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Never once did I think this day would come. Never once did I think that I, at age 22, a white female, would have to sit my little brother down, age 14, half black, looks mostly black, and have “the talk” with him.
No, not the birds and the bees, but the cops yelling freeze. And what he, as a young black male needs to do, if he were to ever be stopped or questioned by the police. He is 14-years-old. He is studious and kind, funny and sarcastic at times. You'd think, "Hey, it's 2018. We don't need to worry about our young black boys walking around, alone." False.
You see, just last week I myself was thinking "Oh, this. It's over dramatized and there were black male vs cops shoot downs but the black male wasn’t doing as he was told." Blah, blah, blah, (defending our law enforcement). That may be true in some cases, but in others, all the cop sees is color and automatically thinks, "Oh, he's black, he MUST be a criminal… Shoot now, ask later."
It was time to talk to my young brother—my sweet, half black brother—about what he MUST do if he found himself in a situation like this. I told him, "You must narrate every action. You must tell the officers what you are doing, what you are grabbing for, and where it is. Do not make any sudden movements. Your nose itches? Tell them nicely, "Officer, my nose itches. I am going to scratch it with your permission." Make sure they heard you and have replied before you move that hand up to itch that itch.
I told him, "If your white friends are mouthing off and talking back and being rude, you stay silent. Speak when spoken to. Do so with respect. Even though these officers may not be deserving of it, show respect. Don't give them a single reason to harm you or God forbid, shoot you."
Never once will have have to have this conversation with my other little brother who is 12-years-old and half white and half Mexican and looks more white than anything. Only his last name would give away his race. Never once will I have to sit my very white, blue eyed, blond haired son down to have THIS talk with him.
I denied it, then I saw it and claimed it wasn’t as bad us everyone thought and that those black males who lost their lives lost them because they didn't do what they were told when an officer told them to. As a white female, I had nothing to worry about. I had no fears, no need to worry about the cops. But, wait, an episode of Grey's Anatomy really got to me. It took a dang TV show for me to wake up. Made me see the ugly truth. Yes, the show itself may be scripted, but what happened in said episode on 1-25-2018—that is real. A 12-year-old boy was shot because he left his keys in his home and was getting in through a window. But because it was a rich neighborhood, he was profiled as someone breaking and entering.
Why? Because he was a black male. He later died in the episode in the hospital. I bawled and bawled. I was sobbing. All I could think about was my little brother who's older than the kid in the show. Fear struck. Worry. Anger. Frustration.
Don't tell me I have nothing to worry about as a white female. Don't tell me I don't need to fear the cops; oh because I do need to worry and I do fear them.
Why? Because they shoot, then ask. Because they racially profile people and if their skin tone is darker, they must be a criminal. I fear for the life of my 14-year-old, half black, looks more black, little brother. I fear for his life. It's not his fault, oh hell no! It is not his fault. It is societies and their bigoted ways of thinking.
I never thought the day would come that I have to tell my almost 15-year-old brother that he needs to do everything in his power to make sure he doesn't get shot by a man or woman who is supposed to be protecting him. I never thought I'd have to tell him that even though he did nothing wrong he just needs to do as he's told so he can make it home to Mom and Dad so that he is not one of those innocent black males on the nightly news.
All I want is a world where I don't have to fear for my younger brothers life as he's walking home from school or hanging out with his friends. I never thought this day would come, where I tell my little brother that because he's black, he will be treated differently. I never thought this day would come.
It's 2018, and we need to fix this. Until that day, I urge moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone, to have that talk with our sweet black boys, not about the birds and the bees, but about the cops yelling freeze.
This is a conversation between a white, big sister and her younger, half black, brother thanks to an episode of Grey's Anatomy.