‘Our dad is dead’: the families left behind after police shootings

Armed police officerssources: The Guardian
published: 24 August 2019

In America, there is a common conversation between black parents and their children, long known as “the talk”. It is about what to do when approached by a police officer. How to talk. How to act. How, simply, to survive.

In recent years, high-profile killings of black men and boys have brought “the talk” to national attention. It has become part of discussion of the inequalities of race, of the problem of police brutality itself.

For most black families, “the talk” is a choice, a just-in-case, a part of raising children. When explaining what can go wrong, there are too many examples to use.

They may discuss what happened to a young man who visited a convenience store and then made his way home in New York. They may discuss what happened to a 12-year-old boy who played with a pellet gun in a park in Cleveland. They may discuss what happened to a 40-year-old man who stopped his car on a public road in Tulsa.

Others discuss those cases each day. They are the women, men and children who lived with the dead, who raised them, who called them brother or father or son.

In New York, Ohio and Oklahoma, the Guardian spoke to those families. For them, “the talk” does not define one moment in their lives. It is the definition of everything after.

They are the families left behind.  Watch Film >

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