What Minorities Tell Children About How To Deal With Police Officers


Bits of advice on how to survive encounters with police have been passed down for generations in African-American families, says the Seattle Times: Keep your hands in view. Don't make any sudden moves. Don't reach into your pockets, or for the glove compartment. Even if you're in the right, save that argument for another day, to ensure that another day will come. “It's what I was told growing up and it's what I'll tell my sons,” said Chanin Kelly-Rae, whose sons are 8 and 10. “For purposes of preservation, don't argue with police officers.”

Last month's shooting of an unarmed teen by police in Ferguson, Mo., reinforces the concern African-American and mixed-race families have about their children. Roy Fisher, a counselor, therapist and stepfather of a mixed-race son in college and a daughter at home, said the parents of African-American sons face a difficult reality: “You are raising a young black male in a world that sees him as a threat, so what are you telling him to prepare him for that?” The aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting highlights sharp differences between whites and blacks. In a Pew Research survey, 80 percent of blacks and only 37 percent of whites said the case raises important issues about race. Four families with African-American or mixed-race children spoke with the Times about their concerns.

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