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If My Son Were Black

A number of years ago, my wife and I were thinking about adopting a baby. We didn't have tons of money, so we thought it would be less expensive to adopt a black baby boy. For various reasons it didn't work out. But if we had, we would have:

1) Loved him unconditionally.

2) Taught him God's Laws such as that you treat others as you would like to be treated, and that you are to use your talents to make the world a better place, and that we are to love others, who are all our brothers and sisters in God.

3) Either home-schooled him or put him into a good school that has similar values to our values. Among many other things, he would learn to read, write well and speak well, in addition to speaking in front of others.

4) Teach him that he is responsible for each of his thoughts, words, and deeds.

5) Teach him to be kind and polite to others, and to only accept kindness and politeness from them. (Never allow yourself to be disrespected, without challenge).

6) Teach him that when he falls in love and wants to marry, he and his girlfriend should finish their educations, then get married, and then have children.

Presumably, most good parents want these things for their children.

But because my son was black, as he got older, he might ask why others who are black seem to commit more crimes. This would lead to many long discussions. 

And my bottom line to him would be that, whatever the reasons, you are going to be profiled because of your skin color. If he said that wasn't fair, I'd say people will always be profiled in one way or another. Men are profiled by both women and men because we men commit way more serious crimes than women. So just deal with it, without getting angry about it.

What, he might ask, could he do about it. I'd say he already knew most of what to do, but I would add the following because he is black:

a) Dress well when you go out. No baggy jeans, no jewelry, no hoodies. "If you wear these you will be profiled, and not in a good way."

b) If a policeman pulls you over, stop your car as safely as you can, roll your window down, and then put both of your hand on the steering wheel. Deal with him politely. 

If you can get a Concealed Handgun License, do so. Police know that you have to go through a thorough background check to get a CHL, and so he'll know you are not a threat. (In Texas CHL holders have a MUCH lower crime rate than non-CHL holders. And not one CHL holder has shot a police officer).

"Do these things, my son, and you will have very few problems with the police or anyone else. And you will get ahead in the world."

"Sound like it's pretty easy to do."

"It is, my son. It really is. Sadly, many children aren't taught these things. Many children have no good father figures in their lives. In some poor neighborhoods, 70% of the children are born out-of-wedlock. These children have little chance of creating a good life for themselves or their families."

"What can we do abut this?"

"I have a few solutions that would help (such as giving the poor school choice), but it is largely going to be up to the parents to teach their children how to lead their lives in a responsible manner. Unfortunately, this will take decades."

Tim Farage is a Professor of Computer Science and a Graduate Adviser at The University of Texas at Dallas. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author. You are welcome to comment upon this blog post or to contact him at


Walter said…
Enjoyed your comments, Tim, and if they were followed by everyone there would be far fewer problems.

Since my son is half-Chinese and half-white, and since we could only afford to buy him a rather tired Tercel when he turned sixteen, I offered similar advice to him - he could, after all, be mistaken for a Filipino or Latino gang member (a look that benefited him working undercover years later). I also insisted that for his trip to the DMV to get his photo shot that he wear a suit and tie - amazing what that does to identify you as middle-class or above to prospectively friendly policemen. (I do the same, by the way.)

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Tim Farage said…
What is very sad for me is that it is very simple to avoid these heart-retching incidents. If schools and parents would teach their kids how to deal with the police (and everyone else for that matter) these deaths would be drastically reduced.

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