Deb Colbert: What black mothers must teach their children

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As part of our series honoring Black History Month, Horizonte host José Cárdenas spoke with Deb Colbert about different talks black mothers must have with their children, especially with regard to police.

What is it like being a black mother in Arizona in 2022?

Colbert: “Being a black mother in Arizona in 2022 is eye opening, it allows us to step back, take a look, and what we have been doing as mothers. Some of the mothers who have gotten their children through school already and those who are just beginning have to work together. I think for mothers in Arizona in 2022 its like mothers across the country. You have to stay focused on what your children need and what the resources are available for them through the system. You have to be ready to supplement them to what children need.”

Do black parents in Arizona have to have the talk with their sons about how to interact with police officers?

Colbert: “You bet we do, and more so than ever in 2022. Having ‘the talk’ now starts early. Instead of waiting for our children to reach driving age. or age where they are out there on their own, we have to start it now when they start school. So we have different stages of the talk now. At the elementary level the talk is around how you self-manage in a classroom. The talk as you start to progress is starts to be around police officers that may be in the middle school or at the high school level, and in our actions with police officers outside of school in the external environment.”

Is this a sign of progress or our we going back?

Colbert: “I don’t like to think of us going back, I like to think of the fact that we have become stagnant in how we socialize in our schools and in America. I think it is about understanding and knowledge, and becoming educated around true differences that are occurring. I really don’t think it is backwards as much as we are right now standing in the place where fear is driving a higher level of ignorance.”

Deb Colbert, Executive Director at Black Mothers Forum, Inc.

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