Infancy, Childhood, Racist, and Adulthood: A Human Development Lesson

There has been an execrable trend that our society has inadvertently normalized over the years. Whenever a white person seems to be flourishing––be it on social media or in the music industry–– old posts are dug up and the person’s racist remarks are exposed for all to see. 

Those who are avid supporters then try to excuse the racist remarks by saying, “Guys, they were young and didn’t know any better” or “They were being a dumb teenager!” Children begin to recognize that racial bias exists around the ages two to four and children as early as six months can perceive race-based differences. So why should racism be excused in their teenage years? 

When you are a teenager you KNOW the difference between right and wrong, thus nobody should be going through a “racist phase”. There is a very thin line between being racist and making little mistakes when you’re younger and many continue to be outed for crossing it. 

When these white people’s pasts are divulged, we are expected to believe they have changed because they made these remarks years ago. This is often hard to believe because they were at an age where they were capable enough to understand exactly what they were saying and/or doing. 

While white people have “racist phases” during their teen years, Black teens are stripped of their innocence when it comes to felony accusations that could imprison them for the rest of their lives. Look at the Central Park Five. There was absolutely no evidence tying them to the assault and rape of Trisha Melli, but their skin color was enough to have them convicted. Where was this same solicitude for them? Had the real criminal never come forward, they would still be locked up.

Black children in Florida were 2.3 times more likely to be prosecuted as adults, rather than given probation, and were given sentences that were 7.8 times longer than white juveniles who committed the same crimes. If Black youth can be held accountable for their actions as adults, why can’t white youth be held accountable at all?

The emotional damage racism causes and the lack of concern regarding Black youth is why I will never forgive those that have made racist remarks in the past. One does not have to reach adulthood to understand human decency. Black children have always been held accountable for mischief and criminality and it is time to start holding white people accountable for their racist remarks.

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Nathan Odige