Regina King explains what it's like to have 'the talk' with her son about police brutality
Earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel owned up to his own white privilege in a monologue about the still churning George Floyd protests. On Wednesday night's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, his education continued as he interviewed Watchmen star and Oscar winner Regina King about "the talk" black families have with their children about police brutality.
"I think in most black homes it's not just a conversation, it's an ongoing conversation and it never stops," she said. "You get to a place, especially when your children are at an age where they are looked at as adults, and the anger that they have is... it just compounds every time something like this happens."
Moments like the death of Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and more instances, are "telling them they're not worthy, they're not valuable, their lives aren't valuable once they walk outside the comfort of their home," King explains. "The conversation shifts every time because you have to find a way to support their feelings and make sure that you're letting them know that you hear them, that you do mirror the same sentiment, but you don't want them to do anything that's gonna put themselves in a situation that they might not come back home, they may not talk to you again."
The actress says, for her son, 24-year-old Ian Alexander, Jr., his comprehension of this reality came into focus when she was campaigning for Barack Obama's first term as president. It changed again when he was first learning to drive. "You have to make them very clear about what they're supposed to do when they're out there in the car by themselves and more than likely are going to be pulled over just because you're a young black man," she said.
Kimmel admitted to his own ignorance as a white person for not realizing this was a routine conversation among African-American households. King says she had a similar conversation with one of her best friends when they were exchanging stories about teaching their kids how to drive. "She got really emotional when my conversations with Ian and the driving experience, when I was telling her about it," King recalls. "And it just never even dawned on her, the reality that she doesn't have to have that same conversation. It brought a lot of stuff up for her." To Kimmel, said, "It's good that you know now."
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.