Vilifying Of Young Black Boys

So over the weekend i was going through my Twitter feed and i came across this tweet which showed a young black boy who looked much more physically mature than his black peers and the caption was insinuating that there was no way he was the same age as them.

Although this was probably posted with no sinister racial objectives in mind but as more of a joke,the comments underneath represented a problematic view that society holds regarding young black boys who "do no look their age".

Comments ranged from others implying he is age cheating,to others suggesting his leg should be cut so he can be dated whilst others said he is a grown man. All this because he just happens to be more physically matured than his peers.

What makes the situation even sadder is that even fellow black people contribute to the perpetuating of this stereotype and my opinion is that they do not understand the long lasting impact that this vilifying can have on the day to day lives of young black boys.

The shunning of black boys and saying that they are using their "football age" instead of their real age because they are physically mature has been normalized my society. Even i used to preach the same ignorant gospel when i used to see pictures of Romelu Lukaku as an Under 16 youngster.

What i did not understand was that this stereotype i was unknowingly helping to perpetuate was contributing to the disgusting view that law enforcement officials especially in America have about black boys.

Just because a young black boy's physical appearance does not look like what the average youngster looks at his age does not mean he is a grown mature adult. Not treating him like you would treat a more "normal looking" youngster his age is not only plain ignorant but also disgustingly racist.

In 2014, Tamir Rice ,a 12 year old black boy,was fatally shot by officers for brandishing a toy gun. If the officers who responded to the dispatch call had found a 12 year old white boy playing with what "appeared to be a gun",my opinion is that they would not have taken the same drastic measures they did on that fateful November afternoon.

In 2018,Stephon Clark,a 22 year old black boy,was shot and killed by officers for "brandishing a gun",which was later confirmed to be a mere cellphone. Had Stephon been a 22 year old white boy,would the officers had taken the same drastic measures?my opinion is definitely not.

The above scenarios and dozen others show that in most situations,black boys are never given the benefit of the doubt,regardless of their age and my opinion is that is it because of this stereotype about the maturity of black boys that excludes them from being given this benefit of doubt.

They are not given room to make the same "unwise" decisions and mistakes that other boys of their age are allowed to make. For them,its either they make the right decision when in a hostile situation or risk having their life ended.

So before us black people make fun of how some of our sport playing youngsters do not look their age,we must understand the long lasting impact that this view can have on other young black boys in another side of the world. We must understand that those who have evil thoughts about black people will use this stereotype as an excuse to carry out evil acts on young black boys.

Just because someone looks older than the average person their age is not an excuse for them to be vilified or made fun of. They should be treated exactly the same way as how that average looking person is treated and not as some sort of abnormal animal.