Strangers are scary.
A stranger could be any kind of person. A serial killer. A drug addict ready to cut your throat for a dollar. A rapist. A pedophile band director. A thief. A kidnapper.
So we tell our children (as we have absorbed the lesson from our parents and teachers)
DO. NOT. TALK. TO. STRANGERS.
Our children (as we have grown to own ourselves) see danger and peril in every person unknown to him or her. Everyone is a potential threat. Everyone is there to cause us mayhem. The entire planet is filled with people who are terrorists and child abductors and BAD PEOPLE.
And thus each one of us is suspicious of the other. Each one of us side eyes everyone around and sees evil. We are afraid of everyone because everyone poses an imagined threat. We arm ourselves because of this fear. We puff ourselves up, ready for conflict at all times because of this fear. We are all George Zimmerman/Bernhard Goetz/Darren Wilson all waiting with a hair trigger to defend ourselves from the enemy and the enemy is EVERYONE.
At this point, if you're black, anyone white is scary. If you're white, anyone NOT white is scary. Men are scary. Men are really fucking scary. Lesbians? Jesus, they're SUPER scary.
Maybe this Do Not Talk to Strangers stuff is the wrong direction to take. Maybe this ingrained fear of everyone is having some seriously shitty side effects on society as a whole.
How about this angle:
Strangers are doorways.
A stranger could be any kind of person. Your best friend in the world. Your next business partner. The person who inadvertently teaches you the meaning of life. The best chess opponent you'll ever play. The person who recommends you for that job of a lifetime. Your next great love.
Tell your children (tell yourselves) to talk to strangers. Engage in conversation with random people and maybe even make a friend. Tell a story; listen for one.
Sure, maybe one in thirty is a rapist serial killer who wants your wallet first before he bashes your skull in with a framing hammer but it's Donald Trump who thinks we should be afraid of everyone not like us and he's a fucking jackass.