Georgia Mum Teaching Child 10 Rules On ‘How To Be Black In America’ Is Heartbreaking
A mum who gave her 10-year-old son ‘the talk’ on how to be a young black man in America has said it was absolutely ‘necessary’ to sit all of her children down and have the same conversation.
A video of 37-year-old Kishia Ward, from Stone Mountain, Georgia, giving the talk to her son Darius went viral on social media last week, in which the young boy can be heard reciting rules such as ‘Come home and stay safe’.
In the video, Kishia asks Darius – whom she affectionately calls Kash – a number of questions, such as ‘If the police stop you, what do you do?’ and ‘What do you do when you’re interacting with a police officer?’.
You can watch the heartbreaking video below:
Kash responds to each of the questions confidently, having already been taught the rules by his mum. ‘Be polite, respectful and don’t run,’ he says when asked what he should do if he is stopped by the police.
The 10-year-old – who is on the honour roll at school – is ‘so kind-hearted and loves everyone’, his mum told UNILAD. She added: ‘He is a very sweet and mild-mannered child, everyone just loves him. To me he is an all-round great kid.’
Despite his ‘very quiet’ nature and the fact he ‘keeps to himself’, Kishia said this conversation was necessary because ‘every day you see on the news that some black man, women, or child has been killed for whatever reason’.
Describing it as a difficult conversation to have, Kishia said she knew she had to have it because ‘the thought of your child’s life being cut short because of the colour of their skin is enough to make you sick’. She added: ‘I can’t imagine [how] the parents of the victims slain by the police feel.’
Kishia, who also has two young daughters – aged six and seven – and two older daughters, said this is the first time she has had this conversation with Kash. Her two eldest were also given ‘the talk’ when they were his age.
She told UNILAD:
They all asked the question, ‘Why? Why do they not like us because of or skin? Why are they allowed to get away with hurting or killing people?’
While the mum-of-five said she ‘truthfully had no real answer’ to their questions, all she could say was that ‘it will change one day, but until that day you remember how to behave so that you can come home to me’.
Thankfully I have never experienced any type of racism from any police officers, neither has anyone in my immediate family. Honestly, I was walking through life blind to racism until it became a every day or every week issue.
It’s like every time you turn on the news or the radio something has happened to a black person just because of the colour of their skin. Unfortunately, some of the killings are being committed by some officers. Innocent people that just did not have to die.
The older my children get, the more I become afraid for them. I can’t be with them everywhere but I can teach them how to protect themselves.
The proud mum, who says Kash wants to be a marine or a firefighter when he grows up, says the goal is not for her children to be afraid of the police – ‘but to be self-aware when they are dealing with the police, to live to fight another day’.
As heartbreaking as it is Kishia even has to think in this way, hopefully these rules will ensure her children stay safe and come home to her every night – although, as she says in her video, ‘the sad reality is a black man could follow every rule on this list and still not come home’.
And it’s true: last year, research found black people are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people in the US. The study used verified data on police killings between 2013 and 2018, compiled by the website Fatal Encounters, and found roughly one in 1,000 black boys and men will be killed by police in their lifetime.
In contrast, the rate for white boys and men is much lower at 39 in 100,000.
What an incredibly brave family.
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CreditsKishia L Ward/TikTok and 2 others
Kishia L Ward/TikTok
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America