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. Continue reading