One of the things that has come up in both interviewing people for this documentary and telling people about our project is this idea of how people of color are treated by the police. Every single black person we interviewed had a story to share about an experience they had with the police, and how they felt they had been treated differently because of their skin color. From what I heard of their stories, I wouldn’t doubt that any of them was treated differently, unfairly because of their skin color.
I don’t really have a good transitioning point here, but a topic that has come up for me many times while making this documentary – pre, during, and post production – is the fact that parents of color are having to have conversations with their children about what to do when dealing with the police. Some of my friends shared how their parents had to have the conversation with them when they were growing up. My one friend who is black said that his mom started that conversation with him when he was young, telling him that he “will be treated differently because of your skin color,” by the police. One the families I nanny for – the dad was sharing how his co-worker told him how he had to have the conversation with his son after the various shootings shared on the media. They both have sons who are in elementary school, and we discussed how sad it is that his co-worker had to have that conversation with his son because it is a matter of life or death, while if and when he has that conversation with his son, it will be a matter of ticket or no ticket, or the amount of the fine attached to the ticket.
I have so many thoughts on this topic, but mostly just how sad and disheartening it is that we live in a world where these conversations must happen. And I’m not saying that it is sad that parents feel that they need to have these conversations with their children, I think it’s sad that parents of color really do not have a choice if they have these conversations with their children if it means saving their kids’ lives.
I honestly could go on and on about this topic. I could argue for hours with people who want to say that some of the police brutality and shootings of people of color were justified, that those officers were doing everything right, and that this happens to white people all the time too. Yes, it does happen to white people, but not at the same rates it is happening to black people. Black people are being shot with guns. White people are being put in handcuffs. There is a different experience. There is a difference in how people are treated by the cops based on their skin color. And if you think that doesn’t really happen, that that’s not how it works, then you’re sitting in a place of privilege already, honey.
PS: Since Sarah added a video to her post, I thought I would add one too since this is consistently in my mind while writing this post…