Please remember my Black son

Note: For context of time, I wrote this post Thursday of last week, after the death of Alton Sterling. The news of Philando Castile’s death broke while I was in the middle of writing it.

(This post originally referenced a photo of my family at the top that I’ve since removed. I’ve also changed my son’s name. Trolls = privacy concerns.)

This is my family. The white guy is me. That’s my beautiful wife next to me, and probably the most incredible child to ever live, *Nick.

Nick loves superheroes. Every day when I come home, without fail, he asks if we can play superheroes. He puts on a cape, or his Captain America jacket, and prepares swords and wings out of cardboard. Some days we’re real superheroes–his favorites are Captain America and Iron Man–and some days he makes up superheroes based on things he’s seen in Dora or Wild Kratts, superheroes like “Cheetah Man” and, my favorite, “Super Nick.”

Nick brings joy into every room he enters. He’s creative, loving, and sensitive–more likely to give away a toy than to fight over it. There is so much good in that boy it brings me to tears just to consider it.

Nick is going to be 13. Not today, or tomorrow, or next year. But soon enough, this boy will blossom–awkwardly but beautifully–into a young man. He’s going to be tall. I’m 6’2″, and he’ll likely be close to six foot. But his skin will be darker than mine, his hair curlier. He’ll be raised knowing and loving his African-American heritage and family.

What I’m saying is this: I’m a White guy from the suburbs, and my son will be a young Black man. Soon. And I’m scared to death.

I’m scared to death that he’ll be in a hoodie on his way home from a friend’s house and a vigilante will shoot him.

I’m scared to death he’ll have a silly toy and an anonymous caller will bring the police down on him, and they will shoot him.

I’m scared to death he’ll get frustrated by cops pulling him over too often and he’ll talk back to them once, and they will shoot him.

I’m scared to death his tall, dark body will scare some neighbor and they’ll “fear for their lives” and they’ll shoot him.

I’m scared to death that, once someone shoots him, the media and the shooters will start pulling together a story that paints him as a criminal who deserves death.

And here’s the most important thing: I’m not alone. I haven’t talked to a single Black parent ever who doesn’t have these concerns for their kids. And their families. And their friends.

If you’ve never heard about “The Talk” that parents have to give their Black kids, you might assume it’s the classic “The Birds and the Bees” talk. It’s not. It’s the “How to Avoid Being Shot By the Cops” talk. “Don’t talk back.” “Keep your hands where they can see them.” “Don’t make any sudden moves.” This is necessary because we fear for our children’s lives. Regularly. Actively. Painfully.

Every new publicized instance of violence against Black bodies brings us new fear. “It feels like the world is trying to get rid of us,” my wife told me last night as we lamented another hash-tagged Black body. “It’s like our only options are either assimilation or extinction. They’re killing us and they’re killing our culture.”

When I was in middle school, I sagged my pants. When I was in high school, I dyed my hair and wore ripped clothing and wallet chains. I was a teenager! I was finding myself. And at no point did I or my parents worry for my safety as a result.

Nick will likely not be allowed to wear ripped clothing. He will not be allowed to sag his pants. He will not dye his hair. We will carefully guide what he wears and how he presents himself. Why? Because we want to protect him. We don’t want cops or neighbors to look at him and decide he’s a threat, and then shoot him.

A few of my Black friends shared on Twitter today about the precautions they take to try to avoid a bad police encounter.

I don’t worry about what I wear at night. My parents never had to teach me how to act to keep from getting shot by the cops. I’ve heard Black parents describe “The Talk” but I’ve never given or received it. It’s something I’ll have to figure out how to do–like how I’ll have to learn how to do my daughter’s hair.

When I was younger, I didn’t respond to Black pain the way I do now. I remember distinctly the moment when my perspective shifted. It didn’t come during an impassioned argument or a careful reflection on my life. It came when I met Tamika.

Tamika was a leader in a group I joined in college. She was outgoing, kind, and the first Black person who ever opened up to me about the pains of being Black in America. She told me how many of her family members had served jail time for small offenses, and how it felt to interact with the police. Another friend in the room told me about being pulled over for Driving While Black (when you’re pulled over for absolutely no reason, or because you’re a Black person in a White neighborhood, always because the police are suspicious without cause). Tamika and my other friend told me their stories and the stories of their family members, individually and personally. She invited me in, just a little bit, to her family and her experience.

Something in me changed. This was before cell phone cameras became ubiquitous, so there were no Trayvon Martins or Mike Browns yet. But there were constant opportunities for my worldview to butt up against that of my Black classmates and acquaintances. “It can’t be that bad.” “You have to look at it from every perspective.” Today, it would have been, “I’m going to wait until I see all the information.”

Hidden beneath those statements, however, is this (conscious or subconscious) implication: “Why are you making such a big deal about this? White people don’t respond like this. When something bad happens, we have a clear line of reasoning pointing to why. That person was a criminal. That person didn’t work hard enough. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

After talking with Tamika, I saw everything in a different light. When we talked about a policy that would have a negative impact on Black kids in the city, I didn’t hold contesting ideas about poverty and blame and race. I thought about little babies in Tamika’s family, beautiful little brown-skinned babies who wouldn’t be safe because of this policy. And later, when I saw Tamir and Eric and Walter and so many others gunned down, I didn’t see some poor Black person who had no connection to me–I saw sons, daughters, cousins, friends.

When I saw how poorly much of the White community responded to some of these more recently publicized deaths–Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland–I originally thought our problem was that we are too reserved as a people, too slow to respond, too fact-driven and not emotional enough. That’s the justification we so often give for not engaging: “I need more information.” “Wait for all the facts.”

But then I watched how we engage with the things we do care about. Gun rights, Target bathrooms, Chick-fil-A, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton; we are loud, and emotional, and quick to speak when we want. That’s not our problem.

Our problem is that we don’t empathize with Black people.

When Philando Castile’s death showed up on Facebook while I was writing this, my wife and I cried together. We didn’t need more information. We didn’t need to see his criminal record. Because who we saw, his life bleeding out of him, was each of her brothers. Her dad. Our son. Our friends. We saw the day, God forbid, when we’re watching the video when the people we love are taken away from us because they look threatening. We saw the day when she has Nick in the back seat and, like Sandra Bland, is pulled over for a broken tail light. We knew that that day could happen, and it ruined us.

What the White community needs more than anything is to see each new story of violence against Black bodies and to have the same sort of emotional response every Black mother has.

Remember Nick? The most incredible, amazing, brilliant child on the planet? I literally cannot find the words to describe how earth-shatteringly bad it would be if something were to happen to him. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the loss of that child would be a deep, deep loss for the future of humanity. Yes, I’m a crazy parent, but if you knew him you’d love him nearly as much as I do–believe me.

White readers, I want you to see the next Tamir Rice case and think about my boy. I want you to mourn with me the fact that this beautiful, incredible child might be taken away from me by the insecurity of a White man with a gun. I want you to see the next Sandra Bland and imagine it’s my wife. Imagine this incredible, insightful, hilarious woman being taken away.

But don’t stop there. Move past me. Learn to put your own kids in there. Imagine how it would feel if each news story made you fear more and more for your own children’s safety, or your brothers’ safety, or your parents’. Develop meaningful relationships with people of color so you no longer empathize with “Matt’s kid I read about in an article,” but “my dear friend Danielle’s baby who’s like a second child to me.” I want you to see the news that Philando Castile has passed and feel the punch in your gut that makes you fear for your child’s Black fifth grade teacher.

I want our hearts, as a community, to break when the Black community’s hearts break. I want us to learn how to empathize with and have compassion for our sisters and brothers. I want us to learn how to mourn with those who mourn.

Caveats/side notes:

  • My children are multiracial. When I refer to them as Black, I mean it. They are Black. They are also White. They are also multiracial. This is how I think of their racial identities. But further, unless they have loose curls and very light skin, multiracial kids are more likely to be seen as Black then they are to be seen as White when it comes to the type of confrontations we’re talking about here.
  • I have written this article as Black & White. These situations impact every race and ethnicity in different ways, but Black/White is the primary racial dynamic in the U.S., and it’s the primary place this problem is happening. Further, I’m White and my wife is Black, so this is what I know best.
  • Most–not all–of what I’ve said here has been said before, better, more eloquently, more powerfully, by Black writers. I’m not a public speaker or an author trying to make sales, and I’m not trying to build a platform for myself on the back of the pain of Black people. I’ve written several articles like this that don’t center on my experience, and was content to leave it that way. But I’ve started to understand recently that White teachers have an opportunity to impact White people in the way that Black teachers don’t. If I’m afraid to use that power because I don’t want someone to criticize the way I’m centering myself in the story, I’m letting my fear keep me from having a positive impact, and I can’t do that.


  1. Thank you for writing this Matt. I’m sorry that you ever had to. I can’t understand everything from your point of view, or your wife or sons for that matter. My point of view is that of an outside observer and I’m saddened by everything going on. Growing up in the South, I’ve seen racism, but it’s never made sense to me. We’re the top of the food chain because we’re capable of intelligence greater than any other species, even though we may not act like it. But that’s the thing right? We’re the same species, Black, White, Asian, Latino, whatever, we’re all Human. At the very core, we’re the same. That’s why I can’t understand bigotry or racism, or what have you.

    I’m not sure of the point I was trying to make, or if I ever had one to begin with. I just wanted thank you, tell you I’m sorry you and your family have to experience this, and to say that I’m saddened that we as a nation, as a people feel this way, but that also, my friend feels this. There’s nothing I can do or say, but if there ever is, name it. Thank you my friend. My prayers are with you and your friends and family, as well as our people — humanity.

    1. This is very poignant and timely from a parent’s perspective. As a mother myself, I have always found the systematically obtuse stance that all things are equal when they most certainly are not, to be heartbreaking. I believe that every life does matter, if this is so, why does it continually appear that some lives matter less than others? Thank you for sharing your fear and your love.

  2. As a white man who grew up in a country with widespread and deadly black on white violence (South Africa), I can relate to the kind of people you mention .. who would call the cops if they see a black man in their neighbourhood at night.

    In SA, giving a black man the benefit of the doubt can get you killed. Every single white person there has either been a victim of violence, or knows someone who has. I was held up and robbed on more than one occasion. A friend of my family was shot and killed. The father of a school friend of mine was shot and killed. I could go on. Getting car-jacked is just part of life …

    We didn’t choose this. We are desperately trying to rebuild a country that was ravaged by decades of Apartheid. Young white people are victims of racist attacks as they are considered responsible for the atrocities committed by their forebears. They didn’t choose this.

