wade kelvin column sig copy

Local opinion columnists

Everyone can benefit from ‘the talk’

By From page A7 | August 21, 2014

After the Trayvon Martin killing, there was story after story in the media about black parents having “the talk” with their kids. The talk goes back generations and it’s about how to act and survive. It goes back to Jim Crow laws.

In modern days, it’s how to act when confronted by police officers. The talk tells young people of color to comply, to not talk back and leave their hands where the officer can see them. Don’t have anything in your hands. Remember the officer’s badge number. Even if you felt that you were in the right, don’t resist. In the wake of the Michael Brown killing, protests, riots and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the talk is back in the news.

A year ago, I wrote a column about my experience being stopped with two friends by a California Highway Patrol officer in the middle of nowhere in Cordelia and how that cop was belligerent, insulting and made us all nervous as we sat in the car with our hands up. We responded to him in full Eddie Haskell mode, trying to comply and get this stop over with. Had we answered him in a belligerent manner or had I exited the passenger side of the car, I think the stop would’ve become much, much worse.

If you live in a community where the police are seen as an occupying army, where your friends have had negative experiences with the police and you, too, have felt singled out, then it’s going to be difficult to stay calm when stopped by police. If every one of my interactions with police were like that incident with the CHP, then I would definitely view law enforcement in a different light than I do.

But when stopped by police, it isn’t the time to act aggressive. It’s not the time to act out. Take a deep breath. Whatever you have to do to get through the experience without mace, a baton, Taser or firearm entering the equation is what you have to do.

At the same time, I think police brass need to have “the talk” with their officers. Cops know that respect is important on the street. It may be a twisted machismo, but that’s the way it is. If a cop rolls up on some young men and yells at them and embarrasses them, he or she could create a problem where there wasn’t one. Addressing a member of the public as a person instead of a criminal can work wonders.

Sometimes it’s that simple.

When I was younger, a couple of friends and I were having a few beers in Allan Witt Park at night. A Fairfield police car rolled up and an officer walked over to us and said, “Hey guys, the park is closed. I need you guys to wrap it up, OK?” We told him no problem and we left.

Often a little interaction like that goes a long way. My friends and I walked away from it thinking that officer was cool, cutting us slack like that. Handled a different way, it could’ve blown up into a bigger deal.

How police interactions go are important because minority communities already have a mistrust of police. And chances are that officer sees me as a bigger threat than if he or she stops a senior citizen. One thing the cop and the person they stop have in common is they both want to go home at the end of the day. Civility works. Peace.

Kelvin Wade, a former Fairfield resident, is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Sacramento. Email him at [email protected]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 51 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • 2realAugust 21, 2014 - 5:59 am

    Must we be reminded of the jim crow law 50 years later? Weve been there done that live happy people, laugh often, love much. Peace.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 7:54 am

    You're not black, are you?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • unrealAugust 21, 2014 - 6:36 pm

    unless you are one of those gay folks, or a muslim, then you should be pummeled outside a SF bus terminal. Right 2real? hypocrite

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodAugust 21, 2014 - 7:58 am

    Excellent, Kelvin. It's all racist, but "rational racism." If we deal with the world we have rationally and not the world as we wish it were (irrationally), we will not only have peace, we will move closer to that ideal.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tired-of-itAugust 21, 2014 - 8:43 am

    Excellent suggestions all around, Kelvin.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • clancyAugust 21, 2014 - 10:07 am

    Great advice Kelvin. Always enjoy your articles. Hope you are doing well.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRAugust 21, 2014 - 11:10 am

    It appears from eye witnesses that the person that was shot... Did attack the officer.... even broke his eye socket and was trying to take the officer's gun.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRAugust 21, 2014 - 11:13 am

    But yes good advice here..... If you are targeted it sometimes pays big to go along to get along to fight PEACEFULLY another day..... The Bible says you should not hurt other people. Got to leave again BYE.....On this Thursday, August 21 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex covers the move toward a Syrian intervention by the U.S. as the establishment media sensationalizes the James Foley beheading and the threat of ISIS and its reach. He also breaks down the latest on the protests and attacks on journalists in Ferguson, Missouri as Attorney General Eric Holder comes to town and a grand jury investigates the Michael Brown shooting. On today's worldwide broadcast, Alex talks with San Francisco Bay Area architect and founding member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Richard Gage. Alex also talks with Dr. Edward Group in-studio. Dr. Group founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Group is at the forefront of the research and development team at the center and assumes a hands-on approach to producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboAugust 21, 2014 - 11:57 am

