My parents made me conscious of the target that was on my back at a young age.
When going out with friends or roaming in public my mom always briefed and debriefed me with “the talk”. It’s not the birds and the bees talk. It’s the talk about understanding that I was a young black man in a world that is not only unfriendly but hostile towards Black and Brown people. I had to always be aware of possible perceptions of me. I needed to always assess my environments, be mindful of who I was around, and make sure I could be cleared of culpability. I learned that off the starting line people would be suspicious of me, and not just white people. My mom hated for me to be out in public alone without having cash in my pocket. If anything were to ever go down, a young black man in a store without cash must be up to no good. I was raised with a certain degree of paranoia and guilt.