Grey’s Anatomy Takes a Hard Look At ‘The Talk’ Black Parents Have to Give Their Sons About Police Brutality

In an episode that combined activism with life-saving medicine, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursday, Jan. 25 tackled a troubling subject no parent should have to talk to their children about.

When a Black boy from an upper-class family arrives at the hospital with a gunshot wound to his neck, Jesse Williams’ Dr. Jackson Avery, who had his own case of racial profiling growing up with the same socio-economic status, is immediately upset at the officer’s response.

“Your co-worker shot a kid in the neck for no reason; you need to figure out a new way to do your job,” Avery tells the officer, who is white.

The boy had been trying to get into his home through the window. He forgot his key and had previously tried to go to some neighbors’ house, as his parents told him, but they were not home.

The character’s name is Eric Sterling, seemingly named after two men who were gunned down by police. Eric Garner, the New York man who cops put in a banned chokehold in 2014 and ultimately killed and Alton Sterling, who in 2016 was selling CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La., when police confronted and fatally shot him.

“It’s an amalgamation of stories that were out in the media and personal experiences from the writers’ room and our actors,” former ER doctor and “Grey’s” writer Zoanne Clack told The Hollywood Reporter of the plot, which Williams — an activist himself — immediately wanted in on. “I spoke with a couple people [on Grey’s] to merge the stories to give it the reality it needed to have the impact that I hope it has.”

Perhaps the most emotional scene comes after the boy succumbs to his injuries. It’s then that Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey and her husband, Jason George’s Dr. Ben Warren, tell their son about how he could safely interact with police.

“I am William George Bailey Johnson,” the boy known as Tuck says with his hands behind his head. “I am 13 years old and I have nothing to harm you.”

Bailey and Warren tell him to be polite and respectful and not to fight back.

“Your only goal is to get home safely,” she says. “And if your white friends are saying things or mouthing off know that you cannot. You can’t climb through windows, throw rocks, play with toy guns and never, ever run away from them no matter how afraid you are. … Everything we’re saying to you, we’re saying because we want you to come home again and grow up to be anything you want to be. You are amazing. You are perfect. And we want you to stay that way.”

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