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When Black children go from being cute to being a threat.

If you haven't noticed by now, we are living in the largest Civil Rights movement in history! We are in the midst of a revolution, y'all. Protests and riots have been done in all 50 states, as well as in 18 other countries. People are demanding justice and liberation for Black lives. So many dope posters were created by protesters who marched the streets of their communities on behalf of Black people. Some posters said statements like, "No justice. No peace," while other posters said, "All lives can't matter until Black lives matter."

But of all these unique posters made, the one that caught my attention was a poster that said, "when do I go from being cute to being a threat," held high by a Black boy. I immediately thought of my little Black nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, and cousins. When do they go from being cute to being a threat? Or are they already stamped from the beginning? Do Black children have targets stamped on their bodies as soon as they come out of their mother's womb? All of these questions weighed heavily on my mind as I stared at the picture of my two Black nephews [pictured above]. Everything about them is beautiful to me; from the kinks in their hair to their beautiful smiles. My nephews are so precious. Unfortunately, if White America sees them as threatening before they can even learn how to walk, it does not matter how precious I think they are.

Black children have never been depicted as cute to White America. From the time that Black children are born, they are criminalized and defined by the negative stereotypes that has plagued the Black community since our people were enslaved. Black children aren't expected to thrive and succeed. They aren't as privileged as White children to have open doors of opportunities. Instead, White America believes that the only open doors that Black children should enter are the ones to prisons and juvenile centers. White America crushes the dreams of Black children to the point where Black children just want to be alive when they grow up. When do Black children go from being cute to being a threat? They have always been seen as a threat, and research on the preschool-to-prison pipeline confirms my statement. Black boys and girls are more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to experience harsh forms of punishment, suspension, or expulsion in the education system at as young as five years old. Black boys and girls are pushed out of school because White America believes that they only take up space in classrooms and cannot contribute to society in any way. Black children are mistreated and removed from school, then are blamed for not being as successful as their White and Asian counterparts, or for not being able to pull themselves up by the "bootstraps."

Black children must be any means necessary. They are important and they matter. Their lives matter. We need to teach Black boys and girls to love everything about themselves, like their appearances and capabilities. They need to be reminded of how precious they are because if they aren't reminded, the lies that White America has told on Black people will burn into their memories, and they will internalize those lies. Don't rely on White America to teach our Black children their history; we need to teach them about who their ancestors were before they were enslaved. They were Kings and Queens; scientists, mathematicians, and doctors. Our history does not start at slavery and our ancestors were not submissive. They fought back.

When do Black children go from being cute to being a threat? How about I ask White America this question? When you look at my nephews, ages 1 and 3, what do you see? Do you see thugs, gangsters, or rappers? How about basketball and football players? Are you angry about their existence? Do they come off as lazy and incapable to you? Do they not deserve to be alive because they are Black?

Can I tell you what I see? I see future doctors, entrepreneurs, and scientists. I see two Black boys with royalty in their DNA. I see their joy. Their purpose. I see them surpassing your children and your children's children. I see them defying your silly statistics. I see their village who will stop you from criminalizing them; who will protect them from you and all of your evil plans. I see them, even if you can't. Even if you won't.

Resources (Push out of Black girls - Documentary)

The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform (Available in pdf) By Catherine Y. Kim, Daniel J. Losen, Damon T. Hewitt

Deromanticizing Black History: Critical Essays and Reappraisals (Available in pdf) By Clarence Earl Walker, Clarence Eugene Walker

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