Two Fathers, Two Sons, Two Different Conversations on Race

Two families, one black, one white, both live in Philly and have young boys, but are worlds apart when it comes to race.
8:23 | 12/12/14

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Transcript for Two Fathers, Two Sons, Two Different Conversations on Race
Tonight, with questions about justice front and center in a heated nationwide debate about race, we're bringing you behind closed doors for an intimate look at what that means for families. What do we say to our children? What are they learning on the streets, in school, from us? Two dads invited me into these personal discussion as part of our week-long look at race and justice in America. Two families living only miles apart. Hello. Reporter: Both with dedicated fathers. I have a math test. How do you think you did? I think I did pretty good. Reporter: Each with a 10-year-old boy. You're a nerd. Yeah, I'm a nerd. Just like me. Yeah. Reporter: Both middle class, married, college educated. Remember this? Yeah. Reporter: But when it comes to the issue of race, these fathers and sons live in different worlds. You have felt people treated you differently because you were black? Kind of in a way. I heard kids being racist. Sure. And they get in trouble right away. It's definitely big in school because kids are just messing around. Reporter: It's a chilly Wednesday in suburban Philadelphia. Daniel and his son Aiden are planning the final touching of their favorite winter tradition -- Christmas lights. Lots of them. We've got -- Christmas trees. Trees, mini trees, a big one in my bedroom. But there's a twist. What is that? We're jewish. Every snowman here is my mom. Aiden is bright, old soul. This is hand crafted. Reporter: 10 going on 30. But what's happening now across America -- the protests, the anger after the deaths of Michael brown and Eric garner, has this little boy asking big questions. Questions his father struggles to answer. He's african-american and people just, for some strange reason, don't think that they're equal. There's a part of me that looks at him and seeps him as this innocent little boy. And I hate we have to have conversations like this, but there are people who are living this. They live in Abington. Predominantly white suburb. Daniel told Aiden he doesn't have to fear police. But he wants to teach him, for many cases, that's not always the case. What's going on in Ferguson? A teacher brought it up once, but every once in awhile, a kid will bring it up and everyone will start saying their opinion and the teacher kind of has to calm it down. You can't say, you know, all police are this or all police are that, you know, they're our friends and they work really hard to protect our community. But you know -- you have to be honest that there are problems. You know who Eric garner is, right? Uh-huh. Who is Eric garner? A person who was choked to death by a police officer. Uh-huh. Good morning. This is Solomon Jones on the 900 A.M. Reporter: For Solomon Jones, a popular radio host, the race talk is a running dialogue with his son. When I look at my son, I see him as this a-b student, he's soft spoken, he wants to be a scientist. And I just don't want my son to have to go through some of the things that I've been through and some of the things I've seen other people go through. Reporter: Young Solomon is quiet, studious. Not a troublemaker. But his father worries in the heat of the moment, that won't matter. If you get stopped by the police, even if you feel like they stopped you for no reason -- Like harassing you. Just be polite. Just get out of the situation so you can come home. And then we can file charges against them later. Reporter: Solomon wants to make sure his son is safe. That his face doesn't end up on a poster like this. Nearly two-thirds of blacks say race was a big part in not dieting the officers in Eric garner and Michael brown. When I was a boy, my parents, we had, like, the sex talk, right? But in my house, we also had the race talk. Do you guys have that conversation? No, we don't. Except when something happens. I completely understand it with the thing in Ferguson, I think african-american people would be scared that a policeman would do that again. But I think that after the Ferguson thing, I think we should T the police, still. They shouldn't be, like, I'm never going to call a policeman if I have an emergency. Right. I think they should at least try calling them. Reporter: Statistically speaking, young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts. But you saw what happened with Eric garner. When that happened, how did it make you feel? Made me feel sad because they had it on tape and the people who were seeing the body counted it as a homicide and the policeman didn't get in trouble. Why do you think that happened to Eric garner? Because the policeman hated, like, african-americans. Do you really think that's why he did that? Yeah. I know that there are a lot of good police officers. The problem is that when we have bad police officers, we can't get them out. They have to be rooted out because they're a danger to me as a black man, they're a danger to my son as a black boy. Reporter: These men are close to their sons. Want them to become the best of men. But even for them, the issue of race leads to challenging discoveries about each other. Like when young Solomon told his father about the moment a teacher told a classmate's word over his. Was the girl black, too? No. Was she white? Do you think that's why they believed her and didn't believe you? Yeah. How did that make you feel? Ah, angry. That makes me feel angry, too. Reporter: Your eyes are watering. It makes me sad. Because you don't want -- you don't want your kids to go through the things that you've gone through. You know, I don't want to see my son go through any pain. Reporter: With the story from his own childhood, Daniel surprises Aiden, a bitter memory, prejudice runs generations deep. When I was little, I was at a friend's house and I overheard the father telling him to get that dirty Jew out of my house. And I hadn't been exposed to much of that, but that moment was -- I felt, in danger. I felt -- um -- I was afraid. Reporter: Has he heard that story before? No, actually. You probably told it to men, but no, I don't remember it. Reporter: In your life, have you ever been made to feel less than because you're jewish? Not really. Usually I'm, like, the only Jew in the class. Reporter: What's your takeaway, having to have those conversations with your son? Think it's part of being a father. It's an uncomfortable conversation, it's a necessary conversation. Reporter: Two fours, two sons, for whom race in America is shaded by the color of their skin. Yet there is a clear solution, they all agree. It starts with a conversation. I think that my role for them is to prepare them for real life and real life for african-americans, somebody said, it ain't no crystal stair. If you can't accept that racism still exists, if you can't accept that it is affecting what happens in the lives of black and brown men and women, then you can't solve it. We have to be honest. You can't keep pretending, just because, you know, I'm white, that racism doesn't happen. So, we do things differently. I think more people should.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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