A short documentary takes a look at what it's like to grow up black in America.

"I want people to know I'm perfectly fine, and I'm not going to hurt anybody or do anything bad." — Maddox, 10 years old

A new documentary explores what it's like to grow up black in America.

Joe Brewster and Perri Peltz released "A Conversation About Growing Up Black" earlier this month via The New York Times. The short documentary, just over five minutes long, provides insight into just some of the many unique challenges and fears black boys must face.

Several interview subjects brought up the issue that's been on everyone's mind: police violence.

17-year-old Malik touched on the topic, discussing how it hurts him that violence or abuse might come from the people who are supposed to protect him.


Clips by The New York Times.

Jumoke, also 17, brought up that he feels like he and other young black men are being "hunted" by police.

Another struggle brought up in the video is that black men are often more likely to be seen as a threat to strangers in public.

Miles, 13, describes a time he was walking home with a classmate. "I was walking home from school with this one white girl and we had just gotten off the bus," he says. When they were almost home, they approached a crowd of black children who'd also just gotten out of school. The girl turned to Miles and said: "Oh, let's cross the street. There's a group of black kids. I don't want to run into them."

25-year-old Marvin talks about one of his teachers, who made him take off a wristband because "it looks gang-affiliated." And he discusses what it's like to have the world see him as a potential threat.

Racism in society takes many forms and is far more subtle than many people realize.

I am white. Because of that, I'm never going to know what racism feels like. I can't say, "I know how that feels" because I don't. I can't.

What I and others who have benefitted from institutional racism can do is to start listening. We can start sharing the stories of men and boys like Miles, Jumoke, Malik, and Marvin.

Because as Bisa, 17, explains, understanding the hows and whys of racism is a complicated process that young men like him have to deal with from a very young age.

And Maddox, just 10 years old, already knows that society unfairly expects him to grow up to be a threat.

No one should have to grow up like this or go through life like this.

More
True
Open Society Foundations


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared