Proctor & Gamble: The Talk

Freedom of Speech is perplexing. We should all exercise our right to Freedom of Speech but when people can’t agree on the “truth” and suggest their “Alternate Facts” are just a valid, what are we left with? Noise, just noise. Now that we have Freer Speech we should work towards intelligent conversation and eventually meaningful dialog.

I had “The Talk” with my mother and continued it with my children. I had “The Talk” with my Cool Nerd granddaughter before she started Jr. High School this year in a neighborhood with a checkerd past outside our own.

Please don’t think “The Talk” is one conversation. It becomes the “To thine own self be true” speech. It becomes part of the lexicon to live by. The scene where the mother tells the daughter it’s not about her driving, it’s about whether she comes home brought tears to my eyes especially given the death of Sandra Bland and similar and related incidents that continue around the country.

At basketball practice one evening, from the other side of the court, I saw a kid stick his foot out and trip a 10 year old teammate as he walked by. A rukus ensued so I headed over with the assistant coach. We asked what was going on and one kid complained he had been tripped and said, “These guys were always picking on me”. We asked the other kid what happened and he immediately pointed to the innocent kid standing next to him and said, “He did it”. The kid tripped was ready to accept this as proof someone had wronged him even though someone innocent was blamed. I told the kid who had caused the trip I had seen him purposely stick his foot out. He thought for a moment and said he “I didnt do it”. Even in the face of adult witnesses, this kid was going to stick to his story.

This isn’t about how I handled it, but about people. I wish we were better. We can be if we admit the truth even though sometimes it is shameful.



I have, at this late age, settled on what I am: AAmerican. Spelled with a Double A but pronounced American. Some might see AA as a target and others as a mark of excellence. I exist somewhere in between. Though our numbers are fewer than theirs, I am not a minority. I refuse the negative connotation and stereotype. I am an American with afforded rights and privileges. I am a member of a group: AAmerican. Human nature categorizes. I’m ok with that. I refuse, however, to be beaten down because of some vague notion I might be a threat to someone’s woman and, eventually, way of life.

So I have quit checking the box. I have stopped wondering who I am. I have stopped explaining I am ideologically Black, not African-American, Negro, Colored . . .
I have ascended from Africans brought here as slaves to build to America. I am an integral part of the United States.

But why identify at all. Because too many out there still see me as a rusty, wayward nail. I must remind myself to keep safe, to keep my children safe, and friends, relatives and loved ones that there are discriminating hammers that will pound the life from us if given the chance.

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