Every black parent in America has to have “the talk” with his or her sons and daughters — about how to act and not act in the presence of white police officers with guns. It’s a painful family ritual that is slowly being discovered by America’s white parents as more and more police killings of young African Americans occur and are nationally discussed.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III recently shared a powerful video, first released last year, to his congregants and constituency called “Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police.” Everybody should watch this video to see what black parents and pastors are regularly saying to their children about how to survive in America.

Last week was another week from hell — horrific police killings of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn., and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., almost immediately followed by a civilian shooting 12 police officers in Dallas, killing five. The proliferation of a culture of violence was gut wrenching for many Americans to watch, with few solutions being posed.

I have two to suggest. They are two new talks to respond to the old talk black parents still need to have with their children.


Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now.

Follow Jim Wallis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimwallis