Randy Brashears, former FCPO-USA National Board Member
The events from Ferguson to Milwaukee have caused many television networks to host a variety of so-called “experts”. These “experts" range from criminal justice practitioners to community organizers, all of whom extol the virtues of “the talk”. We who have African-American children in general and sons in particular are instructed to advise our children on how to survive an encounter with a white uniformed police officer.
I have two grown African-American sons. Recently after hearing one on these speakers on television, I asked myself if I had “the talk” with my own sons. I thought back to when I taught my sons how to drive and later when they would solo. I was disturbed by the realization that I had not had "the talk" with them. My sons are now grown and out on their own.
Then I questioned myself as to why I did not have “the talk” as I have viewed myself as a responsible parent who taught them about cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and inappropriate relationships. So why did I not include encounters with the police? Sure, I was an officer for 20 years in the Baltimore Metro Area and they grew up in a police family. They have also been on police ride-a-longs. But the fact remains that they will be “driving while black”.
Then it hit me. The reason why I have not had this talk is because the need for "the talk" is based on a lie. The lie: that there are police officers in America who are actually out hunting and shooting Black men because they are black. Anyone who actually believes this lie is completely out of touch with reality.
The recent study by Harvard Economist Roland Fryer Jr. confirmed that Blacks are not targeted for shootings due to their race. Other studies have reached the same conclusion. So by focusing on a lie, we miss the better message that must be communicated to our children.
The fact of the matter is over 98% of the incidents (deadly force police encounters with minorities) that have made national news since and including the Rodney King incident involve two common elements: (1) a person breaking the law and (2) a person resisting the police. Even in the North Charleston, South Carolina case where the officer used excessive force and is currently incarcerated, the victim in that case would be alive today if he had not violated the two elements mentioned.
So what should we teach our children? Here is a short list: Respect authority beginning in the home and at school, obey the laws of the land, treat others with respect, follow the Golden Rule and know that we will all give an account to God one day for our actions.