    But the perpetrators are victims themselves. Victims of the anger and rage they feel, knowing the decades of atrocities that their forebears had to suffer through. Every act of violence feels like retribution to a young black mind. They’re victims of a system that, to this day, funnel them into a life of crime. They didn’t choose this.

    Then there are the countless black families who also just want to rebuild and move forward. They arguably have it the worst, as they’re victims of both racial prejudice and horrific violence.

    The events we’ve witnessed over the last few weeks … every life lost, every unlawful arrest, every act of violence against the police, just drives a deeper wedge between races. So much fear and anger on both sides.

    But there is hope. And I think you lay out the answer quite clearly in this post – Empathy. The hopeful stories I’ve read about hugs exchanged by cops and black members of the public … when they experience that sudden flash of empathy and realise that everyone is hurting because of this.

    It is hard though. It is in our nature to draw closer to what we know in times like these. Which is why posts like this, stories like yours, are so important. To make both sides realise that someone with a different skin than ours also have loved ones affected by this. That someone with a different skin may be the loved one of someone who shares ours. To realise that we’re not so different as we might think. And we’re certainly not alone.

    I am an Atheist, so I can’t relate at all to how you approach this as a Christian man … but I do believe in love. And I desperately wish every day for love to prevail.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Open and honest conversation spurts growth, understanding, and ultimately empathy. This is the only way we will be able to move forward as one.

      1. Rob…rewrite or rephrase your comment…I hear through your message but, I am black woman and I have been violently victimised by white people. don’t make South African black people sound like savages who are out and about terrorising white South Africans. Every South African has been a victim of the same crimes you have endured. Your unthoughtful selfcentred white privileged comments are the very thing that perpetuate the problem…Matt sorry to hijack your post, it is a serious concern for people who are in mixed relationships they are literally torn apart and it is not a pleasant position to be in but God is faithful because that picture right there is love and that is what the world need to see more of…LOVE!. I do hope God keeps you and your beautiful family. But we can also trust God.

        1. I don’t believe Rob is being insensitive. He shared His experience and he also stated his observation of the frustrations that black South Africans are feeling

        2. Clearly some empathy, understanding and maybe a little open-mindedness is needed here.
          I feel like he was saying that being white where he is from in SA is like being black where others are from here in the US. If the story he tells is true, clearly white privilege is not a factor. THAT is the very thing that perpetuates the problem. That and decided that paining a whole race is evil is the greater wrong than painting what is evil as a victim just to make a point.

      2. The atrocities on white people in ZAF is the aftermath of Apartheid and if want is going on in America is not stop, that is the perpetrators are not punished, but are shielded and the victim rather becomes the perpetrator and punished again, then what is going on ZAF would happen in the USA and ordinary white will be the victims. Let’s avoid this by punishing the police officers who are systematically killing the blacks.

    2. Now that is not fair.

      You are making white people in South Africa seem like victims. We are the ones victimised in our own country. Apartheid was brought by the Dutch people…they divided us using their group areas Act and even today that law affects us. As black people we are divided ourselfs because of that act. The Zulus and Xhosas think their Superior because Mandela (Xhosa) and Zuma (Zulu) were/are Presidents.

      We are called dogs, monkeys and all filthy names by white people. There are still places in South Africa where blacks are not allowed. If you are not happy, by all means, leave and go back to europe. We are tired of being victimised by white people who think they are superior. This has to stop.

      we cant fix this problem by pointing fingers. We need to change our mentality and come to a middle point.

      My husband is afrikaans and it is hard being an interracial couple in South Africa. we both get discriminated by our own people…we get looks, sworn at and etc, but we don’t care…we have found a nice church where people of all nations are welcome and we live in a neighbourhood where everyone is welcome. NOt all white people or black people are bad.

      Its just sad that we still have people who think like you in South Africa. How can we improve if you are full of racism?

      1. Glad I wasnt the only one who raised an eyebrow at this persons comments. I know all about apartheid and what he’s going through pales in comparison to what the blacks SA have had to endure. He/She is playing the victim and I feel no sympathy for them whatsoever.

      2. Qalista, it’s so sad that we see different things in Rob’s message.
        You see him as racist blaming his black neighbours for violence and your only advise to him is “Go back to Europe” (despite the fact he was born in South Africa and the only thing he and people in Europe have in common is the color of their skin). I assume he is no longer in SA, though – and one of the reasons people like him move to the other side of the world, crossing out their past, burning the bridges behind them is that they constantly hear this ‘- go back to Europe, get out of my country, I don’t care you have no other land you may call your own.
        What I see in his message is this – he suffered from “black on white violence” – he is not making up those stories, it’s really happening and he knows why it’s happening, – but he is not “pointing fingers”. He has deep sympathy for (his words) “countless black families who also just want to rebuild and move forward. They arguably have it the worst, as they’re victims of both racial prejudice and horrific violence.” That’s what I see – his sorrow that people are are getting bogged down in the hatred caused by what already happened and have to pick sides..
        There’s no way to change the past – both Apartheid and centuries of slavery affected lives of millions of people, but I don’t think this should dictate how we co-exist today, it should not divide us. There are no right or wrong in this fight, there will be no winners. We need to move on – and it does not mean “forget the past”. We need to learn to listen to each other – though it’s so hard, we all have different life experience and views, that definitely affect our perception of some else’s words. I am trying my best to express my feelings, but I am sure someone would see in my words quite an opposite of what I am trying to say. But we need these discussions, understating the problem would not do any good..

        1. Eloquently said. ALL PAIN MATTERS. I don’t care if the color of your skin is fucking purple, YOUR PAIN MATTERS. A white father, a black father, THE PAIN OF LOSING THEIR SON MATTERS. Stop the separation. The solution is LOVE. The solution starts with you.

          Although this conversation slightly shifted topic from the post, it is a prime example of the root cause of our problems today.

          This was written in the context of black and white inequalities. One could write a similar article as one of the million Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives only to arrive in a country with whom people have no compassion and see them as less than human, not even deserving a roof over their head. Or the mother of a gay son who chose to take his own life because he felt that would be easier than living in an unexcepting society. Or the daughter of a police officer who was killed on the job. Black lives matter, white lives matter, Syrian lives matter, LGBT lives matter. ALL FUCKING LIVES MATTER!

          We have got to stop this separation. I implore you, me, we, to implement more love into our lives. Now. Today, everyday. At every chance we get. Show compassion. Treat others as you wish to be treated. As if the black teenage boy was your white teenage boy.

          And that’s where the magic happens. Be the change you wish to see on the world. And as a collective whole we will make a difference.

          “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” MLK

      3. I don’t think Rob is being racist, but simply pointing out that all sides suffer from rascism – that everyone that tries to just live an ordinary life in SA experience the repercussions of the past. It takes a long time to heal and re-align a whole social structure. The white youth of today are not necessarily like their parents or grandparents.

        Assumptions are made constantly. When every one merely sees skin colour, we don’t see that we are all children, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers – we only see Other. And that is when alienation, rejection, and harm of this ‘Other’ occurs – whether it is a brown child, a white grandmother, or black teenager walking home. And that is one of the saddest things about the human race, that we still embrace a psychology of alienation and violence upon those we deem ‘Other’ or are of no use to us.

        It is time now for the privileged of every race, to be strong and refuse to partake in the tolerance of violence upon others. Why is George Zimmerman still walking free? Why are we allowing cops with a history of violence or racist tendencies to work?

        We all really need to come together on this, and refuse to put up with the violence.

    3. Widespread deadly black on white violence is crossely overstated given the history of brutal attacks on black people during the arpatheid….the covertly and recently more overtly racist attacks on black people. We can never change as a nation if we still see SA in this myopic frame of reference….and I would like to believe that this is not a bad choice of words but rather an economic, political and cultural distortion of SA history….everything else I more or less agree with.

    4. You rape an entire culture
      Then complain when we say
      That the cheap change you throw at us
      After you have had your way with us
      Won’t cover the cab fare

      But you already know that
      Because you stole home, too.

      Cancer cells supplant the rightful
      And they are white with violence

    5. Rob M, with all due respect your sense of superiority and white privilege is clouding your judgement. There’s no special crime that happens exclusively to white South Africans, infact stats will show you more blacks die, get robbed in their homes and high jacked in road than whites. No black family has not experienced a tragic death in their family due to crime, so to make it appear as only whites are targeted in very misleading.

      But perhaps you only know crime happening to whites because like majority white South Africans, the only encounter you have with blacks is that of employer (white) and employees (black). So you have no idea how your fellow country men who sometimes lives just 10kms away from you live, but believe you me its much worse for blacks with no money to hire private security like you do.

    6. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and words. I am a Christian, but I could not think of a more perfect way to put it. Love, empathy, and forgiveness.

  3. Love this. It’s so much easier to listen to someone who’s heart is in his message, and who is not just looking for clicks because his job depends on it.

  4. Very powerful…strong message. As a young man, I had no idea that this, about which you write, was happening. I am white of northern European extraction. I grew up in a sheltered, privileged and secure suburban home (white America). I married a black woman and through her eyes and those of her family, I became more aware of the plight of African Americans, the injustice of the “justice” system, the way in which racism destroys people, etc.

    I am happy that you wrote this piece. I hope it helps to educate those of us who just plain do not get it.

  5. Heartfelt truth. I have friends and family who are married to white men and women and they feel the same as you but not brave enough to say. Thank you so much for sharing

  6. Well written mate. You have a beautiful family and, as a Father of two girls blessed with living in Australia, I can’t imagine having to feel like this. No one should have to live or feel like this. But, I’m an outsider. Only Americans can fix this. As you correctly note, Americans will argue loudly (and from an outsiders perspective, often irrationally) over issues they feel strongly about such as gun control etc, but seemingly not about these systematic murders. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

  7. This is me too. I have 3 multi racial grandchildren and 1 great grand child. I just buried their mother because she never judged anyone by their race, sexuality, religious choice or….anything. She was killed because she was white. It happens to all. I have had to have “the talk” with my “black and white” grandchildren as well because I fear for them. They have been raised in a white suburban lifestyle and don’t always fit in to either culture. I therefore am afraid for them everywhere they go. This world has GOT to change. I can’t bare to bury another.

    1. So sorry for your loss. Your grandbabies ( yes I call them grandbabies my oldest is 16) are so blessed to have you in their lives. Just speak truth to them. Be open to any fears they or you have. And just keep LOVING them.

