The African-American community needs to get its objectives and messages straight…quickly. That is, it needs to do this if it really knows what its objectives and intended messages are. This story should make everyone, including them wonder.
In Columbus, Georgia, Chiquita Hill’s 10-year-old son, Sean, was disrespectful to his teacher and repeatedly defiant in class. Sean’s mother was beside herself, and as I just heard her explain on HLN, was worried about what the child might be like when he reached puberty. Thus she devised the brilliant idea (yes, many people—cretins, but still—are saying that on social media) of “scaring her son straight” by calling 911 and having a police officer pretend to arrest him and take him to jail. Let me repeat that: there are people on social media saying this was a good idea.Many of these people have children themselves. Think about it.
Hill said her son didn’t believe she had called the cops on him—for the crime of talking back to his teacher— until Columbus police officers showed up at the door and put him in handcuffs, put him in the patrol car and pretended to take him to jail. “It happened so quick he didn’t know what to do,” she told the media. “I don’t know what they said to him but he came running down the hill, gave me a big hug said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
Then Chiquita posted the pictures of her son in handcuffs on Facebook, where it has gone viral and will last forever.
There is nothing ethical, civilized, justifiable, reasonable, rational or right about either the conduct of the mother, or the conduct of the police officers. In the context of speeches and protesters in Baltimore and elsewhere proclaiming angrily that the police forces of the United States are racist and determined to exterminate black males, the episode is also hypocritical on the part of both the police and the mother, while intentionally seeding the racial distrust both police and African Americans are supposed to be working together to defuse, not working together to create.
I assume that readers here have functioning ethics alarms so let’s do this as a game, shall we? Before you read further—no cheating now, this is an ethics blog–vote on how many ways this episode involved wrongful conduct. Then see how close you came by finishing the post.
Did you vote?
OK, here’s the tally: Continue reading