The fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., has prompted continent-wide conversations about race relations and police use of force in the U.S.
For Auriel Brown (no relation to Michael), many of those "uncomfortable" discussions have taken place inside her own home, with her 12-year-old son.
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'You let your son know that, "Hey, the world that you live in — I hate to break it to you — is a little bit different from those of your classmates."' —Auriel Brown
A former resident of St. Louis, the Wichita, Kan., mother spoke with the CBC’s Keith Boag in Ferguson on Sunday about “The Talk” many black parents are forced to have with their children, particularly their boys.
“You let your son know that, 'Hey, the world that you live in — I hate to break it to you — is a little bit different from those of your classmates,'" said Brown about preparing her son for the racism he may encounter as he grows older.
"'People do have these preconceived ideas about who you are just because of what others have done or because of somebody’s fear of unknown... so unfortunately, you’re going to be stereotyped, and sometimes you’re going to be treated in a way that’s really unfair. I just need you to know how to handle it in way that’s not going to make things worse for you.'"
Brown said she drove seven hours from her home in Wichita to participate in demonstrations that began in the wake of the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. The killing has sparked a week of racially charged protests, some of which saw officers fire rubber bullets and tear gas on participants.
“My big thing with coming here is, this isn’t just about Mike. This is about everybody’s little boy that will run into the same situation if change isn’t made. If this happens to him, it can to anybody’s kid. It has been happening to other people’s kids, so when does it stop?
“And what do we do to make it stop?”
To watch a raw clip of the CBC's conversation with Brown, click on the video at the top of the screen.