Actress Sherri Shepherd shared the conversations she’s been having with her 15-year-old, special-needs son Jeffrey Tarpley, on racism in light of the anti-police brutality protests that have happened nationwide since Minnesota resident George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25.
Black parents teaching their children about racism and how to interact with police is part of Black culture, and in a recent appearance on The Talk, Sherri Shepherd spoke on her conversations with Jeffrey and the fears she has as a Black mother.
“It’s a big struggle… knowing that someone may not like him or get to that part of the core of who he is because they don’t like his skin color. That hurts me, that I’m in anguish and I’m in fear because he looks like a grown man,” said Shepherd. “He’s bigger, he’s taller than me, and his voice is deep… trying to tell him to, you know, be compliant if the police stop you, be compliant, which I hate because I want to tell him no, you have rights, you stand up.”
“He doesn’t quite get it. It’s not really sinking in. I’m more tense than he is,” added Shepherd. “I think we went and walked the dog the other day and I was so tense, because I said, what if somebody screams out, because we all go through that thing, Sheryl [Underwood] you know, where somebody will scream out the N word, and what if somebody does that to my son? I’m in this ‘fear or fight’ mode because I want to protect my baby. I’m a Black woman. Black mothers’ prayers are so different, because we want our child to come home. It’s been hard for me.”
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With everything going on in the world… viruses and social distance… a toilet paper shortage for goodness sake! I gotta deal w a teen who has a problem w me wearing leggings! This boy is about to get put out 😏. Have a safe and peaceful day. Wash your hands and cough into your elbow ♥️ #sonissues #teenager #lovemyson #corona
As a Black mother, Sherri Shepherd was especially moved by George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter protests that have followed as a result. “I’m so glad that people around the world are stepping up and saying, ‘Yes, Black lives matter,'” says Shepherd. “As a mother, I’ve been watching the brutal beating and hearing about murders of trans folks… we have to remember also that this is somebody’s child.” On her own son, Shepherd says: “Knowing that someone will hate him for his skin color and not even get to that beautiful part of him, it really upsets me. So I fight for him.”