Opinion Extra

Please let me stop repeating ‘the talk’

Congressman Clyburn gives chilling advice about police to his grandson

During a statement at a Congressional Black Caucus press conference, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina revealed advice that he gave his 21-year-old grandson about what to do if police pull him over for a traffic violation. Clyburn said he told hi
Up Next
During a statement at a Congressional Black Caucus press conference, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina revealed advice that he gave his 21-year-old grandson about what to do if police pull him over for a traffic violation. Clyburn said he told hi

I’m disheartened that I’ve had to go through “the talk” with my son, once again. Parents of young men of color are very familiar with the marching orders we have to give our sons in order for them to make it home alive.

This latest talk went something like this:

As I sit here, unable to sleep for watching the atrocities taking place in our country, my heart goes out to families who are left to mourn the loss of their loved ones. My request of you is to make it home alive.

What a dad tells his black son to do if pulled over by police

Sen Tim Scott gets personal about ‘humiliation’ of being targeted by police

I am not qualified to cast stones, accuse or judge anyone, but I can implore you to stay at home if ever you find yourself impaired — either intentionally or unintentionally. I am thankful for the good decisions you have made regularly as God continues to bless, cover and protect you from hurt, harm and danger.

Don’t give law enforcement officers a legitimate reason to engage with you and enter into a situation that could cost you your life. And you know the drill if you’re ever pulled over: Do whatever is asked of you. Be polite, respectful and whatever else you have to say or do to stay alive.

If you have been wrongfully pulled over, leave it to your parents to advocate for you in court or otherwise, and pray to God that your life will be spared so we can do so. I know you and all men of color have been told this numerous times, but I’m telling you once more because I love you and I care.

Do I believe all law-enforcement officers are bad, brutal and ill-equipped to perform their jobs to serve and protect? Absolutely not. There are law enforcement officers who are well-trained, loving, kind, compassionate, wise, nurturing mentors and fixtures in their communities, and I am thankful for their service and for the positions God has placed them in.

Officers, community leaders struggle to find harmony as tensions run high

Talking about race, a year after Charleston

By that same token, I do not believe that people of color are inherently “bad” or that they should all be painted with the same brush. Neither are white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or the countless other ethnicities and nationalities that God created all bad.

What I do believe is all people who are accused of breaking the law should be able to live to have their day in court. Dylann Roof confessed to mercilessly gunning down nine innocent souls, and yet he was arrested and taken into custody nonviolently and is still alive to face many days in court. I believe that justice should be equitable and color blind.

Likewise, I believe that law enforcement officers should be able to make it home to their families at night. I believe they should be as safe as the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect. We should all be able to make it home alive or at least make it alive to have our day in court.

I believe we should think of diversity in terms of world views, experiences and cultures instead of stereotyping people based on outward appearances.

Perhaps if we did that, we would all be able to peacefully coexist, and parents like me wouldn’t have to have the talk with their children on a more and more frequent basis, pleading with them to just make it home alive to us.

May God bless us all, and may he continue to grant us brand-new mercies. It looks as if we’re going to need many, many more in the morning.

Ms. McKie is vice chair of the Richland 2 School Board and the mother of two college students; contact her at abutlermckie@gmail.com.

  Comments