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A foul mouth is the least of his problems

It’s sad.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’s ridiculous.  A two year old being encouraged to curse and use the n-word, obviously unaware of the meaning of the words he’s repeating.  But, a foul mouth is the least of this kid’s problems.

After the initial shock of the viral video, a debate erupted.  The police union that drew attention to the video by posting it to its website has been accused of racism and trying to paint all black people with the same “thug” brush.  Criticism has been directed at the mother of the child.  Others are again arguing over responsibility within the black community.  Perhaps all worthy topics.

But now, the Nebraska toddler has been taken into protective custody, and the court documents related to the case reveal why the video isn’t the saddest part of this story.  Here is what the documents show:

That little boy you see in the video lives in a home along with his grandmother, his 17-year-old mother, his two aunts, his uncle, and his baby cousin.

However, the child’s 19-year-old aunt is currently in charge of the house.  That’s because grandma has been away since Dec. 17th and currently resides at the Douglas County jail on weapons charges.  The toddler’s 15-year-old uncle is also away right now.  He’s currently in the Douglas County Youth Detention Center on weapons charges as well.

The cursing tots grandfather is currently serving time in the Nebraska State Penitentiary, and his biological father is deceased.   Meanwhile, the whereabouts of his baby cousin’s father are unknown at this time.

Also, in October, the toddler was one of 5 people injured in a shooting at the family home.  Yes, at the age of 2, the little boy has already survived a shooting.

The toddler has a birthday coming in 10 days.  He’ll be 3 years old, and given what he’s been through, it’s worth celebrating that he’s even made it this far.  So say a prayer, in lieu of sending gifts … because  I don’t know where to tell you to send gifts.  His (foster) address may be different between now and then.




As someone who has had such a different life than this little boy, I struggle with what I can do- or what I should want- for him. I had a white, suburban, middle-class upbringing, and realize that that makes me lucky, but not better than people who didn’t have those advantages. We need diversity in this country, and all cultures, including urban black culture, are valuable. I do wish that the urban black experience didn’t so often include incarceration, violence, misogyny, and broken families. But how can those of us who struggle to relate truly help without being condescending? It’s just so sad.

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