Documentary 'The Talk' explores important discussion between parents and children

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, is profiled in "The Talk."
Courtesy Thirteen Productions

"The Talk — Race in America"

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

The current state of race relations — particularly between police and people of color — is explored in an intimate context in a new documentary debuting Monday.

The Talk — Race in America, premiering at 8 p.m. Monday, examines the increasingly common conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

In many homes, “the talk,” as it is called, usually contains phrases like this:

If you are stopped by the police:

Always answer “yes sir, no sir”; never talk back; don’t make any sudden movements; don’t put your hands in your pockets; obey all commands; if you think you are falsely accused, save it for the police station. I would rather pick you up at the station than the morgue…

This story reflects not only the deeply troubled community relationships at a grass roots level, but the ever-widening gap between majority-minority populations in the United States.

The documentary was filmed in Long Beach and Oakland, Calif.; St. Louis; Richland County, South Carolina; Memphis, Tenn.; and Cleveland.

Among those profiled are Christi Griffin, activist and founder of The Ethics Project, who, after living through the traumatic events of Ferguson, Mo., created “Parent 2 Parent,” a series of conversations with black parents talking with white parents about “the talk” with their black sons; Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, who was a 12-year-old boy killed by the Cleveland police while playing with a toy gun in a local park; the Rev. Catherine Brown, who was assaulted by Chicago Police in front of her children in her own car; Trevena Garel, retired sergeant, New York City Police Department, who has investigated allegations of misconduct involving both uniformed and/or civilian members of the NYPD; Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President and retired officer, New York City Police Department; the Ramirez family, whose 28-year-old son, Oscar, was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff in Paramount, Calif., a community southeast of Los Angeles; and members of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, who share the protocols for using lethal force and describe the danger from a police officer’s point of view.

Each story is produced by a different filmmaker to ensure that diverse perspectives are presented. The project’s director and supervising producer, filmmaker Sam Pollard, an Academy Award nominee and multiple Emmy Award winner, and Academy Award nominee Julie Anderson, closely oversaw the producers and managed the overall creative look, storytelling and structure.

More than a television event, The Talk – Race in America will be accompanied by a national engagement campaign and will seek to address national concerns through local public television stations and community outreach partners.

Extensive social media will support the broadcast and live events with public media stations across the country. The Talk – Race in America has launched a seven-month social media conversation at #TheTalkPBS and @TheTalkPBS on Facebook and Twitter. Social media conversations will explore the topics of community policing, the power of representation in media and how to talk to children about race. Online audience members will also be invited to share their experiences of having or giving “the talk.”

Visit PBS.org/thetalk for exclusive video content, special features and more. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #TheTalkPBS.

 

 

 

Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at Chip.Chandler@actx.edu, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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