9-year-old Zianna Oliphant spoke at a Charlotte City Council meeting about race, police violence, and reform. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and, of course, the video “went viral.” She has kept talking, expert on urban governance and law enforcement that she is, since she earned her fifteen minutes of fame. “I was just feeling like what the police are doing to us, just because of our skin, is not right,” the fourth-grader told NBC.
Of course, she knows absolutely nothing about the issues involved. She has no idea whether what happened to Keith Lamont Scott was ” done to us, just because of our skin” or done to him, because he threatened a police officer. (It was done to him, by a black cop, who, if he was doing it because of the color of Zianna’s skin needs to be put on a suicide watch.)
All Zianna knows is what she has been taught, and based on what she said, she has been indoctrinated by her family and community into be a police-fearing, anti-white racist. Now that this is happening to the black children of Charlotte and elsewhere is important information that should be part of the discussion, but that’s not how her statements are being used. She is being exploited by adults who know that their opinions become more persuasive coming out of the mouths of babes, and she is being accorded undeserved moral authority because she is young and innocent. Zianna also has a fourth grade education and maybe six years of life experience. Wow.
What can such an individual contribute to a public policy debate so complex that elected officials, scholars and public policy experts don’t know how to proceed? Nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. A nine year-old girl, even the most brilliant nine-year-old girl who has ever lived, is useless. A City Council that would waste deliberation and consideration of critical issues on the testimony of children, however moving, should just hand in their resignations en masse. They are incompetent and a disgrace.
In the alternative, Charlotte should give voting privileges to anyone over the age of five. Maybe they will.
Oh, I have no doubt that Zianna can speak effectively for the likes of Black Lives Matter, Ti-Nahist Coates, Marilyn Mosby and Colin Kaepernick (who, naturally, is a fan, his own opinions being as about as grounded in logic, study and experience as hers), who simplify the issue of police shootings to “any time a police officer shoots a black citizen, he or she is preemptively a racist and a murderer, and is doing the bidding of a white society dedicated to oppressing blacks.” I can easily excuse a nine-year-old for holding such a destructive and false opinion, since she might also believe in Santa Claus. I cannot forgive elected officials who give nine-year-olds a place in public deliberations over a controversy that is getting people–demonstrators, suspects, police officers, innocent citizens—killed.
Has anyone considered that the reason Charlotte is in turmoil is because its leaders are willing to take advice from fourth graders? They need to.
Meanwhile, it is increasingly looking as if these riots and subsequent violence, as in Ferguson, were created by a false narrative eagerly accepted and publicized by the news media and activists eager to use it for their own purposes. Keith Lamont Scott was not the quiet, book-loving victim he was portrayed as by his wife, and his wife knew it. She had a restraining order filed against him a year ago when he threatened to kill her and her son with that gun that she and the NAACP claim he wasn’t carrying.
Wait–let’s ask Zianna what she thinks about domestic abuse and whether it reflects on an individual’s tendency to engage in violence. Wise Zianna, do wives who refuse to file charges against violent spouses share any responsibility when those spouses threaten others? Please, Zianna, what is your analysis of the role of black families in perpetuating the high rate of African American interaction with the law enforcement system? All-knowing Zianna, how should police officers balance their duty to protect the community with their personal interest in not being vilified as racists in the news media, while also protecting their own lives when threatened? Enlighten us with your own extensive experience!
As constantly whining soldier Bill Paxton says in “Aliens,” after being informed that a little girl survived the drooling monsters for months, “Why don’t you put her in charge, man?”
Yeah, why don’t they? She couldn’t do any worse than Chalotte’s current city leaders.