  8. So Powerful!!! This brought me to tears because your Sweet Wife Tereva was my student in middle school. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Chi but if he is anything like his Mother, he is smart, talented and beautiful! I am so heartbroken at the fact that our young men and women are being murdered in broad daylight and our fellow human beings are turning their heads and pretending not to know. Thank You for your courage and passion in sharing this issue from the prospective of a man who is seeing this through the lens of love! Love for his wife and his beautiful baby boy!! God Bless you, Chi and my Sweet Tereva!!

  9. Such incidents happening in the world’s most powerful and developed country makes me doubt its progress in human relationships and communication. What’s the difference between security perception of citizens from Afganistan and those in America if a parent had to be so concerned for his child ??

  10. Thank you for this. I pray that it helps open the eyes of those who are blind to this, and those who would wish to remain so.

  11. beautiful piece that made me tear. I’ll share this with my class in Singapore about empathy and race relations in the US. Keep writing.

  12. Sorry to hear about your struggle. I’ve had a similar problem which my family, sadly, ran away from. Hopefully, you won’t need to, ever. Keep up the fight – it’s the one and only way to get to that moment in history when one generation will wonder how ours could’ve had such problems with race or ethnicity in the first place.

  13. I’m a black ‘human’ reading this from Africa, and yes we are all following the sad events. So many similarities even here. Thank you for being courageous to write, and in a way being a bridge…I learn a lot from you on the software side, and this is another side of you that proves you are a human, not an alien writing code…lol…Thank you for standing up for the ‘underprivileged’

  14. Thank you. I wish I could get all my white friends to read this. I have long said that the only resolution will be when there is a majority of multi-racial people walking around. The more we become mixed, the more understanding, and hopefully tolerance. May the blessing of safety for your family always surround you. May Chi and his sister grow up and spread the knowledge and love you and your wife teach them.

  15. Totally agree with you that “White teachers have an opportunity to impact White people in the way that Black teachers don’t.” I think what you’re doing, by sharing your story, is incredibly valuable. My husband is Black and I am White. We live in the UK (although he’s originally from New York), so we don’t see the exact same situations here. I didn’t really understand it until I read your perspective, so thank you for sharing.

  16. I’ve just come across your blog, and I’m glad I did. You’re saying so many things I haven’t yet been able to put into words, but like you, I want to #dosomething! Thank you for your courage, and your thoughtfulness, and your ability to put your thoughts on (electronic) paper.

  17. Matt it’s refreshing to read this and not feel alone. As a mother of two biracial girls, a wife of a black man, and sister of two biracial Brothers I worry on a daily basis. I worry about my husband going to work, coming home with out me in the car.

    I truly believe that most white people just can’t understand because they’ve never experienced it they don’t have anyone they know who has been pulled over and demand or talk down to just because of the color of there skin. When you experience it firsthand it changes your perspective.

    It’s sad when you and your partner want to have another baby but worry about it being a boy.. 🙁

  18. Thank you for this Matt! I felt your pain as I read this. I will continue to pray for ALL of our sons!! God Bless you!

  19. Thank you, Matt for all that you have said here – and particularly for the final sentence in the “side notes.” I started thinking, last night, that there needs to be more white voices – ally voices – being interviewed and heard through the media. I think this only in hope that white voices might better move more white people. Yet, I am conscious of also not want to talk over black voices. There is much to say, by all involved; and you have inspired me to say more, as I listen to others. Peace.

  20. I’m going to be honest with you, Matt. I was skeptical when I started reading your article. ‘Here’s another white guy looking down from his privileged perch trying to let everyone see that he’s the smartest guy in the room by trying to verbalize a concept that’s completely alien to him’. I was thinking that poking some seriously big holes in this guy’s story would be like shooting fish in a barrel. I kept reading with a wary eye for a weakness in the story’s fabric; some place where I could ‘poke a finger through’ and say, yeah see, this guy’s full of crap. So, continuing to read, and wait, I got to the end, realizing that there was no chance to poke any holes because your story was solid.

    1. Matt wrote a magnificent account of this need for empathy. And, you, Alfred wrote a beautiful response to it. Thank you, to both of you!!

  21. Yes, you give words to the fears I have, I am in the same situation as you. My wonderful girlfriend is black, my (unborn) son…with a future of constant worry because of the color of his skin 🙁

  22. My family is multiracial, down to the great great grandchildren, if you like. We are Asian, Hispanic, Black, White. We are Family.

  23. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BLACK STRUGGLE MATT!! I wish nothing but love and peace for you and your family.

  24. This article was very inspiring. Thank you Matt for speaking up. Being a Black &Gay Male I’m subjected to such harsh moments in life. I have been gay bashed and threatened on numerous occasions. Our law enforcement wasn’t able to help me out. I felt hopeless.
    Just recently, the retail company I work for lost 3 lovely young men in the Orlando Shooting. This gun violence is out of control.
    My heart goes out to every Black life that was taken way too soon. Black lives matter = All lives. I have my fears but I will not let the hatred of world ruin all the positive things that will happen soon. I’m hopeful through Gods sweet grace.

  25. I’m personally offended by the fact that when people have mixed children they are automatically considered black.I’m a white woman and I’m the one who carried and gave birth. So what does that make me. I have been through all the drama with people talking about me and my black daddy and my mixed children. When your only 10 years old who really cares about color. I think racism is a learned behavior. People have to teach you to be that way. Kids play together all the time with each other.They don’t care about skin color.They have fun playing. I remember my daughter coming home from school crying one day.When I asked what was wrong she said they were picking on her because she had a crush on a little white boy. It made me realize she needs an answer. Gee I thought to myself,wow I’m white,wonder if that bothers her too. Anyways I told her if it happens again you tell tell them,you’re just jealous because I have the best of both worlds and your stuck in one.That was the best I could have done.Why can’t we all just get along. Love thy neighbors.

    1. That makes you the mother of a bi/mutli racial child. His truth doesn’t have to be yours. No one can tell you what that truth is. Society will always try to tell you what you or your child should be classified as. It’s up to you to keep that in check,if you want.
      You’re right, prejudice and racism are taught. That’s why it keeps going and is hard to combat. That won’t be the first time your daughter’s choices will be ridiculed or challenged based on race. Your’s either I’m sure. What I hope for you is that you will be able to instill confidence in her and cultivate it in yourself.
      I can tell by what you told her that it’s going to be a steep learning curve. Be careful of Colorism.

    2. Catherine, I don’t believe your children are considered black automatically. What a blessing it is to honor and partake in each part of our heritage! Unfortunately however, many will see your child’s skin color and assume his/her partial blackness, not his partial whiteness. He will need to be taught how to deal (physically & emotionally) with certain situations as a black boy/man that he wouldn’t have to think about as a white boy/man. That’s simply where this country is right now. Who are you? You are his momma, who will fiercely protect him by teaching him this truth, as well as his heritage. They are absolutely not bothered because their mom is white. They love you completely and trust you implicitly. Please don’t avoid this important responsibility because you are offended that his white half is not being acknowledged. Teach him to come home to you every day, so he can continue to appreciate his entire heritage. May God bless you & your family.

    3. Your child and anyone else’s child that is black/white is considered black. That’s the way the government and America has made it. As the mother and grandmother of biracial kids, I am proud to have them be considered “Black” and not passing because they have light skin. My grandson is Black, my daughter is Black despite having a white father. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sorry about your disdain about your daughter being considered Black. She is Black, so deal with it!

  26. Great article, I to have 3 multiracial children, two girls and a son. My daughters have a Masters Degree and a jurist doctorate. My son just graduated from College and is pursuing his love for music. My children do not call themselves black, but biracial, they would never try to diss their white mother. I understand everything you’re saying, but I love that my children are biracial and have the beautiful tan skin and such good . You have a beautiful family and I hope the world gets it together real soon so all people can be respected the way they should be.

    1. I didn’t think anyone who identifies as black, when they are biracial mean to “diss” the other side. I actually think the bi-racial experience is more complex than that.
      I wondered, where you going to say good hair?

  27. Thank you for being so courageous and humble. Thank you for putting your wife and son front and center. This is exactly what this country needs now.

  28. I just had this talk with my white husband. Our son will not be allowed to play with a toy gun like we did when we were kids because we are scared someone will kill him if he points a toy gun at someone. They can easily say they feared for their lives or thought the gun was real one. My husband loves wearing hodies especially during the winter month; my son will not be allowed to wear one outside the house or after dark.

  29. Thank you for your wonderfully written story! I have been involved in interracial relationships most of my life and, coincidentally, my mother was, too, so I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have aunts, uncles, cousins and, formerly, a brother who all are black. I never had children of my own but my four-year-old godson, whom I love as my own and is my EVERYTHING, is also biracial aka: black. Just like you described your son, my godson is the sweetest, most amazing boy I’ve ever met in my life. I commented to a friend the other day how it breaks my heart that one day I know I will have “the talk” with him. Not the sex talk (I’m sure we will have that one, too!) but the how-to-carry-himself-in-particular-situations talk. I pray for all of our sons, daughters, friends, and family of color as well as our country. I pray that the good will outweigh the bad and maybe one day, “the talk” will no longer have to be given to our children. I have to believe that day will come otherwise… well, it’s just too heartbreaking to think about. Thank you again. {{peace and blessings}}

  30. I have never thought of Black parents giving their ” children the talk.” How is this still happening in America? My heart is with all parents who are scared for their children.
    I’ve never had children and I would never want to be in the position of being scared for my babies.
    Prayer’s of protection for all.

    1. I am sure you have heard about it but never really thought about the implications of it right? It is talked about in the media after nearly every one of these shootings. So for America to feel that this is not a legitimate concern or fear is debunked by the simple fact that this talk exists. I am glad you are thinking it through and seeing that something is wrong with this picture. #wearrthechaangewewanttosee

      1. Not everywhere in America. I have asked my neighbors of color, and they don’t have the “talk” with their children. It would not occur to them (which blows my mind). Some of the officers in a local city’s police force go to churches to have the “talk” with entire congregations. The fear is that our people will be traveling out of the area, get pulled over, and be hurt by the police unaware of the dangers of driving around in their own skin. Locals of all colors who have never lived outside of our area can be truly clueless.

        But I recall when I went to college in NC (in the early 80s) being pulled over for walking with a black college student (engineering). The cops wanted to make sure that I was safe! I told them that of course I was safe. I had my six and half foot tall friend with me. The cops pressed a little further and asked if I was sure. I then went hillbilly on them, and gave them hell for being bigoted idiots. They left. Sadly, my daughter had the same conversation with the police thirty some years later, except she was driving with a black man. Glad to say that she reacted the same way I did.

