A video of a toddler cursing out his relatives has made the rounds over the past few weeks, generating a moral panic that found the toddler (briefly) separated from his mother. The video, first posted by the toddler’s uncle but then REposted by the Omaha Police Officers Association, represents everything wrong with social media AND with the growing surveillance state.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea that what happened in that video was startling and deeply problematic. Toddlers shouldn’t be taught to use swear words as a general rule and shouldn’t be cursed at themselves. But both as a parent and as a professor I’m concerned with the way the police union handled this video. Omaha’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the country. A few years ago it’s black poverty rate was THE highest in the country. According to Justice Atlas, the 68111 zip code spends over $14 million dollars on incarceration costs. Using this video as the equivalent of a public service announcement further criminalizes ALREADY criminalized black boys.

I talked about this today on NPR. Would be interested in your thoughts.