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How Do I Explain America to My Black Son?

Dec 19, 2016 | 72 videos
Video by The Atlantic

Atlantic writer Vann R. Newkirk is about to be a father, and he’s nervous. America’s history of racial violence is something that every citizen inherits, but the consequences for black Americans remain acute. “One day I’m gonna look that boy in the eye and have to explain the same thing my father did to me, and his grandfather to him: This is who we are,” he says in this film. “This is the same America that killed Emmett Till, and the same place that gave us Jim Crow.” Now, it’s the country that elected Donald Trump to the presidency. In this animation, Newkirk reflects on his own childhood in the South and the lesson’s he’ll try to impart to his son. This has been adapted from Newkirk’s Atlantic essay, “This Is Who We Are.”

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Authors: Caitlin Cadieux, Daniel Lombroso, Vann R. Newkirk II

About This Series

Short, animated videos from The Atlantic