|Screenshot of video|
By Onicia Muller
There’s a one-minute clip of an adult male pretending to arrest a baby. A small fraction of Twitter users replied in-thread that police or Child Protective Services (CPS) should be involved. A larger portion seemed to view the role-play as a joke. As always, I have mixed thoughts about the situation. Mainly, was it wrong and if not, was it wrong to post on the internet?
The clip opens with the adult male helping the baby to stand on his feet. At first, I thought maybe he had a dirty diaper and was rushing to get to a changing area. I caught onto the scenario once the baby was face down and told for a second time to “spread your sh*t.” For the most part, I was as stunned as the infant arrestee. I finally laughed when his little face looked into the camera with his precious ‘help me’ expression. Oh no, should I be?
My views are based on the belief that the video was created and uploaded by the child’s parents and not by paid caretakers or older relatives.
As a private activity, I don’t think this game was wrong or dangerous. I think this role-play falls under “kitchen table talk” and “family business…” things you do and say in controlled environments where everyone shares the same values. To me, there’s no difference between playing ‘arrest the baby’ and ‘cops and robbers.’ Although I have more conservative feelings about using racial slurs and adult language around children, I let them slide because the child is not in danger. Then again, I’m also the woman who jokes about baby suicide. So maybe my sensibilities aren’t so sensitive.
In my second viewing, I focused on the baby and found that he wasn’t in physical danger. Maybe emotional danger because he was headed for Worldstar infamy, but we’ll get to that in a moment. The baby was old enough to support his head and maybe even take a few steps unassisted. Based on the actions, not language or other elements, nothing in those 60 seconds of play seemed too rough or even abusive.
This summer, I was waiting in line during our church’s potluck and saw a dad balancing his 6-12 month baby in his outstretched palms. Having stabilized the baby in a standing position, he tossed and thankfully caught him. As a super pregnant woman, I was like “aw hell no.” However, my husband’s reaction was #DaddyGoals. Was this dad abusive or inappropriate? No, but like the first dad, that’s something he probably shouldn’t be doing in public- especially because people were moving around and setting tables. Also, any of the older and untrained kids could have been inspired to try this on a younger sibling.
By the way, did anyone call CPS when comedian Will Ferrell released his baby landlord sketch? Or is that only okay when it’s professional role-playing aka acting?
Should this video have been uploaded to the internet? I don’t think this video is going to destroy this child’s future. Aside from a few think pieces and hater comments, I doubt this will have negative consequences for those involved. I would not have uploaded it. However, as a person living in a different country from most of my family, I find myself sharing sensitive stuff over the internet. Unfortunately, I use NDAs in everyday communications. I can only hope that they use judgment and not share our conversations and protect their devices from being stolen or hacked. I can definitely see several relatives creating and sharing footage like this. That said, like with nudes and juicy gossip, anything can go viral once it’s been recorded.
Finally, if I wanted to reach, I could write about how the adult male in the video was projecting what (might have) happened to him and many black men in America. The video reminded me of when my nephew would put his toy truck in the corner and say “you are not listening. Bad truck.” We soon learned that he was mister chatty in playschool and had been spending some time in the corner. However, sometimes things aren’t that deep — or rather — they don’t need to be made that deep. I don’t think we should call CPS. Maybe Charlamagne Tha God, Worldstar, America’s Funniest Home Video. Or how about we just leave it with Black Twitter.
Do you find this video offensive? Was the Dad was out-of-line?