  31. Thank you Matt for this piece. It was heartfelt, beautiful and truthful. My son is now 13 and I recently had the “talk” with him. Of course he was a little confused but I felt as though I should give him a preview of the real “talk” that I will eventually have to have with him again. Although he’s not mixed black or white, he is mixed Latino and Black and although he could pass for anything, except for white, I instill in him some people will look past the light brown skin and curly hair only see blackness. I fear for him living in the south where people are not as diverse and are more closed minded than my New York home. I pray and hope for all HUMANS to just see love.

  32. I love this article. As a mother of not just a black child a black child with autism. I’m scared that the flashing lights of a police car aggravates him,and sends him into a meltdown and a cop freaks out and shoots. As he gets older I already see he will be a big boy and they are threatened by his size with the possibility they scare him and he doesn’t respond. Thanks for your article.

    1. Me too. I am a black mother of a biracial /black child (white dad)with severe autism. He’s 5’8″,14 , non-verbal,thinks he’s a toddler,and doesn’t like getting in cars…He also has meltdowns and when he’s rolling on the ground and I’m trying to lift him hasn’t been a pleasant experience. Even though I’m with him, he has escaped the house and walked down the street in his pajamas or just a diaper(yes, he’s that sereve).The sad thing is no matter how much of the talk I try to give him, he doesn’t full understand. So I have to make sure I or his caregiver are wity him round the matter how tired I am. Because evevethough I know they’re good policemen here and there(my older male cousin, ex bf in my 20s, etc) I wouldn’t know the mindset or thoughts a cop may have with my son or even me. Looking at me you can’t see my degrees,my intelligence,or the fact I’m introverted and like to keeo to myself and read a good book. That I love metal,country, as much as other genres. I love science. Iwanted to be a naturalist and veterinarian when I wasa kid and in college but decided to go into computers and business.It’s not just males that become hashtags…As a single mother I worry about myself. Thank you for sharing your story,Mr. Stauffer.

  33. Thank you for this. I have four daughters from 2 previous relationships. My current husband is White. We are trying to conceive and I have worried about that decision. How would I talk to or do parents of biracial children have to have the talk? I was starting to worry when I didn’t see any postings from interracial families. So again thank you for this very well written and unique perspective.

  34. I enjoyed your article.I am also scared for my son not only because he’s black he also has autism. I worry if I get pulled over and the lights aggravate him ,and sends him into a meltdown his movements takes the officer off guard and he fires. When he gets older he will be a big boy. What if his size intimidates them and he doesn’t follow directions. Those are my fears. Thank you

  35. This is beautifully written and I thank you for it. I feel you may have captured in words what I know my husband likely feels in his heart but is unable to convey due to the emotional exhaustion caused by our current state of affairs. We too are a BW/WM couple with biracial/multiracial children (the fact that we have to categorize ourselves and our kids makes me livid). They are children – period – and they deserve better than this world is offering them now. After last week’s events, I could no longer sit back and do nothing so I’ve been reaching out to others to find ways, albeit small ways, to make a difference. In my opinion, you’ve done that here – by showcasing your beautiful interracial family and showing that at the center of your family is the most important thing that we should all be offering today – LOVE and compassion. I believe that your son is as incredible as you’ve described. My husband and I feel the same way about our son. If you feel so inclined, please reach out to me as I’d love to discuss how we can offer a glimmer of hope and most importantly, a sense of community for our children.

  36. Thank you for taking the time to write this. So many people are in denial or just have no idea because they haven’t experienced what people of color have. Maybe your testimony will open some hearts and eyes.

  37. In my universe people are just two types – good or bad . . . . . I wish that in reality was that simple. Beautifully written.

  38. I too was raised in multi racial communities as a black youth. My best friends growing up or of every race imaginable. Coming from an eclectic neighborhood, it was a slap of ice water in the face when I learn how people could behave for the simple fact of my having an excess of melanin in my epidermis. I continue to have friends of all races, both friends and lovers… But I’m always reminded of the overwhelming reality. We need to change our thinking in America!

  39. Thank you Matt, just thank you. Thank you for not sugar coating this life or death struggle. Thank you for being realistic enough to know that regardless of your “whiteness”, that this world will pigeon hole your beautiful children into a racial type. Thank you for appreciating Chi’s awesome individualism, and encouraging him to be himself!!! But, most of all, thank you for loving your black wife, and you black children, and voicing your compassion and understanding using this public platform.

  40. Matt, I am not sure this has ever been said better. I am the grandma of white/Mexican grandchildren and blessed to be the great grandma to a black/white/ mexican girl who I love more than breath itself. I live in a small town and see how people look when we are in the market. These people who claim that color and sexual orientation don’t matter are looking at Amirah as if she is an alien from outer space. This wonderful, smart, joyful girl who has the ability to melt your heart and make you laugh. I am so lucky to be loved by her. I know first hand that what you say is true about the distrust and watchful eye. I have seen it. Your perspective as a white man may make another white man who takes the time to read your post change his mind. It all starts with one person. Your Chi looks like a happy, healthy boy with a big life ahead of him. He is lucky to have you as a parent.

  41. Thank you for this, I too have a black son, and I myself am white. It makes me so sad we have to say and write these things, but they are so true. Beautifully written, and I hope many people connect with what you have said.

  42. I think this is very interesting. You child is bi-racial, you identify him as black, however he will benefit from light skin prilivages. That comes with its own Colorism struggles.
    He might be given more of a chance, he might seem less threatening because he’s not as dark. It’s a reality and it’s a shame. It’s something your family will deal with eventually.
    I appreciate the empathy and emotion of this article. I think you have a gift and I hope it inspires others of your caliber to speak up.

  43. I too, have a biracial granddaughter, Jada’, who is 2 1/2 years old. She is the brightest, smartest, most beautiful Child. I fear for what the future holds for her due to the killings in the black community

  44. Thank you for sharing, this makes me sad and I hope and pray that things will change for the better for all in this situation.

  45. Thank you for conveying what I fear as well. I’m white my wife is black and we have a 1 yr old beautiful bi-racial boy. I can’t get then images Out of my head and I am committed to doing whatever I can to make sure this isn’t something my son will need to worry about in the future. Wishing u and ur family the best.

  46. Yes, all of this is so true, I don’t ever recall any of my white or Asian friends have the same fear or worry about their sons on how a cop would treat there child. There are good cops, and there are bad cops with a badge. I pray daily for our youth, my sons, and grandson’s. The media has made the incident in Texas a race issue, he was a young man dealing with what he did, and seen while in service. He watch innocent young men die for no reason. We don’t know if he was receiving treatment from VA or not. PTSD is no joke, and there are far too many soldiers, Vet’s walking around trying to deal with issues we will never know or could imagine. I prayed for his soul, and those that lost their lives, those that were wounded for being in the right place at the wrong time. I pray for their families going through this tragedy, I pray for peace, love and understanding. Deuteronomy 28, the book of Daniel and Revelation. The the is for filling it self. Prepare your children for what is to come, seek comfort in the Lord. Satan will use whoever he chose if you don’t know the Lord. Stand firm, trust in Jesus.

  47. I’ve had to have the talk with my 17 and 10 year old sons! Don’t play with toy guns even when you are at a friend’s house and they are playing with them. My teenager is a new driver, I worry myself sick every time he leaves the house. I literally break out in hives with chronic stomach pains, from the moment he leaves the house until he returns ! I told him , if you get pulled over put your hands out of the window, be polite even if the cop is ragging mad! The goal is to come home, we can get into a fight later! I even purchased a car camera to record his journey. I get angry when he wears a hoodie, I’m fearful for his life! The last time he wore a hoodie, I asked him, “why?” He looked at me and politely said, ” it’s raining outside….” I’m so tired of being sick and tired! I’m tired of worrying about my boys’ safety! I hate that I have to have such grown-up conversations with my 10 year old, but I don’t have a choice! The bigots and racist have robbed my boys of their childhood and I’m angry about! I don’t need sympathy or empathy! I just need the cops who gun down unarmed black men, just for being black, to be promptly arrested, charged, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

    1. Really Sam. The murderous cops should be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law. No one (holding a gun) should have the right to kill a defenseless human being just because they were scared of their height or because they appeared too dark? Pu-lease! The focus of discussions should be how to arrest the unlawful police officers (or were they lawful in the killings?) this I think would calm frayed nerves and justice would be seen to be served.

  48. Thank you Matt. My prayer is that someone who doesnt understand, will read this and at lease begin to understand.

  49. Thank you for writing my story too. I am the white mother of two grown black/biracial sons. I was shocked when my husband had The Talk with each of them because of my ignorance and naïveté. It is no longer shocking. It is a necessity. You have to wound your own child in order to protect him. Or try to protect him. Sadly, though, by the time your son is old enough for The Talk, he will have experienced other forms of racism already. My older son’s 3rd grade teacher didn’t believe him that his (black) dad was a professor. My younger son was called n…r more than once (and we live in a liberal college town). In other words, they were already wounded by the time of The Talk.
    Of course, this is little comfort. One of my sons will be driving alone across country in a few weeks, and it scares me. What should be an adventure seems a little like an extreme sport right now.
    I see my sons just like you see yours. They are kind, loving, intelligent men with hearts of gold. If only they could always be treated as such. If only.

  50. Hello Matt; I was born in a country where culture and not color is the defining factor in looking at a person. I still am not happy with this, since I prefer to define ourselves by our moral and ethical values. Although I now am an American citizen, I can’t help but keep many of the values of my youth. Those values prevent me from rejecting any of the cultures and ethnicities that form part of my being. As such, others may label me but I will not accept it. I see your family and see a beautiful and loving one, through the happy eyes of your son Chi. I do not see a black child and I do not see a white child. I see Chi as a product of a loving family and he will be, and he will act in accordance with the civilized values that you impart on him.
    I have grandchildren colored with all the hues of the rainbow, and one thing I see them having is a confidence in themselves and in the love of their family. Continue to give him the love I see in the picture and he will deal with discrimination and benevolent curiosity as we do. He will love his country for all the good things it has and for all the opportunities it gives. He will put in proper place those actions which may hurt him or hurt you. He is your child, not a product with a label. We are as good as we react to adversity and stand up to it. He will be ok by your side.

  51. I want to say to these cops/perpetrators what I say to my sons: I don’t care what “name” has done, it is NEVER a reason to shoot(infraction) someone. Would you want them to shoot you?”

