A cursing toddler, of all things, is making news. In Nebraska, the Omaha Police Officer Association (POA) is under fire for positing YouTube footage of a swearing African American baby in the presence of other adults using profanities. While local police did not find anything criminal in the video, police group called the viral video part of the "thug cycle," citing a Jan. 9 CNN video on the disturbing developments.
A diapered baby is shown cursing and repeating a string of profanities in the video, as adults egged him on. The POA posted footage of the child on the Internet and a backlash erupted after the group said the video highlights the "cycle of violence and thuggery" the community faces.
While not many would disagree that the adults in the video acted irresponsible, it's not clear why this matter should have been viewed as stereotypical black America.
On the cursing toddler and why it was necessary for the union to post the inflammatory video, a spokesperson had this to say:
We have a lot more latitude to be a little more edgy than the police department. And that edginess is necessary to force a deeper conversation on the city's crime problems."
Although the Nebraska Child Protective Services moved in quickly and removed the child in question from the home, along with three other children, an investigation from the police department failed to turn up any criminal wrongdoing on the part of the adults.
With that background and understanding, I want to make it explicit and clear that the views expressed on the OPOA Facebook page do not necessarily reflect the official stance of the Omaha Police Department. I strongly disagree with any postings that may cause a divide in our community or an obstacle to police community relations," said Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, who added that his department cannot control the free speech of the association.
Given the fact that the city of Omaha, with its 409,000 residents, of which 25 percent are African American, coupled with the ongoing racial tension, matters of civil liberty, and lawsuits with the police department, it is odd the police union would post a swearing toddler "thug" video.
To the union president, Sgt. John Wells' point, the video is quite "disturbing" and "offensive," as he describes it. Moreover, it is unhealthy for a child to be in such an environment.
However, to assign a negative moniker to an innocent infant is doubly offensive and counter-productive. Besides, there are agencies, like Child Protection, that addresses these types of matters.
To create causation to life at home to life on the street is reckless, circular reasoning. Moreover, it only serves to further divide an already polarized community over race and class.
Willie Hamilton, president of the community activist group Black Men United, said it best about the developing story:
For them to take a video out of context -- a 2-year-old who doesn't have the brain capacity to know what's going on -- and to say that this child, because two adults acted inappropriately, is going to end up in a life of crime is totally inappropriate."
Arguably, the "conversation" the group refers to can still take place, but in a manner that seeks sincere solutions without rabble-rousing rhetoric.
In short, the act caught on tape was bad parenting, period.
The "cursing toddler" story is still developing.