    2real, Ferguson even reminds that the Missouri Compromise is still the way of thinking for the area.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboAugust 21, 2014 - 11:58 am

    Anyone mentioning 'Alex Jones' instantly loses all credibility.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    Maybe the DR can screen that phrase out.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • angry taxpayerAugust 21, 2014 - 5:34 pm

    Maybe " the talk " should include not assaulting a police officer, over half a dozen witnesses report Michael brown was the aggressor. Also, not just people of color should not talk back, comply, and keep your hands were the officer can see them. Basic common sense. These rules apply to everyone, not just people of color.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 9:27 pm

    Definitely, only more so.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 21, 2014 - 6:05 pm

    The need to "have the talk" is an admission that something is definitely wrong in today's society. However, the elephant in the room that nobody wants to confront is--why this talk is even necessary. I guess I am not qualified to offer any further insight, because it is inconceivable to me that my parents or anyone else would have to tell me to do whatever a police officer instructs me to do without showing "attitude" or even worse, aggression toward the officer. Or, if I was ever in that situation and had to mind my "p's and q's" I would feel put upon and a victim of a repressive society. But, hey, that's just me.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 9:31 pm

    Mr.S: No, you're as qualified as anybody. You just need to realize you enjoy white privilege. If you don't (i.e., you're black) you need "the talk."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 21, 2014 - 9:58 pm

    Rlw: I'm confused. If I enjoy "white privelege" why would I feel the need to behave appropriately around police officers without being told to do so? Especially white police officers? Am I insulated from undue police scrutiny because of "white privelege," or because I make it a point to follow the laws and rules of society? Conversely, why don't some Black males (for example), who don't enjoy "white privelege," seem to know any better than to provoke or escalate a situation? Could it be your "white privelege" concept is bogus? We either behave appropriately or we don't, it seems to me. Do the crime and you do the time, regardless of skin color. Perhaps a brief synopsis of the genesis and societal acceptance (or lack of same) of your "white privelege" concept is in order. Yes, I know it has been fashionable in liberal academic circles for generations. That alone, makes me skeptical.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 10:15 pm

    Mr.S: Have you ever been stopped by the police when running down a street because you were late for something? Eric Holder was, and he was a government attorney at the time.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 21, 2014 - 10:34 pm

    Correction, rlw: I believe in the Holder anecdote, he and a buddy were running down the street. If I and a friend of mine were dressed in street clothes and running down the street in a business district (the Holder episode isn't clear on this), for example, and a police officer stopped us, I might be irritated but in the end he would be justified in doing so. And, yes, I believe I would be stopped, white privelege and all. Guess we will never know the motivation of the officer who stopped Holder, and I doubt he was wearing a neon sign saying,"I am a US attorney!"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 10:44 pm

    Mr.S: I believe it was his younger brother, and they were trying to catch a movie in DC. OK, how about being followed around a department store by a security guard? That happened to Obama.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 21, 2014 - 11:19 pm

    White privilege, if it doesn't affect me, I don't care.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 21, 2014 - 11:15 pm

    White privilege, if it doesn't affect me, it isn't real or it isn't important.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 11:28 pm

    TSJ: White privilege, stuff doesn't happen to me in the first place. That's why such stuff doesn't affect me.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 21, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    Rlw895, because, white privilege, it's all about me, that's the experience that matters. Seeing the "talk" about it referred to as "whitesplaining."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 21, 2014 - 11:40 pm

    TSJ: If only those black people would be like me, they wouldn't have all these problems. Oops.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 21, 2014 - 11:53 pm

    Rlw895, ah, the need to listen, and to hear, other perspectives--other experiences. To try to identify where white privilege "blinds" white folks from seeing said privilege.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 22, 2014 - 8:56 am

    Ok, tsj and rlw. I think I get it now. "White privelege" actually does exist, and even though I enjoy "white privelege" because I am white, I don't know that I enjoy it ......because I am white. Hmmmm. Does this mean I don't have to be good and mind my "p's" and "q's" since nothing will happen to me anyway because I have "white privelege?" Man, look at all the fun I missed all these years, being good and stuff when I really didn't need to.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 22, 2014 - 9:21 am

