July 12, 2022 by Gary A. Johnson
While watching this video, I immediately thought about Bébé’s Kids, the routine by the late comedian Robin Harris. I was not watching a skit or a parody. I was watching “real” kids swing at, taunt and hit law enforcement officers. This is not funny. Where are the parents or guardians of these children?
I am very sensitive to police brutality against Black citizens, particularly the shootings of unarmed Black boys and men. I’ve been profiled. I’ve been stopped by the police while on official business and had a weapon drawn on me. I know what it feels like.
I also come from a police family and was taught to have respect for law enforcement. My mother was a “cop” in Washington, DC. She was a Sgt. on the Metropolitan Police Department. My Godmother was a DC Police Officer. I had a lot of “play Aunts” and “Uncles” — all decorated police officers.
The video footage below captures a young Black kid repeatedly hitting a Minnesota Police Officer who was in the neighborhood to arrest a murder suspect. This kid looks to be about 3 years-old. He called the officer a “bitch” and tells his colleague to “shut the fuck up!” This was followed by mocking a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Officer referring to his work boots as “ugly-ass church shoes.”
The following video clip was released by Alpha News was filmed in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This is one of the saddest videos I’ve seen featuring children. Sad because it highlights that we have a long way to go in this country when it comes to socio-economics. In this case it appears that these kids are living in an environment of poverty and neglect, and statistically that usually yields two choices for young black boys: Prison or Death.
Children this young, who behave this way are NOT at fault. They are victims of system held in place by adults who want to maintain two Americas–one “white,” and the other “separate and unequal.”
Again, I ask: Where are the parents or guardians of these children?
These children, some in diapers with no shoes — punched, kicked, cursed, and threw rocks at law enforcement officers. This “learned behavior” is likely an every day norm for these children. They have watched older people around them behave this way and they are simply modeling what they see on a daily basis. (We only saw a snippet of their behavior. There is another version of the video that is 2:30 seconds).
In an article titled, “Grooming Children For a Life of Crime,” author Sheila Qualls wrote of the incident on Alpha News, “Children who can’t read or cross the street unattended hurled profanities and unabashed disrespect at law enforcement officers.”
These children are a living example when people grow up and live in desperate economic conditions, also known as poverty. These kids are literally showing the contempt for law enforcement with the spirit of N.W.A.’s “Fuck the Police.”
As they cussed, berated, and struck police officers with their fists, a bystander can be heard in the background encouraging the children by saying “Oreo head,” an apparent reference to the black police officer at the scene. The slur “Oreo head.” According to Dictionary.com, “Oreo head,” means, “A black person who is regarded as having adopted the attitudes, values, and behavior thought to be characteristic of middle-class white society, often at the expense of their own heritage.”
Some children who grow up in these conditions are eventually arrested or killed because they have never learned to respect authority and aside from their friends and families, nobody will care, because these conditions have become normalized.
How many of you laughed at this video when you first saw it? In 10 years, that little kid may put a gun to your head and rob you. That’s not likely to be funny.
Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. has a viral video called “Blaming Donald Trump Is Too Easy: This Is Us.” where he repeatedly says, “This is us!” In the video Professor Glaude, explains that we cannot blame Donald Trump and others for bad things that happen to us. In this case, we must take responsibility for our children.
It’s time for us to stop blaming others voting our elected officials out of office if they are not working in our interests. As a community we need to take ownership by getting involved in our communities.
Over time when things go unchallenged they seem normal. Enough, is enough. Fatherless homes and poverty may be the norm, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept it.
Prior to the end of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, nearly 80 percent of black children were born into two-parent families. Today, nearly 80 percent of black children are born into fatherless homes. According to the stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, in Sheila Quall’s article, children from fatherless homes are:
- 4x more likely to end up in poverty
- More likely to be sexually and physically abused
- 85 percent of children with behavioral disorders
- 2x more likely to be obese
- 90 percent of runaways and homeless
- 71 percent of high school dropouts
- 63 percent of youth suicides
- More likely to commit a crime
- 85 percent of youth in prison
How funny is that video now? This video should be a wake up call to America. There is NOTHING funny about it. I will speak for myself. I am embarrassed by the video and for that community. Being embarrassed won’t come close to solving the problem. We need to get involved. We can do better as a community and as a country.
I’m sure that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., did not have kids like this in mind, when he wrote his “I Have A Dream” speech and his keynote remarks for the future of Black America.
We have to do better… and we will.
Editor’s note: Read award winning journalist’s Sheila Quall’s “take” on this situation at Alpha News.
Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, a top-ranked website in the category of “African American Online Communities. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life,”: A Quick and Comprehensive Guide To Making Your Life Better—Today!, and a contributing author to two other books, “The Black Father Perspective: What We Want America To Know,” and “In Search of Fatherhood – Transcending Boundaries: International Conversations on Fatherhood.“ In addition, the company manages Black Boating and Yachting.com, a site that highlights the adventures of boating enthusiasts. In 2019, Gary developed a line of spices under the name of “MasterChef Gary’s Premium Organic Seasoning.”
Photo credit: Screenshot of a video provided to Alpha News in which children in St. Paul punched and cursed at police officers.