“The Talk”: the coming-of-age conversation Black parents have with their children

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
November 12, 2020, 1:00 PM UTC

In a year filled with a series of high-profile incidents of police violence against Black Americans, including the killing of George Floyd and the shooting of Breonna Taylor, Black parents are reportedly having a particular coming-of-age conversation with their children at a much earlier age.

That conversation is “The Talk”, a colloquial expression for a conversation some Black and Hispanic parents in the US feel they need to have with their children about the dangers they face due to racism or unjust treatment from authority figures, and how to behave in the presence of police. Most Americans (61%) — including 73% of Black Americans — think these parents are justified in their concerns, according to a new YouGov survey.

The findings also reveal that 58% of Hispanic Americans believe these Black and Hispanic parents are justified in their reasons to have the talk with their children, an opinion that a similar share of White Americans (60%) also agree with. One in five Americans overall say the concerns of these parents are not justified (19%).

Black parents feel especially strongly when it comes to the need to have the difficult coming-of-age conversation. Among Black Americans who have children, 77% say their concerns for having the difficult coming-of-age conversation is justified (vs. 60% of parents overall). And Black parents with a child aged 18 or over are the most likely of any other racial group to say parents of color are justified in giving the children the talk about racism in policing (82%).

Methodology: The results are based on the interviews of 41,101 US adults aged 18 and over. Interviews were conducted online between October 26 to November 2, 2020. The results have been weighted to be nationally representative.

Image: Getty