Monica Park Johnson wrote on Facebook, from the perspective of her sweet little boy. In the post, which accompanies an adorable photo of her smiling son, Johnson projects her toddler into the future based on today’s racial issues and analyzes what her baby’s life is potentially going to be like. She poses deep and important questions about his future to anyone reading in an attempt to create a new perspective: every grown black man was once an adorable, harmless little boy.
“I’m so cute now. Everyone comments on my beautiful skin, my adorable curls. But I ask you this–what about when I’m 25, and my skin gets darker, my curls get tighter…I’m wearing baggy pants, maybe a hoodie or a baseball cap…will you lock your car doors when I cross the street? Will you embrace and welcome me when I’m a full grown black man? Will you value my life the same way you value my white Mom’s? Or like my Dad’s…my black daddy who gets pulled over for “following too closely” (at a stoplight) or for doing 3 miles over the speed limit. Will you smile and take my ID and insurance card like my Mom? Or will you ask if I have warrants before even asking for my license, like my Dad? Will you make me get out of the car to check if it’s stolen, in front of my family? Will you shoot me if I get an attitude…or while I’m running away…or while I’m handcuffed? When you see me on the street with my black friends, will you feel the same as when you see a group of white men? Will I still be cute to you then? Will my life be as precious to you then as it is now, while I’m deemed harmless and not intimidating?
Think about the human beings you are judging. Think about them being someone’s sweet baby, someone’s big brother, someone’s nephew or niece. This is not about just Police. This is about all of us and how we shape our opinions and views of the world and its people. Our children are watching.
I have the privilege of knowing some selfless, brave and admirable police officers. I respect them and trust them with my safety and that of my family. I know that one bad egg doesn’t ruin the whole dozen. But that doesn’t mean that the visibility of cases like #altonsterling should be minimized. This is a real, systemic problem that has started at home for each of us. Human beings need to be held accountable, police are no exception as they too, are human. So when you scroll past the inevitable stream of media regarding this case and many, many others, I ask you to look inward and pay attention. I am trying to do the same.”