Attorney, speaker and author of “Our Kind Of People,” Lawrence Otis Graham appeared on Nightline to piss all Black people off the same way CNN host Don Lemon does. In the video above, Graham explains that he urges his privileged children to wear sweater vests instead of graphic T-shirts with offensive messages and khakis instead of baggy jeans–and those wardrobe choices are what’s going to save them from a deadly encounter with law enforcement. See–Don Lemon had the same advice for Black folk.
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We are so sick of this same dialogue–wearing a certain type of clothing being the saving grace for wayward Black kids. There’s no amount of sweaters tied around Black necks that will ease the tensions between police and Black youth. Graham grew up in an all-White suburb of New York in the 60s and 70s, so his experiences of racism should be enough to give him the knowledge that it doesn’t matter what clothes he puts on his kids. These days, seeing their brown faces wandering around his upscale neighborhood is enough to cause alarm in any of his White neighbor’s minds. But luckily for them, they’ll be wearing their khakis and button up shirts. SMH.
This dialogue is Graham’s favorite dead horse to beat.
Check out more of Graham’s rules for his kids:
1. Never run while in the view of a police officer or security person unless it is apparent that you are jogging for exercise, because a cynical observer might think you are fleeing a crime or about to assault someone.
2. Carry a small tape recorder in the car, and when you are the driver or passenger (even in the back seat) and the vehicle has been stopped by the police, keep your hands high where they can be seen, and maintain a friendly and non-questioning demeanor.
3. Always zip your backpack firmly closed or leave it in the car or with the cashier so that you will not be suspected of shoplifting.
4. Never leave a shop without a receipt, no matter how small the purchase, so that you can’t be accused unfairly of theft.
5. If going separate ways after a get-together with friends and you are using taxis, ask your white friend to hail your cab first, so that you will not be left stranded without transportation.
6. When unsure about the proper attire for a play date or party, err on the side of being more formal in your clothing selection.
7. Do not go for pleasure walks in any residential neighborhood after sundown, and never carry any dark-colored or metallic object that could be mistaken as a weapon, even a non-illuminated flashlight.
8. If you must wear a T-shirt to an outdoor play event or on a public street, it should have the name of a respected and recognizable school emblazoned on its front.
9. When entering a small store of any type, immediately make friendly eye contact with the shopkeeper or cashier, smile, and say “good morning” or “good afternoon.”
Yeah….what do you think about this one beauties? Sound off in the comments below.
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