Remember when your parents gave you your first “this is what racism is” talk? How old were you?
A new Proctor & Gamble My Black Is Beautiful ad brilliantly captures that heartbreaking lecture we’ve all had in a new video titled “The Talk.” Seen through the eyes of the mothers, we follow each one through different eras comforting their children and trying build up their self-esteem in a world that seems set to tear them down. It begs the question: How do you prepare your child for the harsh reality of white supremacy and racial bias and still let them be a child?
This is the dilemma of being a Black parent in America.
In one segment, a Black mother is dropping her apprehensive daughter off to summer camp in the 1980s. She turns to her child and tells not to worry, reminding her that she can do exactly what the white girls can. However, she offers this caveat: “The only difference is that you have to work twice as hard and be twice as smart.”
Does that advice sound familiar? (Raises hand)
In another: A mother in present-day makes sure her son, who is off to band practice, has his ID “in case they stop” him. It’s clear that the “they” she is referring to are the police. And it’s understandable in our Black Lives Matter era that her concerns about state violence are completely valid.
One of the most emotional moments is set in the1950s where a little girl tells her mother that a white woman at a store told her that she was “pretty for a Black girl.”
Gazing in the mirror as she braided her daughter’s hair, she looks her in the eye to stress: “You’re not pretty for a black girl. You’re beautiful period.”
The video ends with the following: “It’s time for everyone to #TalkAboutBias. Let’s all talk about the talk so we can end the need to have it.”
Pretty powerful stuff.
“Our goal with ‘The Talk’ is to help raise awareness about the impact of bias,” Damon Jones, director of global company communications at Procter & Gamble, recently told HuffPost.
“We are also hopeful that we can make progress toward a less biased future by recognizing the power of people of all backgrounds and races showing up for one another.”
We just hope the rest of the world is paying attention and finally ready to talk and listen.