  52. I adopted my Haitian son when he was 14…I had been his white teacher. We immediately had the talk…we lived in a gated community and I had to tell him, don’t jump the wall instead of going through the gate because if the police drive by and see you, you will be on the ground so fast, and they won’t care that you live here. I hated having that talk but I had to let him know that i knew…He is now 33. he is a responsible adult, he went to school, he has a career that he loves but I am still afraid for him. He is a lovely person, he has impecible manners, he knows to be polite if a policeman stops him but I am still afraid for him. I can imagine your fear and your desire to protect your son from racism but it is so important that he be prepared for it…and I am so sad that this is the case. I appreciate what you have written….

  53. This. My children are biracial and my husband is black and last week was heart breaking and I have been feeling the fear. For my husband and our kids. No longer able to comfort myself with “it wouldn’t happen in my town” or other false logic. Thanks for stating your thoughts so eloquently. As I just have not been able to put it into words.

  54. When my white son was a teenager, he went to his grandmother’s house which requires driving through a black neighborhood. He was driving a 1985 Lincoln Towncar because he had wrecked his car. He was pulled over simply because he was a white teen, driving a Lincoln Towncar, in a black neighborhood. The police totally ransacked the car to a point that it was never completely able to be put back into it’s original condition. He was not speeding, he made no illegal turn, he did not run any red lights. He did nothing illegal. The difference was, he was respectful. After taking the car completely apart, they allowed him to go. He didn’t argue with them, he kept his hands appropriately placed on the steering wheel, he was polite. When a police officer approaches a car, he/she does not know what the person in the car may or may not be planning, or what they may have done. You are correct in the fact that white people are less reactive than black or Hispanic people, got that matter. You mentioned black culture. There is a high preponderance of incarcerated black & Hispanic people. I can understand the need for “The Talk”. Perhaps the black culture might need a paradigm shift. Prior to this incident, my son had Hispanic friends who got involved in drugs. He, too, got involved. My husband & I intervened. His friends smashed his car & slashed his tires. My son had to walk away from his friends & make a new life for himself. I do have very good friends of different ethnicities. I know plenty of black people & Hispanic people who are very good people. I have Muslim friends & Asian friends. I have students of all ethnicities & races whom I love with all my heart. Some of them I think of as my own children & I would jump through hoops for them. If the culture is the problem, then the culture needs to get fixed.

  55. Hi Matt,you have a beautiful family! I’m black and have family in Scotland /England that are in relationships or married to whites but when we get together, we don’t see color, we see one big happy family. The past couple of days the stories in the news are truly heartwrenching, I truly understand you exactly what your wrote, I once lived in a white neighbourhood where my friend and I were pulled over or followed! You never truly know what a person goes through until you have walked in their shoes! Thank you Matt!

  56. Thank you Matt for sharing your story my husband and I have the same concerns as we help raise our multicultural granddaughter. This world needs to remember we are all human beings regardless of our color. We are ALL important.

  57. My friend got pulled over and he politely asked the cop what he had done. The cop called backup but my friend was smart enough to remain calm. When all was done instead of the cop giving him his license and reg he threw them to the ground and cursed at him. He and his friends were coming from playing tennis at 3:00 pm in the afternoon. This is the reason you have to give the talk to your teenage son. That no matter what the cop does he cannot react. Even when the police are trying to aggravate him into trouble.

  58. A must read for radio talk host Michael Berry of Houston, TX. He continually promotes racial tension by justifying the wrong doing of a FEW policemen . Daily he makes fun of the black on black crime in Chicago as though the victims of the crimes are less than human.
    With that being said, I must pray that those who participate in black on black crime realize that they are creating a smoke screen for other cowardly and heartless individuals to hide behind while taking their lives and the lives of the innocent.

  59. You expressed exactly how I feel and did so perfectly. I do not have black children, but mine are also multi-racial. During this past week, I can hear my father’s words when I announced that I was marrying a man who was Chinese and Mexican. He first extolled the virtues of my wonderful, intelligent and kind husband. Then he said “My only pain is thinking of the day when people spit on your children.” It was 1970 and I was rebellious enough to tell him that I could handle whatever the future would bring. It has been 45 years of marriage and even my grandchildren suffer taunts about their heritage! This country has not grown or changed as I had wished in my youth. My boys were stopped by police regularly in our small, white town. Although they were never in trouble, the police never stopped trying to find a way to prove that they would eventually “catch them”. They all suffered sterotypes. “Go do some calculus, cuz you can’t drive” or “Do you eat dog meat?” “You might be one of the good Mexicans”. And on and on. When my daughter won a scholarship, it was “because you are a minority”. However, when she became a US Air Force pilot, it got tougher to find the stereotype. I continue to pray for our children and now my grandchildren. I fear that it won’t stop until continue to mix and we create one race…the human race.

    1. I must say that I live in a different America. One where our police do not abuse people because of their skin color. I feel so sorry for folks living out there, or down there, in the rest of America. It would never occur to our local police to be afraid of people because of their skin color, which is what gets so many people of color killed. The real question I have is why are we so different. This seems like such a ubiquitous problem, and I remember threats and hostility when my dad enforced desegregation in our county during the sixties. He was assistant district attorney but even then it was only in a few of the local communities that there were any problems. Most celebrated civil rights as a collective freedom.

  60. Thank you for this. Beautiful & from the heart. I have 3 boys (age 20, 13, and 2), my heart has been so heavy esp these past few months. I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m fearful….your words were needed right now.

  61. Matt:
    I am an African-American dad. As I read your blog I cried. As the father of a young man who has had a wonderful and fortunate life so far, I know he is one shameful incident away from tragedy. I see hope in his eyes for a new world. I hope that we can all come together to see a new day. Until then I will die a little more inside with each tragedy we face as a community. Thank you for sharing and speaking so bravely.

  62. I just had a “mini- talk” with my 8 year old son about this yesterday. Although, I didn’t see it as a “color” thing, but more as an “of the times” thing. We were in the car & he was pointing a finger at the window & pretending it was a gun. (Pretty typical little boy stuff.) Anyway, I explained to him that there are actually people who could think that it was a threat & shoot back. I plan to have a lot more talks with him about things such as this, including being pulled over by a police officer, when he’s of driving age. But, it’s not because of his color. It’s because of how people in general have been conditioned to respond because of repeated threats. If you haven’t worked as a police officer, or ridden along with one on a typical beat to see what officers deal with, then you cannot understand the constant threat. It is very sad what has become to our society and that we have to protect our children in this way, but until the threat is gone, it will remain the same. We’re not in Mayberry, folks. Protecting ourselves and our children is the most primal instinct. To break it down a little, here’s an example: I have a farm and we have electric fence around our property. I keep my animals contained by this little piece of wire. It doesn’t always work; we often have shorts, but our animals won’t go near it. This is because they have been shocked enough times to realize that it is a threat. They have been conditioned. If my wire has shorted out enough times that they realize it is no longer working, then my critters get out, because the threat has lessened. Think how a police officer feels every time he has to pull someone over. It’s not just a shock from a wire; his life is threatened. He has to assume “the wire is hot” even if it may very well not be. His life depends on it. He has been conditioned to expect the worst. My job, as a parent, is to help my son walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Understand the “conditioning” and lessen the threat.

  63. Thank you! Thank you! As the white mother of a soon to be black man you have said everything I feel in my head. My son is 13 and slowly turning from a boy to a man and it scares me with the trouble this world is facing. Anything anyone can say to open someone’s mind to see what we feel and experience is truly a blessing.

  64. Pingback: HMI Breeze
  65. I have no real words to say, other than I hear you and I stand with you. I’m a white and a dad to 3 white children, to a black/white baby girl and a step-dad to a young black teenager. I love them all. I hope they are all safe when I’m not with them. I hope they are safe when I am with them!

    I’ve been using the hashtag #ComeHomeAlive recently. I hope we all make it.

  66. We all have fears for children, regardless if race. We are all taught they same Police Protocol. As a white woman in Suburbs, when dealing with law enforcement I have to keep my hands where they can see them, etc..etc.. No, I don’t know what it’s like for a black boy in the suburbs. I don’t really know inner city structure. I’m from small town America. I do know that we share a similar concern, as a Mom of 4 Boys. (21, 19, 18 and 10)

    1. Heatha
      We certainly are not all taught the same protocol. This is the falsity that covers racism. Most white children, unless you live in Afghanistan or a similar war zone, never have to hear THE TALK. Keeping your hands where police can see them doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of the necessary conversation which Children of Color. Your thinking so is analagous to suggesting “fasten your seat belts” is enough of a flight safety briefing. Not even close. The depth of fear parents of Black children experience when they leave the home is not typical just because you have teenagers. Further to your mind set, thrusting “all lives matter” in the midst of conversation with a father distraught about the future of his Black child suggests you go to a Breast Cancer fundraiser shouting “Multiple Sclerosis kills too!” Thank God daily for your privilege that allows you to be inured to other people’s pain

  67. Thank you for this article. My husband is white, I’m black, and thankfully we have a little girl. I wonder if we should have another child – what if it’s a boy? We live in a very racially mixed neighborhood, but of course that doesn’t matter if tour child isn’t home. I hate that we, as black parents, have to even consider having “The Talk”. I hate that our country has to regressed to this point.

  68. I am white and I am married to a black man. Yes, there are always going to be those who are racist, but I am not afraid. I am raising my children to be good people. I am raising them with awareness for their surroundings, respect, and dignity. It is not a time to be afraid. It is a time to make a difference. Have you ever heard the words “Kill them with kindness.” I am not afraid my black children will be murdered by racist cops because they won’t have a reason to be. Stand up people and raise a generation of children that go against the grain. Show them how to do it because your children will model you. It is time for everyone…white, black, asian, mexican, and purple to stand up and change this world because our future is in our children’s faces. Do not teach fear! Teach change because that is what we need!

    1. Thanks for your response Ashley. I don’t want to teach my son fear, but I don’t also want to put my head in the clouds and miss the danger.

      Here’s the problem I have with what you said: “I am not afraid my black children will be murdered by racist cops because they won’t have a reason to be.”

      The problem with Black people being murdered is not that they have more reasons to be. It’s that, given exactly the same amount of “reasons to be murdered”, whatever those may be, Black people will be more likely to be killed.

      Suggesting that all you need to do is teach your kids to be nice, and that’s enough to protect them, is dangerous. Was Tamir Rice not nice? Was Philando Castile not nice? Was Trayvon Martin not nice? Their niceness didn’t do anything to save them.

