I am tired of the one-sided conversation. I am tired of hearing about The Talk that African-American parents have to have with their sons on how to behave in public. Don’t get me wrong – I believe The Talk is important, but it’s important for every child. Male. Female. Black. White. Brown. Yellow, Pink. Interracial. It would appear from the response of some non-African-Americans that The Talk is something foreign to them; they had no idea this was a necessary tool in raising young Black boys. I find that somewhat odd because since the age of slavery it has been documented in books, movies and in the news, that Blacks have always been forced to walk through the world on eggshells, and had to know how to respond to the likes of:
Are you eyein’ me boy?
Don’t talk back to me nigger!
OK. For arguments sake let’s just say having The Talk was an unknown fact, but now it’s known and it can’t be ignored now that the lesson has been shared on multiple newscasts on multiple news outlets for the past several days. But let’s get real here. Our issues on race relations will never get healed if we only focus on one side of the coin. Why are Black families holding the burden on how they need to act in the world? Where are the discussions about how non-Blacks should be conducting themselves in public and how they should be polite, respect authority and show kindness to their fellow-man? Trayvon Martin and countless numbers of young Black men conduct themselves as law-abiding citizens everyday based on the lessons they learned from their family, but all of that is for nothing when someone else has a different agenda – a different perception.
Education has to set precedence. In grasping for minor solutions to this major problem I’ve mentioned to some friends that it is time to implement new curriculum in our school systems. Diversity and cultural sensitivity courses should be standardized curriculum beginning in grade school, so the awareness and discussions can begin early. I’m not using calculus in my everyday life, but cultural awareness is used on a daily basis.
If cultural awareness and understanding were second nature for the entire human race there would be less opportunity for someone like Geraldo Rivera to make careless remarks about blaming the hoodie Trayvon Martin was wearing for his death. Should Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Bieber fear for their lives because they wear hoodies and baggy or low riding pants?
If cultural awareness and understanding were second nature then all the news outlets and their anchors would want to put the same amount of time and energy behind the injustice of all the men and women, boys and girls that go missing or are murdered. Is Nancy Grace on vacation, or has she shown her true colors by not caring for the well-being of people of color?
Twenty years ago after the Los Angeles riots in 1992 Rodney King pleaded with the world by saying, “Can’t we all get along?” Such a simple phrase that seems so easy to put into action.
Let’s start talking, and not just with people who look like you and are like-minded. We need to start talking with friends, colleagues and acquaintances who may have different life experience. We need to learn and educate one another. What do we have to lose by doing this, that we haven’t lost already?