    @Mr. Smith, you're still not there, sir. It's not about you missing out on misbehaving. I get the feeling I don't have the skills to get through here, though.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 22, 2014 - 9:52 am

    It's not a lack of skill on your part, tsj. I am just, for now at least, rejecting the concept. Did anything in my last posts on this topic make sense to you? If not, I guess we are even-steven. But its all good.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 22, 2014 - 9:56 am

    made perfect sense Mr. Smith. the "technical" term for it is whitesplaining.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 22, 2014 - 10:00 am

    Mr. Smith, its also an evidence of your privilege. you can deny it exists.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 22, 2014 - 11:02 am

    Sorry, tsj. I'm just not in the mood to apologize for being born white. As for my white privelege, when I was two years old my dad worked on a dairy farm in Texas. We lived in a shack on the property with no indoor plumbing and showers in the dairy barn on Saturday night--or in a wash tub during the winter with water heated on the stove. It's a lot different for me and my family now, but please don't try to tell me, "You didn't build that."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarAugust 22, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    I'm not asking for you to apologize, Mr. Smith. Just to consider listening to someone else's experience without denying it. Or considering it as less valuable than your own. Without taking it as a slight to you or your rights. Reading articles at colorlines dot com, or if you are very adventurous, blackgirldangerous dot org. And reading off and on for a period of time, even if you find it disturbing. Without telling them, "but I'm not like that," or "not all white people". If you are willing and do it, you will be doing yourself a favor in the long run. That's all.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 22, 2014 - 11:07 am

    Mr.S: No.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 22, 2014 - 11:11 am

    Mr.S: That was a response to your "nothing will happen to me" comment.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 22, 2014 - 11:22 am

    Mr.S: You seem to understand white privilege exists and that many whites take it for granted. That's progress. But your sarcastic exaggerated extrapolation of it shows you still don't get it, or if you do, you're in the stage of denial. So, HAS a store security guard filled you around?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 22, 2014 - 11:28 am


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 22, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    Rlw: Store clerks, a few times. It is aggravating. Security guards? No.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ?August 22, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    Do not you guys have a life?.... nothing better to do than be on here constantly? Tell me a joke rlw

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ?August 22, 2014 - 1:24 pm

    rlw..... You are as repetitive and uninteresting as railroad ties.... Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, to rlw by elimination, dishonesty/circumambulation is the second-best policy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ?August 22, 2014 - 5:48 pm

    rlw......You are as over-exposed on here as an open Barn Door and as much fun as a Splinter....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ?August 22, 2014 - 5:51 pm

    rlw...... You are as much a Clog as a shoe wedged in the main drain of a house in Amsterdam......OK now insult me back

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ? Where is rlw ?August 23, 2014 - 4:00 pm

    Confusion say...... rlw like broken closet rod....... has too many hang-ups

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teresa FicarraAugust 21, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    Kelvin, even in this 21st century, it tears at my heart that there is still so much racial profiling by the police. No person of any color should have to experience the abuse of power by any "peace" officer! I find myself to be color blind, and raised my children the same. We, as humans, can only stop bigotry and racism when it isn't taught to the children. That being said, teaching our children to be respectful to others, as well as themselves goes a long way. The little things matter more than most people think. So, your advice is quite sound; however, still breaks my heart that it is still necessary. (BTW, I'm glad you threw in the story about you & your buddies drinking beers at Alan Witt park and how that officer handled it! It shows that not all "peace" officers are total jerks!)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodAugust 21, 2014 - 9:46 pm

    Teresa: You raise some interesting questions. Racial profiling is a form of racism, but is it, alone, an abuse of power when employed by the police? Is it bigotry? This gets me on my soap box that we don't have enough terms for racism. It's not all the same; there are degrees. There is rational racism and irrational racism. Within irrational racism there is ignorant racism and virulent racism. Those are terms I made up that have helped my thinking. Maybe someone has better terminology. But the point is racism does not equal bigotry. Though all bigots may be racists, not all racists are bigots. "The talk" should include an explanation that though racial profiling by a police officer against you may be racist, it's not an abuse of power and it's not bigotry. It takes more information to determine that. And if you find you're up against a police officer who turns out to be a bigot, be ESPECIALLY respectful. Then report him when you're safe.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodAugust 21, 2014 - 11:31 pm