      1. Yes. THIS. Not having reason to be killed or arrested or pulled over is exactly WHY people are so hurt and angry.

  69. Matt – your message resonates a discussion I had with my dear friend and coworker, Rhonda back in the 1980’s. Rhonda was the first black person to have an open race discussion with me and it made me uncomfortable for what I didn’t see. White people we worked with who always seemed friendly and kind, yet when I wasn’t present she’d get the look. I couldn’t believe it, but then I started to watch more closely and could see and feel it. She told me about the talk she had with her son Anthony, a tall, smart, quiet young man who was polite to all. She shared that she told him he will get pulled over for no reason. That he needed to maintain Eye contact, to be polite, answer sir or madam, to keep his hands visible at all times. I hate that our country, the country where we celebrate the most freedoms still treat our black brothers and sisters indifferently.

    I am not perfect and need to do better. I remember providing in home child care for a black family the 1980’s and I took heat for doing so by a coworker. I didn’t understand what their issue was but learned to watch and see it. I remember when their daughter brought home some friends and one was a young black man, and her father had a fit. I don’t get this.

    I was engaged to a Greek man and the relationship had to be quiet. His brother explained to me that their parents would look at me like whites look at black people.

    So wrong in every way.

    Through my actions of treating all people with kindness, I am proud to say my sons are colorblind. I would hope that their generation can make oh so much more progress or accepting all people for whom they are.

    Bless you for raising awareness. May your family always be safe.

  70. Matt, thank you for what you’ve written. I live in UK. I’m a Black woman with a white partner. I have 2 son , one daughter and 3 grandchildren. I weep when I think about what is happening in the US. I have never had to warn my sons about how they should act if confronted by the police in the UK. The UK is not perfect but our every day police don’t carry guns, which is good and although racial stereotyping does still occur it doesn’t usually result in a death. I can only imagine what it must be like to try to protect from and prepare your son for a situation where his life could be threatened by those who should be there to protect him. My heart goes out to you and all the parents of Black boys in the US.

  71. Matt,
    So much of what you shared resonates with me. I am a white female and single mom. Like yourself I am fearful for my black/white/biracial sons. My 15 yr. old is an athlete, A student and an overall good kid. However, he is strong physically and willed. And though he is kind hearted, does not seek out trouble I worry how he would react to being pulled over for DWB (Driving while black) once he is driving. Would he show his lack of tolerance for ignorance and speak his mind? Would he be told to lay on ground, and defy the officer because he felt he was being profiled? Would his inherited Haitian temperament get the best of him and cause an officer to shot?
    But my fear does not end there, I also have a 13 yr. old who has mild-autism. He is high functioning and many would never know he is autistic. Like your son his name is Chi (nickname), he is a trusting, intelligent boy, who likes to pull jokes on family or friends. He likes wearing the hood up on his hoodie. He also is a great student, and loves his video games. After all the News reports especially recently. I fear for his safety.
    I also have two adult sons, (1) a 31 yr. old, black/white/biracial who is an Officer in the US Army, married and has two sons. (2) a 26 yr. old, white son who is a very successful business man. Though he may not face these fears for himself. Every day he worries about his brothers’, and his brother’s friends and even his own friends.
    In my heart, all lives matter, all genders matter, etc.. However, I feel as you do Matt we need to take a stand for our black brothers, sisters, children, etc.. The injustice and ignorance is rampant, and must cease.

    Thank you for your article, I am going to share it. Keep up your great work, proud of you!

  72. When you mentioned “doing my daughter’s hair,” I wasn’t sure if it was a hypothetical daughter or an actual daughter. I’m responding assuming you have a daughter. The concerns I have in these discussions is that they almost always focus on sons. Are you aware of the hashtag #speakhername? It focuses black women who were victims of violence by police and others in their communities. There is a growing frustration among black women over being left out of these discussions. Our lives are the least valued in this society. My point in mentioning all of this is to encourage not to forget about what your daughter could face. We cannot afford to create a sense of false hope or not acknowledge the possible violence black and mixed women may face.

    1. Thanks LorMarie! I am aware and appreciative of #speakhername. I have similar but distinct concerns for my daughter. But I haven’t met her yet–my wife is still pregnant–and I wanted to have a primary focus of the article being empathy with the child who I have met yet. That having been said, the experiences of women of color–especially Black women–are both similarly awful and, like you’ve said, not acknowledged nearly as much money, and that’s definitely a problem.

      I appreciate your words and your encouragement, and for speaking out here.

  73. Matt. I will do my utmost to make Chi and all our citizens – man woman or child safe. Blessings. Thank you for your letter. God bless.

  74. I have never responded to a post like this before. You have written powerful words. I send you a quiet thank you from my broken heart, a disruptive thank you from my angry soul and a tearful thank you from the part of me who walks around with a piece of both attached to his gorgeous, brilliant brown self. Please keep writing.

  75. As a teacher, I don’t care what the color of my students skin is, I do and give my all to make sure that each one of my kids feels loved and safe in my room… I would give me life for anyone of my kids – when I see my kids I don’t see a race; I see a child needing guidance… Yes, I do teach at a low socioeconomic school, but that doesn’t affect the effort, time, money or love I put into my job!!! Don’t assume a teacher’s race affects his or love for their kids!!!

    Secondly, my nephew is multiracial. Like you, I never had to think about his future until events like this started happening.

  76. I wrote this on FB the other day and was so excited to come across your post via We Are The 15 Precent.

    “Maybe it is time to consider taking my son out of this country for his own safety.

    I can’t believe I actually had to have a talk with him last night about what he should/shouldn’t do if he is pulled over or stopped by police on the street. Or, if he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and police show up and they think he’s the bad person because he is brown or even a young Muslim (because he can be nailed for both with the way he looks now).

    I told him that if it happens, it is not personal and he has to believe me. It is a sign that hate is being flamed in this country and the only thing he can do is manage how he conducts himself in public at all times – no matter what.

    I can’t believe I had to tell my own son that if something happens, he needs to keep his mouth tightly shut and his limbs wide open – to just be still, and if necessary, hit the ground, so that they know he is not dangerous … and to hold on until I can get there. Just hold on, son, just hold on.

    I also had to tell him that in spite of all that’s going on, we are still a safe and caring country of people. But he now has to know how to engage with the public, manage his actions, watch his step. He shouldn’t have to learn this way. He just shouldn’t.

    He has had a charmed life … I have not had to tell him what color he is until now because the actions of people in this country are forcing me to do this.

    I was raised color blind. He will not have that luxury.

    I. cannot. believe. this.

    I believe we live in the best country on earth. My belief is being tested.”

    My son’s father is white and definitely does not have the understanding demonstrated by your post. Instead he expressed incredulity and displeasure that I had spoken with my son. I on my own on this one.

  77. Incredibly sad but poignant. It is though-provoking for those that just don’t understand. My brown dad and brothers get pulled over all the time. My dad is a humble, kind, hard-working Mexican-American man. I’m a few shades lighter and a woman, and consequently never get pulled over… Blessings to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story, Matt.

  78. Matt, thank you for writing this. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We must do more. You nailed it: White people are not afraid to speak—white people don’t care to speak. It is terrible and it is wrong. We will fight this together, for our families, for our kids, for our friends, and for our world.

  79. Matt, thank you for putting my fears for my children, especially my son, so eloquently.

    My kids are not only afraid but terrified to go back to the US after moving to live in Ghana for 5 years. I want them to go back there for college but it’s been a struggle because they’re pleading not to be sent back there and it breaks my heart.

    I’ve been trying to think of what can be done to make the US a bit safer than it is now for people of color but can’t come up with anything that hasn’t been done already.

    I am afraid for my kids. I am terrified for my kids.

    May God protect all our children.

  80. For those who have a genuine need to do something about our current race relations but don’t know what to do, I would say whenever you come across either covert or obvious racism, say something. It makes a difference. It has a ripple effect. Also teach your children the importance of standing up against it. It sounds too simple doesn’t it?

  81. It breaks my heart to witness the prejudices, lack of empathy, and hatred that continues to exist in our world. I am 62 years old, and I thought that my generation was enlightened….we would change the world. It didn’t happen, and I quite simply don’t get it. As the world gets “smaller” with social media and greater diversity exists in most of our communities, where is our heart? As a fourth grade teacher, I have taught a curriculum called Second Step, which focuses on walking in someone else’s shoes, empathy, assertiveness, and many strategies for communication, self-control, and reflective thinking. I have loved seeing kids enthusiastically connect, discuss and internalize the lessons. We read, discuss, and connect with many books which have themes centering on empathy and relate our day-to-day experiences with them. The optimist in me hopes that see steps will make a world difference, but I fear that it’s a small ripple in a large pond. Let’s hope that your words can soften the hearts of those with hardened hearts.

  82. Hi Everyone – I am writing and observing this from the UK. All of the above views are true but so very sad! The one thing I don’t understand is why in the US all races of people don’t ask and fight for getting rid of all guns. Why do you all need guns? Our UK policmen don’t wear guns (only if they know they are going into a situation – such as a hostage situation etc). UK private citizens don’t walk around with guns on their person or in their cars. They can own guns (usually on farms etc) but it takes a thorough and extremely long check-up of that person before a permit is given. I am not saying that every few years that some mentally ill person does not get hold of a gun, but those occurences are few and far between. We had a recent case of this in the UK where the killer had a home-made gun but generally NO GUNS! I believe the US needs to go down this road and at the same time the other change which is necessary – the relationship between police and the black citizens! You may need to actively set up community organisations with your local police forces to inform them and yourselves – sort of exchange of information. I am a 66yr old black mother and brought up 2 children (boy and girl) in the UK – they were educated and brought up to respect the law everywhere in the world but not to be afraid. I believe fear breeds panic and irrational behaviour! My children are able to express themselves and thankfully now hold very good managerial positions. As parents we were always present to discuss and guide on everything and even now in their 30’s we still do it if needed. Lastly, I do think your government has to step up and ensure the black ghettos and poverty are no more and create employment alongside justice and education for all. You are after all one of the richest nations! US citizens must vote for the right candidates to achieve all of the above. Good luck!

  83. Thank you, Matt- such an heartfelt and important article. I have known that I have white privilege but it was never clearer to me than when a black friend told me about 10 years ago about ‘the Talk’ she has with her sons and I knew I would never need to have ‘that’ talk. I have biracial granddaughters and my heart aches about the world they are growing up in. Yours is such an important message and you are right, as white people, we need to be part of the conversation.

  84. Thank you for writing this. I wish you didn’t have to. As the mother of a black daughter, I also had to have “The Talk” with her. Stuff happens to our daughters as well, ugly stuff. And there is a chance that her boyfriend/husband/male friends will be black and she will have to be a part of their life with all that goes along with it. Every day that my husband leaves the house, I pray that he returns to me without incident. I could go on. I just want to say that I empathize with you and applaud you for writing this piece.

