Lawrence Otis Graham, a prominent attorney and New York Times best-selling author, has a somewhat unconventional idea of how a black parent should keep his boys safe from police profiling. He’s teaching them not to be black.
Graham disputes that claim, saying that his sons are surrounded by black role models, but his ideas are a bit radical and can be considered conforming to what racial tensions in our society would consider “proper.”
Graham doesn’t allow black or dark blue sweatshirts, and hoods are out of the question unless they’re on a raincoat. T-shirts are not allowed, and high-top sneakers have been replaced with loafers and sandals.
His sons have been told they aren’t allowed to run in the presence of a police officer unless they are specifically dressed for jogging. They aren’t allowed to wear earphones, and their music is carefully chosen for content.
At one point in the video, Graham admits that one of his sons says he’s “taking the fun out of being black,” but that doesn’t concern him. He’s doing what he’s doing to ensure his children’s safety.
While his concerns are certainly valid and his love for his boys without question, his methods raise some serious questions about the way Americans can and should fight racism.
What does it say for us as a nation if an entire culture has to change its ways just to conform to what one race considers “typical?” Isn’t it far more appropriate for those who live an intolerant lifestyle to change their ways instead?
While this video will raise an eyebrow or two and make a lot of people think, the fact that anyone feels this level of fear over the kind of clothing and music his children choose is absolutely depressing.
It is, after all, 2015.
Image: Screen Capture From Video