    Teresa: My first comment didn't post right away, so this may be a duplicate. Is racial profiling by a peace officer an abuse of power? Is it bigotry?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeAugust 21, 2014 - 7:36 pm

    My dad had that talk with me as a young lad too. He told me about love ,respect, and communicating in a positive manner. He had a great way of explaining life issues. I've carried that philosophy from him in my heart and mind. Dad's are cool that way, and I'm an Irishman. Peace

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Book SuggestionAugust 22, 2014 - 11:16 am

    In a gray fieldstone house in Nashville, Tennessee, the Reverend Joshua Smith Sr.--the staunch and gentle man known to thousands in black churches throughout the South as the Singing Evangelist and to one white reporter as "the Colored Billy Graham"--is trying to compose his own obituary on what will be the last day of his life. In doing so, he looks back over that life--from his childhood in rural northern Mississippi to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, from tears of humiliation to songs of celebration and triumph.......... When Do Lord Remember was first published in 1984, the Chicago Sun-Times compared it to Alex Haley's Roots, Newsday described it as "exquisitely crafted," People as "distinguished," the Philadelphia Inquirer as "riveting," and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer declared "every page has something worth remembering." Twenty years later and now a classic, Julius Lester's Do Lord Remember Me is an eloquent and deeply moving story about a black family's dignified struggle for survival Book Do Lord Remember Me by Julius Lester..... as an illegitimate white trash born in 1959 although white I could still really relate to this book, even though not Black...... are there any other books that persons of color would recommend whites read to start to understand?.... I also like to read books such as Daughter of Persia and books by women from India and Russia to understand their realities.... Thank You

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Today Friday on InfowarsAugust 22, 2014 - 11:27 am

    On this Friday, August 22 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex covers a wide range of unprecedented news, including Sen. Jim Inhofe's (R-Okla.) statement that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is planning to blow up an American city. The Obama administration's open borders policy ensures that ISIS, which is using weapons supplied by the U.S., won't have any trouble entering America to do so. Similarly, the TSA admitted it's giving illegal aliens, which could include undocumented terrorists, preferable treatment over American citizens by allowing the illegals to board airlines without any form of ID. Of course, the government will use the threat of ISIS to justify a militant police state.wwwinfowarscom

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://fortune.com/2014/02/24/buffetts-annual-letter-what-you-can-learn-from-my-real-estate-investments/August 22, 2014 - 11:49 am

    Google....Buffett's annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments February 24, 2014 fortune com...In 1993, I made another small investment. Larry Silverstein, Salomon’s landlord when I was the company’s CEO, told me about a New York retail property adjacent to New York University that the Resolution Trust Corp. was selling. Again, a bubble had popped — this one involving commercial real estate — and the RTC had been created to dispose of the assets of failed savings institutions whose optimistic lending practices had fueled the folly................ joined a small group — including Larry and my friend Fred Rose — in purchasing the building. Fred was an experienced, high-grade real estate investor who, with his family, would manage the property. And manage it they did. As old leases expired, earnings tripled. Annual distributions now exceed 35% of our initial equity investment. Moreover, our original mortgage was refinanced in 1996 and again in 1999, moves that allowed several special distributions totaling more than 150% of what we had invested. I’ve yet to view the property......

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Wikipedia.... Swiss ReAugust 22, 2014 - 11:54 am

    Interesting also note the early 1930s connection to China....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Google.....August 22, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Warren buffet Swiss Re world trade center....See...Life Re Agrees To Be Bought By Swiss Re - New York Times .... also Extreme Events and the Market for Terrorist Insurance - Faculty ... The point is that everything is being consolidated world wide and if you read the second paper.... that even though the Large Insurance Pools make a great deal of money, if you read the paper it is ultimately the Government mainly the US that ultimately pays out and bails out the reinsurers.... and kind of that everything Insurance wise ultimately traces back to Lloyds of London..... So see people there is a "THEY" that can control the economies of the entire world... this is just another aspect of the almost total economic control....really now the top of the THEY can just digitally create any amount of money in the system that they want... The money games are really just a control mechanism to control the global population and to pay off the actual people who are doing the manipulations to keep their evil minions in the game....and remember to READ REVELATION IN THE BIBLE and that they want us to all fight each other worldwide...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.