  85. Thank you for writing this Matt. I’m black, my husband is white and I feel the same way about my son Emmitt. He does have lighter skin and loose curls but I still have the same fears. I worry about the impact if, 15 years from now when he’s old enough to drive, I’m in the car with him and police pull us over. Will they treat him differently if he refers to me as his mom? What if it’s summer time and he’s gotten a lot of sun and his skin is darker and he’s walking around alone at night? Will someone decide he’s a threat? Thank you for sharing your story and articulating our experiences (yes, ours – yours, mine, your family, my family, etc.). Thank you for caring more about being part of the solution than worrying about the potential haters and trolls. Thank you.

  86. Thanks for writing this Matt. You hit the nail on the head by raising the issue of White people trying to connect with Black people – one needs to be able to put oneself in the shoes of another to really understand the pain and fear Black people have on this issue, less it remains an “us versus them” issue unfortunately. eC~

  87. A friend sent this to me. It put into words something I’d tried to describe. There is like this moment, this Helen Keller moment with hand held under the water, and suddenly you understand language.

    I have a son who is autistic. Autism Speaks has this 100 Day Kit with recommendations on what to do after diagnosis. Taking your child to the police station and introducing them to your child is one of the recommendations. After Trayvon Martin was murdered, I started reading about the perspective of other parents raising kids in the SN community. The difference is their kids are black.

    I can’t tell you how that got me. That recommendation to get the cops to know the child’s face means more to me now. I am afraid for their kids. They may not learn how to respond to proper social cues, many will grow to be big guys, which will automatically make them threatening black men.

    I realize this means I didn’t “get it” until I related to it on a personal level. And also that, for me, “getting it” meant I was afraid. If a murdered or beaten black man is a criminal or not, I don’t care. What I care is whether the law enforcement were law breakers, whether they used the least force necessary.

    Anyway, this is where I trail off because I never know what point I’m trying to make. I just know what emotions I’m feeling. Thank you for writing an instructable of sorts on how to access those emotions. I’m hoping it’s a good, first step because otherwise I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this fear-based emotion.

  88. Thank you for posting this-heartfelt and on-target. The terror you feel should be recognized by every person-no one is safe when others may have more power and/or a weapon. Part of the problem is that we are an anti-intellectual society, so many citizens are simply not thinking or utilizing critical thinking skills…Our educational systems simply aren’t relevant or complete. All children should have equal public education, at least, not based on where their parents happen to live and every classroom should be using and teaching conflict resolution skills. That would solve a lot of problems. People are not born racist; hey are taught from a very young age to be thoughtless and intolerant (intolerant of what-I might add-who wants to be tolerated? We each seek understanding, but many people know nothing about how to communicate, active listening, acknowledgement of others, etc. These are the real issues. For now, we must get committed to holding our officers accountable when there is abuse and MURDER. African Americans have been extremely PATIENT-consider how long they have been mistreated, many since their families were brought here as slaves…Where is the understanding on the part of all Americans that we are all equal-all people are equal-including children. If you know that in your heart, we CAN resolve all of our problems. This does take education, effort, love and concern and for people to stop blaming the victims. Police officers are supposed to be intelligent, mentally healthy and prepared to do the job each day. This who cannot fulfill on that should be removed.

  89. Thanks. I read your piece with tears running down my cheeks. Just be strong and stay close to your kids as much as is possible. I am black with multiracial relatives. It’s a SAD world, but we cannot let a few ruin our lives. I do believe the HATERS are in the minority. Let us continue to be STRONG. Let’s not live in fear. Let’s trust God. He is the only just one who will adjudicate on our behalf.

  90. Wow! Am dumfounded. This is it. This is ‘The Talk’ am a Nigerian, been working towards securing student visa for my masters, but with all this injustice of the supposed ‘justice’ system…guess am just gonna stay put in my country. This piece deserves a nobel peace prize…even if its for a second. Awesome!

  91. What an amazing piece of article, the world needs more of this. I just want to say thank you for putting this up. You have a very beautiful family and your son will grow up to be an amazing man like his Dad.

  92. Thank you Matt for your profound demonstration of your love for humanity and not a particular race or creed.Your love story …is amazing.God bless your marriage and keep you and your lovely wife together…forever.And shield you guys from all danger and all harm.

  93. This is such a beautiful piece…brought tears to my eyes…i pray the world listens to your voice of reason. God bless you for sharing this..

  94. I’m a young Nigerian girl aspiring to come to the u.s but after all this black killings although in my country I am
    considered light in complexion I’m afraid of the reception I’m going to get the #blacklivesmatter

  95. I just had to comment, I am a male human of African Descent, precisely “Nigerian” I emigrated to England when I was 19, fell in love with a British Woman (white),got married and made the most wonderful 5 children on earth! My wife is a Snr Police officer and I’m a lawyer. While I must agree we have had to give our children “the talk” it wasn’t about the talk of why they should be scared of the police or a white neighbor calling the police simply because they’ve wandered into a very white neighborhood in the country- but we’ve had to help them understand the beauty of their nature, which of course we both envy them for- lets say if we had our way we’d rather be in their Skin- there’s nothing more beautiful than being ” the best of both worlds”today it just makes them stand out wherever they may go or be!

    The truth is the American system is gradually failing it’s own people in every aspect, not just within the police force but within the people, this is largely because more people are getting less educated ( not really classroom book study)and alienated, people don’t understand what it means to be socialized or civil anymore. Dare I say that police officers in the USA are not educated? yes they are not! If they were then they’d understand what the word “Police” was, it’s not about being an Army,Navy or Air-force Veteran or being able to fire quick successive rounds at a 19 year old ??? It’s about achieving your aim without having to create more violence for there is nothing in violence but even more violence!

    Lest I forget, the British Police have been operating without guns on the street for decades ( yes this sounds amazing doesn’t it?),this isn’t because they do not come in contact with violent youths or armed bandits whom they’ve disarmed by just talking and without firing a single shot. This is simply because they are educated and empowered by virtue of their education rather than an 8 round hand gun!

    Simply put, the system needs to change, people need to stop seeing people in a bad light just because of their skin color but rather engage people and rate them according to the content of their character haven’t engaged them in as little as a conversation – be it social or civil.

    Our children are 31, 29, 27, 24 and 19 today and not for once have we ever had to fear for their lives just because they went to the store down the road, yes we have had to fear for their safety or being arrested which is normal when teens are teens it is normal and that is part of social upbringing!

    Oh and we have a set of beautiful twin grandchildren too – even more mixed than their parents ( Black-White/Chinese).The moral of the story is- life is better when mixed, only education can help you understand your mixture better!!!

  96. Dear Matt,
    God bless you for putting a human face to this huge problem. Long years ago, a preacher came to our local church from the USA and shocked everyone when he said pastors get sacked, churches divide and disintegrate if a pastor of a white church allows black peopke to attend! Where is the love?
    Aside community relations, the police system has to change. Because of the money that come to the department, police officers are given ‘arrest targets’ …..they are mandated to fill up that target and to also target and profile blacks particularly. So on a higher level, this is an endemic corruption that innocent human lives are paid with…blood for money sort of thing

  97. Wow! I have read a ton of articles in the past week in regards to race, and what is happening in our country. But, your article truly touched me. I she’s a year for your children, as well as my black adopted nephew that is just four years old. Trust me, I and my family have experienced some of the negativity that comes with going into Best Buy as a white family, with a little black baby. The stares, and hateful looks, mumbling under their breathe racial slurs. It breaks my heart so much. I don’t see him as black or white, rather the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met. And, the world would be a little less bright without him in it. I pray for our country, and the hearts of the people in it.

  98. I enjoy reading the dialogue that this blog has generated but for me it shows that labelling pattern that we all must beak out of. We all fear for our children this day and age. My views lean more like Donald Ogunlesi.

    I haved lived and been in various areas in the US; I lived abroad when I was young. I have traveled outside the US but not as much as I would like. I have seen discrimination against all of the color spectrum (Mexican/Latino, Asian, Black, Middle Eastern, Indian, White, etc..), religious spectum (Jews, Catholics, Pentecostals, Muslims, Atheism, etc..), sexual orientation, as well as social economic standing (poor, middle-class, wealthy). The Christian Bible calls this a respector of “person” or “being”. There things that people feel unifies them but it just as easily divides them.

    As humans needing lean towards a sense commonality, unity, and the likes we have lost the perspective of respect of individuality; we see groups and labels even though many of us have been taught different. We mimic the media, our friends, our education system, and those that influence us. Our data gathering, information gorging society looks for groupings, similarities, and labels them. Categorizing without thoughts or feelings; some because of curiosity. This is part of the problem.

    We have brought it into our daily lives. Our choice and we individually have to make a choice to stop looking at people like things and systematically catalog/categorize them to a label. We have stopped socializing meeting people face to face. As we choose to do this, we strip humanity, sympathy away to cold non-compassionate data giving way to discrimination, misunderstanding, and ambivalence which in turn triggers emotional hot spots of frustration, fear, anger, rage, and negativity; emotional trigger can lead to violent action.

    Until I choose to see you and you see me – as individuals – we continue to feed into what is the ongoing problem. If I might suggest the next timevyou are in a crowd or you meet someone new, see if you can catch yourself categorizing them (a natural thing to do). I can only hope you go beyond the categories to see the person; many of them are beautiful.

    Every good fruit tree occasionally produces food that rots. Try to avoid those that constantly produces rotten fruit; those are the unhealthy trees who need professional help.

  99. It is so sad Matt. I pray that your son finds love in otherwise a world that is growing loveless by the day. one wishes that people will just appreciate each other as human beings with feelings and not just by their colors!

  100. This is the only post I have been able to read all the comments, the maturity with which every comments have been expressed is truly commendable.
    It has never made sense to me that people are judged based on the color of their skin, what has ‘melanin’ got to do with who I am. Character, morals, values, beliefs, ideology… these are things that make up a person.
    The answer remains “to love thy neighbor as you love yourself” and your neighbor is everyone around you.

  101. I completely agree with your msg, and understand that you’re speaking to a lot of people who don’t see this, and appreciate that.
    But you haven’t said how it can be done, other than the fact that white people (or all people) should value and mourn black people as much as white (and all). This is obviously true and so so sad that we have to have reminders of this; what is wrong with the world?
    I’m not from America and just can’t see why the US doesn’t ban guns? I understand that its the 2nd (or whatever number) amendment and therefore hard to change, but legislatively hard to change is easily overcome if public opinion is behind it. And I understand that for a lot of people in both bad neighbourhoods and gated communities fear for their lives, and so feel the need to have guns for protection, but if guns were taken out of the system, then this wouldn’t be the case?
    Calming down any situation, for example either of the tragic events of last week, would have been possible and would have enabled Philando Castile and Alton Sterling to live, but calming a situation down is just not possible when a police officer has a) been trained to fear black people as you say, and b) has only 1/10th of a second in which to do so, before he fears being killed himself.
    I just genuinely don’t understand why there is no call to ban guns?

