The internet, once a place spawned to share ideas at lightning speed, has now been corrupted by the very users for which it was created, humans. The cruelty and ignorance of man have not been halted by the availability of new information at one’s literal fingertips. No, in fact, it has just made it worse, and most of the time, it feels like Twitter is where the internet derives its ability to be the meanest.
This week was no exception to the cruelty of the internet and Black children were the target again.
Four times this week, I watched vileness spew at Black children in a way that feels not only unfair but indicative of how we process the childhoods of Black children at a dangerously accelerated rate. Remember, Trayvon Martin was painted as a big aggressive man, even though he was still a minor. The first display of cruelty came from a conservative Black woman, and honestly, those people are not the sanest because somehow, they think their piety will separate them from racism; they burned crosses in yards, including MLK’s, babe. She tweeted, gleefully, I might add, how she and her husband take the chastity of their daughter seriously. So seriously that they essentially threatened their daughter’s date with gun violence. In a world that exposes Black boys to so much violence already, why would you, in the comfort of your home, give him more to experience?
Even an act of love or dating is still unnecessarily ferocious. Teenagers have consensual sex often. The penalty for something that their bodies, their peers and essentially society are urging them to do should not be death, but Black boys have been murdered for less, so I digress.
The second thing I saw was not a thing to defend per se but rather an observation about racism and the internet. A Twitter account titled “Morbid Knowledge/ @morbidful” posts daily tweets detailing mysterious or unusual deaths and often posts about serial killers. No one makes any statements regarding the identities of the killers, but the minute they post a Black teenager who committed murder, the racists come out of the woodwork like roaches in a dirty kitchen in the summer.
The comments spared no expense in bringing out every racist joke/talking point you’ve ever heard ad nauseam. Criminality for Black people is seen as innate. Criminality for white people is seen as a mutation.
The most egregious example that I saw of cruelty to Black children was of a thirteen-year-old girl who was stuck in a toddler’s swing and had to be removed by the Fire Department. The comments made by grown-ass adults—the same grown-ass adults who get on the same internet and complain about the people they willingly decided to have children with—were bashing a child for doing something…childish. There were complaints about the use of the resources to rescue her; no one complains about kittens rescued, though. Additionally, the firefighter stated that this was a common occurrence. When it comes to the more specific insults, I’m pretty sure dumbass, idiot and moron, and those are just the ones I saw, aren’t how anyone would want their child described for doing something so many people have done and remained unscathed. There was also a collective upset that she did not appear to say “thank you,” even though the video does not show when the EMTs all got to her, nor when they leave, but best believe so many people were happy to report how much more gracious and polite they were than a thirteen-year-old, (that definitely sounds like something to put on a résumé).
Most of the vitriol was from men from multiple races because misogynoir starts early but never ends.
The additional vitriol on Twitter by non-Black people towards Black students who get into Ivy League schools, even though Black students make up less than half the percentage in most Ivy League schools than they make up in the population. Whereas about a third of admissions to these schools are based on legacy admissions, which deserves mentioning. Essentially, there are Asian students who are blaming Affirmative Action, and therefore Black students, for them not getting into Ivy League schools, with the assumption that they were somehow more equipped than the Black student who hypothetically took their spot. The merits of those students were immediately disqualified as if that isn’t the literal reason for the inception of Affirmative Action. Whereas so many people think Affirmative Action is giving the unqualified an unfair advantage instead of keeping the qualified from being unfairly disadvantaged.
Surviving Black childhood was already difficult.
It was even more disheartening watching other people who have survived it also throws their troubles on the backs of Black children, especially a young Black girl who did something that was seemingly harmless and got her a bit shaken up. There are very few safe havens for Black children. Even playing with a toy gun in an open-carry state can get you immediately murdered. It is extremely pathetic how the world forces Black children to grow up faster, even if the children themselves are unaware. They are not granted the grace, innocence and playfulness that comes with childhood, like others. Even their merits are often scrutinized or doubted.
Beating Black children has always been a badge of honor we gladly lord over other races, as a means of discipline that is often too harsh and widely undeserved, not realizing its roots come from the trauma of Black boys having to be the whipping boys for their white playmates on plantations, or as a way for Black parents to keep their children in line before a white person with a heavier hand did it.
Ridiculing them is far too common, even in the Black community. One of the hardest parts about Black childhood is that anything bad you do is because you are Black, and anything good is despite it.