Sadly, “The Talk” has become about keeping black and Latino children safe if they are ever confronted by law enforcement. The Talk – Race in America is a two-hour documentary that airs on Monday, February 25 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The film is about the conversations that parents are having with their children about how to behave if the police ever stop them.
These conversations are becoming more and more common in households and communities as blacks and Latinos are disproportionately shot and killed by police officers. The Talk – Race in America is troubling as it reveals the current state of race relations in America.
Did you know that in the United States, there are no national standards for law enforcement training? Each state determines its own standards of conduct and training requirements. I think national standards should exist on issues such as anti-bias training and training that helps police officers understand their prejudices and stereotypes.
As we all know, everyone has their belief systems, biases, stereotypes, and different personalities and backgrounds. Police officers are no different. They are human beings with emotions. Human emotions are powerful forces, especially in stressful encounters. Moreover, to further complicate matters, today almost everyone is carrying a gun, whereas, in the past, that was not the case.
Racism Affects Us All
The Talk – Race in America makes us aware that racism exists all over the U.S., but that does not mean that we cannot make efforts to decrease racism. Racism is a hatred or intolerance of another race or other races. Racism is learned, and it is fear that often fuels the hatred. People are not born as racists; they are taught. We are all part of one race and that is the human race.
Many individuals who live ‘safe’ don’t really want to know what is taking place on the street. Policy makers take the position that it is not their son or daughter, so they don’t want to know what is happening. The truth is that everyone deserves fullness of life, and every human being should be treated with dignity and respect.
Some of the families in the film expressed that they felt safe because they had good jobs, a good income and lived in beautiful neighborhoods. However, the fact remains that racism exists throughout our society, and therefore, its ugliness can be found practically everywhere.
The widespread use of cell phones has enabled the public to become more aware of police officers that use poor tactics or who make poor judgments. I only wish that cell phones could catch all the wonderful police officers doing amazing work in their communities.
What Kind Of Society Do We Want?
Are we content to settle for a society in which kids see police officers as threats instead of as someone that can help them? I want a society that understands and believes that every black face you see is not a criminal and that black and Latino children know that the police officers are there to protect and serve, and not to neglect them and show disrespect.
The Talk – Race in America captures a variety of views from parents, children, police officers and the community. The film is eye-opening to the struggles of the families affected by police violence. I felt like it was fair in its depiction of each point of view, and presented the stories in a nonpartisan way.
The families interviewed in the film are grieving because they lost someone that was very important to them. The film captures their despair and their underlying desire to understand why their loved one was gunned down.
I find it extremely sorrowful that in the United States of America, we have black and Latino men and children that won’t call 911 in an emergency because they are afraid of what might happen to them. Rather than viewing the police as friends, they see them as foes.
Our society is creating generations of black boys and black men who do not cooperate with the police because they do not feel safe, they will not ask the cops to intervene or help, so go out and seek vengeance on their own because the police have never been on their side.
Just stop to think about that for a moment: have you ever been afraid of calling 911 or asking a police officer for help? I have not. However, I can begin to see what type of society this fear and mistrust creates. I recognize and acknowledge how much damage this is doing to our human race.
Who Should Be A Police Officer?
The documentary The Talk – Race in America is sensitive to the fact that not all cops are good. The film talks about the cops that are ‘badge heavy’ in that they use their authority to scare people.
The film highlights the traits a police officer should possess such as having an open mind, being dedicated to making a difference, and truly wanting to do right by the citizens of the community for which they serve.
One insightful police officer stated that cultural differences are OK. However, there cannot be reactions or enforcement models based on race, otherwise you ostracize the community you are hired to serve and protect.
There is no doubt that it takes a special type of person to be a police officer. I admire their courage in dealing with dangerous situations. I believe that most cops have a service heart, and I would like to see more of them be the agents of change by standing up for what is right and refusing to tolerate racist behaviors and attitudes within their precincts.
The Talk – Race in America is not an anti-police film. For me, it helped differentiate the police who are violating their code of ethics, who are violating the law, and who are violating individual civil rights and human rights versus those that truly want to make a difference in their communities.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Everyone should watch the film The Talk – Race in America. It airs on Monday, February 25 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). I had a hard time watching it because I felt disgusted and ashamed of the way human beings are treating one another. The fact that we are still struggling with race relations just makes me both livid and heartbroken.
I admire the people that are taking a stand to make a difference in the lives of young black and Latino children. Their cause is worth fighting for as is every injustice happening across our great nation. Be an accomplice that is willing to put something on the line to create positive change.
Think about what you are going to do to get involved. Solving the disconnect between African Americans, Latinos and law enforcement is not an easy fix. However, with consistent, non-bias training, helping cops understand the stereotypes and beliefs they hold about race, and relationship building in the community, I have hope that change is possible.