    1. Hey Laura,
      There are many calls to ban guns. But there is a very, very complex relationship in America between guns, freedom, the Second Amendment, the NRA and manipulation of other lobbies and money interests, and a lot of other stuff.

      This article would not have been as clear, or been spread as far, if I had attempted to give all the answers here. And honestly, the answer will be different for each person depending on where they live, who they know, what opportunities come up.

      I want everyone to take every advantage that presents it self, not just a list of Five Things Matt Says You Can Do To End Police Brutality, know what I mean?

      I still hope to share some more concrete steps folks can take in a later article, but it did not feel better here.

      So, banning guns is one thing, but it’s more complex than most people understand. There’s also police officer training, but it’s not just that; there are also elements of our entire society that are broken to lead toward the inherent fear of Black people. I don’t have enough time to list even a quarter of all of the things that are impacting this. There’s no easy answer; we each need to put all of our energy toward every solution we can find.

      1. Matt the only complex thing about banning guns is the potential revenue to be lost. I am an American citizen and it took me living around the world to see that clearly. NRA, “and amendment etc., are all smoke screens because the people being

        Aside from l totally identify with you because my sister and her husband are an interethnic couple (only one race- the human race, when we have been taught a lie for so long we start to believe it), Thank you for taking a stand, hopefully other white people will believe the unfair treatment now that it is coming from a white male. Bless.

  102. Let him dye his hair, its saved my son more times more times than he will tell me. At 25 years old, 6’2 and honey brown, he has been stopped for ‘fitting the description’ so often that he’s accustomed to it and has stopped telling me.
    He always fits the description, until he takes his beanie off and they see red or blur or green or rainbow colored hair. Then he’s allowed to walk on.

    1. I hear about it all the time. There are more White people in the U.S., so of course there are more White people killed. Go look at a few more sources before you jump on that one.

  103. i wish you and your family to be safe . i am from england and of dual heritage mother being white and my father black. while i have never encontured any issues from the police on this level personally i and so many of us of colour feel the pain and suffering of all these needless deaths. all of colour understand the talk and how important and essential it is to our survival as a race. i pray for all the families and friends who have lost someone in this manner. i pray that we as human beings find an end to this soon and give us all the strength to carry our brothers and sisters .
    again i wish an end and pray for all.

  104. Thanks Matt, for your insight on the reality of today’s world. If it’s not racism, it’s xenophobia, or it’s the terrorists attacking and harassing the world.

    This is the reality of the world we live today-where it is has become a global concern rather than when it was just the ‘movement’ of a category of people trying to fight for equal human rights- which is still ongoing.

    I believe teaching these truths to our children- about this reality- whilst raising them to love and be morally responsible to themselves, their neighbor and the world may not be the best, but could be the most we can do.

    Though some comments said not to teach fear, the truth is teaching a bit of it, adding the thought of kindness to all mankind +love and awareness of the ‘real world’ makes for survival training in an unsafe and constantly changing environment.

    God keep your beautiful family

  105. Thank you Matt well said and heartfelt, I am a black woman born in London, I grew up in a predominantly white area. I and my friends had to suffer the National Front. As a child I was spat at, called Golliwog, told to go back to the jungle, had monkey noise yelled at me all from adult white people. I couldnt understand their hatred as I was brought up to respect my elders. I came home from school after being bullied because of my colour, at 7 years old I tried to scrub off my colour thinking it would stop if I didnt have this brown skin, but it was my mother who showed me how to be proud of my colour, she showed me that no one was better than me. I have tried to bring my daughter up to feel superior to bigotted humans who have no soul and today she is a strong black young woman. All I can advise is keep on doing what your doing for your son and your family as I believe not all white people are nasty. May God keep you and your family safe.

  106. You have touched my heart and soul with this open letter. Every time my children step out of the house I make sure I tell them that I love them in fear that this may be the last time that I get to tell them. My heart bleeds for humanity. We have become consumed with “mine, mine, mine” that we don’t see the bigger picture that being the demise of the black race.

  107. You have a beautiful family. When I look at your picture I don’t see black and white. I see a beautiful family, a mom, dad and son. I am not naive, I can see and understand your fears, however, I am white and I did have the talk your mention with my very white son and daughter. I do fear for my family when they go out, they are white and there are people who would intentionally hurt them because of the color of their skin. I remind them to stay out of neighborhoods that have high crime rates and ongoing issues. To be aware of their surroundings. I remind them that hate comes in ALL Colors, ALL Ages and in ALL Places so you need to be cautious. I also taught them that good can be found in ALL PLACES as well, they just need to be careful. My children do not see people as anything but people. They do not judge others, based on race, gender or sexual preference or job function ( Police). My son was 17 and he was pulled over multiple times in his car. He was taught to be respectful when dealing with the police no matter how angry he may be and no matter how unjust he felt the interaction was. I am saddened that in the year 2016 we are still labeling people. Labels divide! We should not be questioning why a Black man was shot by a White Cop, we instead should be asking why a Cop shot a suspect. Is this Cop a problem or was the suspect a problem. Working in the schools I see how respectful interaction is not so common place and that not all parents are teaching their children how to be respectful. This is a major problem, the way people treat each other, now add to that the labels that we apply and the media support of it, and the divide is growing larger. Maybe if todays children were taught to be respectful in the way the interact and maybe if the Media waited until the had all the facts and then reported on that we would not all be picking sides. There are three sides to every story, his side, their side and the truth. Lately by the time the truth is told more innocent lives are lost. Did the Officers in Dallas hurt any Black men, did the cop who was not white really mean to shoot Philando Castile? We do not have these answers but if we did it would most likely not be sensational enough to report on the news. When you have that talk with your son make sure you include in your list of things to be afraid of Gangs. They are no longer just in the cities they can be found in every small town in the nation. With all the talk of black/white/blue violence these groups who actually represent a huge percentage of the trouble in the world are quietly conducting business and the people they are hurting go completely unnoticed. Yes, I see your fears, but know that those fears are in the hearts of parents everywhere. I don’t believe it is because you have a black son but because you have a son. A child who means more then life it self, a person that you would die for. I can relate because that is exactly how I felt as my children were growing and that is how good caring parents around the world feel when they see the violence on the news every day. We can not fix this problem if the focus is on the how the lives of any one group matters, our focus must be on Unity not divide. God bless your family and my God help us all in these very troubling times.

  108. Well this broke right through the floodgates. I’ve been trying to emotionally distance myself from what’s been going on in the United States for the past two weeks because it’s too painful. I’m not American and have only ever visited there but I am a black woman and have family and friends there with sons of all ages. It is too easy to imagine my friends and cousins’ cherubic, smart, funny, respectful little boys when I hear about these cases. It is too easy to imagine it happening to my husband or myself if we went to visit his aunt in NYC or took a trip to somewhere in the States (which we have done in the past). Too easy and too scary.

    But at least I don’t live with it daily. My god I cannot imagine living with it daily. I am so sorry this is your reality Matt and all of the many commenters here whose stories have brought me to tears.

  109. There is only one race…the human. The amount of pigment in our skin is just that, a trait. Black, Mexican, White, gay, straight, TG, Muslim, Christian, we are all one race, one creed with unique beliefs and personalities. We will drive ourselves to extinction, over stupidity, ignorance or worse…indifference. Your son is beautiful as is your wife, children are our only chance to make the world better, to stamp out ignorance and hate. To promote kindness, forgiveness, and tolerance. It’s time for all of us to be one, not divided.

  110. Thanks Matt for sharing your candid reflections about why black lives matter. It’s refreshing to hear a white male perspective on the realities of the inequities and pain we experience. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  111. Matt,
    You are correct in everything you say,that’s exactly the way it is. I can relate to what you are saying about empathy from the perspective of a health care professional. When we can empathize, we can start the process of change in our hearts, then go from there.

  112. What a beautifully heartfelt, authentic and heartbreaking article that captures so much of what I’m feeling. Matt, your post truly resonates with me. The fact that you were courageous enough to write this speaks to the incredible depth of love and concern you have for your beautiful family and our society as a whole. Please keep up the dialogue and discussion of these issues! We need your voice to encourage others to “see” and “feel” what they are unable to because of fear and mistrust. Thank you! Sending thoughts of love and peace….

  113. Wow. And thank you. I’ve been feeling this way for a while and was never able to put it into words. Thank you thank you thank you.

    With authors like you opening these points of conversation, our kids, and us, might have nothing to worry about. I pray that this will be the case.

  114. As a Baha’i, I am taught that the way to end prejudice is to marry other races. You have done this an the world needs to see this is our healing. Your son is a part of that healing, too. As an old white woman, I must support the unity between races. Today, I am helping a 15 year old. black, youth to teach in community building in a lower class neighborhood. One of the things she sants to do is take the kids to a Polise Station. I’m notrunning this program, she is. I’ll give her a ride and make cookies and pick up kids, and talk to parents. the kids have to become empowered to goodness. I have seen this program work. With a group that is now training to do more communities. She was one of this older group. Look at Arianna! She goes to KC, Omaha, and all over the mid-west.

    1. Sorry, I would like your thoughts on that not because I want to battle with you. This clip and others by Ben have me thinking. I have been following your podcast, Twitter and various other things and have come to really value your input on things. I realize that probably wasn’t the best way to introduce this with this medium of communication. I’m very grateful for you and your family.

  115. Wish we can get past d color of our skin and realise that our bones are the same shape and colour. One God made us all and we need not let our environment make us turn on others just cos of how we’re treated. Thank u for this beautiful piece, I’ll certainly always remember “super nick”. Loving him already…

  116. You are an amazing writer Matt. This piece hits close to home as we grew up in extremely similar circumstances. We simply had no idea how it is on the other side of fence so we can identify with those who still don’t see it and help bring them to the light. A very powerful read. Thank you.

  117. You are dumb point blank period. You said scared million times. I serve a Gos who doesn’t give me the spirit of fear but of sound mind d. I’m black I’m not African American which is white ppl political term I’m from NYC. And your son should wear and dress how he wants if you couldn’t have a backbone and go through a few years of and we went through for decades then mAybe you should of marry white. You are not the victims you are a protege of your forefathers instead of trying to explain something you will experience or understand just be a advocate for us we don’t need your pity neither does your son

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *