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Raleigh family to discuss race and police on ‘Steve Harvey’ on Thursday

A Raleigh mother and two of her children will talk about race and policing in a “town hall” episode of “Steve Harvey” that will air Thursday.

Deb Besinger, who is white, has three adopted black children. Two of them – 17-year-old son Gaige and 15-year-old daughter Bliss – appear with her on the nationally syndicated talk show. The episode discusses interactions between law enforcement officers and African-Americans, as well as the “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” movements.

It was taped in late August, before recent events such as Charlotte’s fatal shooting of a black man by police this week or NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem.

Deb Besinger talks of how she worries about encounters her children may have with police. Gaige Besinger describes being at a mall with white friends when a person shoplifted an item. Gaige says he was not involved, but police “first questioned me out of anybody else.”

Bliss says she feels that she is often looked at with suspicion.

“I know that sometimes people can ... stereotype me and look at me different,” Bliss says on the show. “Even when I’m walking down the street, I’m afraid to ... run, even if I’m in a hurry, because I think someone will think I’m suspicious.”

Others on the program include Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn; Ja’mal Green, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement; and Tonja Garafola, widow of a Louisiana deputy who was killed during the summer in what investigators say was retaliation for the death of Alton Sterling, a black man shot by police in Baton Rouge. Also featured are Alphonza Mabry of Greensboro and Steven Jumper of Eden, who say they think they were racially profiled when police pulled them over.

“Steve Harvey” airs at 6 p.m. on WRAZ in Raleigh.

Thad Ogburn: 919-829-8987, @thadogburn

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