing we practice at our house," her father explains.
The video is heartbreaking to watch because these are lessons you would hope no child would ever have to be taught. But the conversation is essential as statistics show Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed by police officers as White Americans.
Black American drivers are also more often at risk of having the vehicle searched than white Americans. In Ferguson, they are more than twice as likely as White drivers to be searched during vehicle stops, but are found in possession of contraband 26 percent less often than White drivers, according to the Department of Justice's investigation into the behavior of police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Black and Hispanic drivers were searched approximately four times as often as White drivers in Chicago in 2013, despite the fact that Chicago Police Department's data shows contraband is found on White drivers twice as often as Black and Hispanic drivers, according to a 2016 Police Accountability Task Force report.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, police officers search Black driver's vehicles more than twice as often as White drivers and were more likely to use force if the driver was Black, according to a 2015 analysis by The New York Times.
In 2013, the stop-and-frisk practices in New York were found in violation of the constitutional rights of minority citizens of the city. Eighty-three percent of people stopped were Black or Hispanic.
The video helps to bring this topic to light in a very real way. It shows people that Black parents are legitimately concerned about the safety of their children. Their worries are backed up by their own experiences with discrimination and statistics that prove their fears are justified. The video also highlights how important it is to have a dialogue with children about these important issues.