WATCH: Black fathers speak candidly about talking to sons about racism in America

'They need to use their voice to speak up'

DETROIT – Three Black fathers who are raising Black or biracial children in America spoke candidly about teaching their son to try to avoid racism and, quite frankly, just survive.

There’s good news from our conversation. All of the dads have incredible hope when it comes to social justice.

“Yeah, I have tremendous hope,” said local church pastor Chris Brooks.

He shared why he’s optimistic that things will get better in our country’s fight against racism. He, along with local musician Herb Harris Junior and Lucas Hagerty, are all raising Black or biracial sons. They’re teaching them how to deal with hatred towards them based on the color of their skin but share why they believe things will continue to get better.

“First off, my relationship with Christ,” Brooks said. “That gives me hope in my faith. But I also have hope because of the history of this country. Whenever we have had conversations like this, hard tough conversations about the brokenness of our structures and our systems we’ve improved those systems.”

“I have hope because the community I live in don’t see no racism,” said Lucas Hagerty. “I’m not saying it’s not there. I don’t see none. Neither of them have come home from school and told me that any racism type of things have happened at school.”

“I think it’s just in our nature as human beings to make progress,” said Herb Harris Junior. “If you settle or if you don’t grow I think you die. I think that as a human race we have a pull naturally to regress and make change.”

“I know right now is a tough moment for our country,” said Brooks. “A tough moment for cities all over our country but it’s an important moment because now we’re having conversations across ethnic lines, across racial lines, across generational lines about some real structural institutional issues that can be changed and my prayer is that they will be changed and the type of interactions my sons will have, my daughters will have will be different than what I’ve had and different than what my parents had. If we keep having these tough conversations I think we can get there.”

And while these dads teach their Black or biracial sons how to deal with racism and the way some people view Black men, they’re also teaching them how to stand up against hatred against people from other communities.

“As I raise my boys, part of what I want them to do is to understand that they have a voice and they have an obligation, even if they’re blessed to avoid some of these more negative or harmful interactions, they need to know that there are others in the communities that are around them that maybe don’t get to avoid that so they need to use their voice to speak up,” said Brooks. “I want to model that for them.”

More: ‘Spirit of Detroit: Fulfilling the Dream’ Special

Extended cut: Evrod Cassimy talks with fathers on raising Black sons in America

Special Section: Spirit Of Detroit Fulfilling The Dream

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