Detroit’s former emergency manager Kevyn Orr is the latest father to open up about the constant fear of losing his Black son at the hands of racist police officers.
During his exit interview on Thursday at the Detroit Economic Club, Orr gave a candid response to a question about race and police brutality that reminded everyone that racism knows no bounds.
Following the recent string of deaths of unarmed Black men by police officers, the race discussion has been given new life and seems to be fueled by an unfaltering flame, causing mothers and fathers of all kinds to open up about their deep fears of what may happen to their Black sons when they leave home.
The rich, the famous, and even the powerful have been breaking their silence about the unfortunate talk parents have to have with their Black children.
“I have to teach him how to speak cop,” Orr, a bankruptcy lawyer, said about his young son, according to the Free Press. “How to use proper diction. Never put himself in a position where he is considered disorderly because once you do that anything can happen. It can escalate as it just did in Yale.”
The reference to Yale was a direct nod to New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who recently revealed his worse fear had come true.
Campus police at Yale pointed a gun at Blow’s son after the young man had just left the library.
The officers confused Blow’s son Tahj for a burglary suspect about whom they had received a call. The officer barely asked any questions before pointing his gun at Blow’s son and telling him lie face first on the concrete sidewalk on Yale’s campus in New Haven.
Blow made it clear that he was furious about the incident but happy that his “talk” with his son had paid off.
At the same time, however, he was “brewing with sadness and anger” that his son even had to “use that advice.”
Orr has had the same talk with his son, who is now armed with the same knowledge that could help save his life one day—much like it may have for Blow’s son.
Orr then referenced the recent death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann for holding a toy gun.
“I don’t want him to lineup on a slab because somebody rolled up on an incident at a playground where he had a pellet gun and shot him in two seconds,” Orr said. “That is a concern I have even as me, that other people have. And we have got to have a dialogue about that to cycle through this problem. Another 56 years should not pass where we’re putting young Black children at risk.”
Orr and Blow aren’t the only fathers to express such concerns to the public lately.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio revealed he has the same fears every night.
“[B]ecause of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers [my son] face, we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him,” De Blasio said back in December after it was revealed that New York officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted in the death of unarmed Staten Island father Eric Garner.
As for Orr, he is bidding Detroit farewell but will be lending his services to Atlantic City.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently appointed Orr to Atlantic City’s emergency management team last week.