PIEDMONT TRIAD, N.C. -- As racial tensions remain high following the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, some African-Americans have taken to social media to talk about their experiences of raising children in America.
The tweets, tagged with #ThingsItellMyBlackSon, offer insights into conversations African-American parents are having with their sons. Some of the parents believe they have to have special kinds of talks with their sons to keep them from getting into trouble or get in a fatal confrontation because of their skin color.
Some of the tweets tagged say things like:
"Don't run through the neighborhood because police might think you did something wrong."
"If a police officer approaches you, don't say anything, just put your hands up and comply."
The conversation is not just on social media, they are and have been happening in some African-American households for years.
In North Carolina, a step to help ease racial tensions now means officers have to take four hours of juvenile/minority diversity training each year.
WFMY News 2 stopped by a local barbershop where some said they identify with some of what parents are posting under the #ThingsItellMyBlackSon hashtag.
"My mom taught me, cooperate. And I'm teaching him, God forbid, in any situation, cooperate," said Joey Staton.
"There's a difference between how officers view black males from white makes but I think it's because of the things that we do in our communities and within our culture that gives them that perception of us," Kevin Bartee said. "We ride around in big chunky rims, and drugs, and weeds. Not every black person does that but those who do make it bad for everybody else."
Wrenchel Stokes added, "There was a perception that I [as a black man] would have to act differently but my parents kind of put it to me in a way that I had to do so to protect myself from the dangers of people not understanding me."
Dominique Wharton, 24, says it was the same message his mother made sure to drill into him when he was in middle school.
"She taught me to only speak when you're spoken to, to be respectful, to always remember that you have two things against you: you're black and you're young, and unfortunately that's something that sometimes can work against you," he said.