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Why this black father has ‘the talk’ with his son, young black boys to keep them alive

Posted at 3:19 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 15:26:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Images like the protests we've seen across the country are forcing Americans to have a discussion about protests, violence, and when will it stop.

"The first thing that goes through your mind is here we go again because it seems to be a repeating thing that goes on," said Timothy Mallory, Sr.

But for black parents, like Mallory, it only serves as reminder of making sure he has "the talk" with his son, Timothy Mallory II, a graduating senior at Hermitage High School.

'The talk' we're referring to is about how to interact with officers if stopped by the police.

"We've talked about it ever since he became about four and half feet tall. So, it's been years now,” said Mallory, Sr.

"It’s going to be the same conversation, over and over until I get it. To get it fully in my head and able to go out in the world and do that,” said his son.

Mallory, Sr. is the President of The Concerned Black Men of Richmond, an organization that serves to provide positive role models and mentors to the youth from 5th to 12th grade in the city.

Right before the pandemic hit, Mallory took his mentees on a field trip to the Richmond Police Academy for activity trip they called, "What to do when stopped by the police."

"Life and death situations crop up all the time. It's just a matter of you having the tools necessary, and that's what we're trying to give these young boys that we have," said Mallory, Sr.

The mentees participated in role playing scenarios that included how to properly react when officers approach the vehicle.

"Grab something and they're going to think you have a weapon in the car. So that's why it important to always have your hands on the wheel," said Mallory II, who attended the trip.

"The cops are always going to tell you, let me see your hands. So make sure that, little things like that, just to make sure that he may not end up as one these statistics," said Mallory, Sr.

The talk is nothing new. It's a conversation that's been happening for generations, because parents of color know just how important it is to pass down this information.

Mallory has had to apply the same tools he's teaching his son and mentees.

"I’ve been pulled a number of times,” said Mallory, Sr. “I mean sometimes they'll just pull you over and ask for your ID, and I’ve never had what I would call a bad situation. I just followed the protocol because my dad told me the same things.”