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Dear Police Officers, Stop Exploiting Black Kids For Publicity Stunts

Instead of actually doing something about police brutality and discrimination against Black people, police have routinely opted for the easier “solution”. A little while back police officers pulled law-abiding citizens over for no reason other than to give them an ice cream cone. About a year ago there were suspiciously well-framed photos of a young black boy hugging a police officer. Most recently, Apex Police Department posted a picture (shown below) of an officer eating a doughnut with a Black boy, who seemed to not be too enthused by what was taking place.

In this specific case, a police officer invaded the safe space of a Black boy in order to further his own agenda. That’s not healthy for anyone involved. For the police officer, he’s invading someone’s space because he thinks he’s entitled to do so; for the child, he’s learning that his space is allowed to be invaded, and there’s nothing he can do about it. That is dangerous on many levels, and children shouldn’t be exposed to that kind of treatment. Black kids are regularly not seen as equal to their non-Black counterparts and their feelings are often pushed out of the way. This trend of police officers posing with Black kids only furthers that mistreatment and stigma.

Here’s a revolutionary idea: listen to Black people instead of blindly attempting to pander to us. Nobody is asking police officers to do all these extra things, we’re simply demanding to not be killed. It’s that simple. There are actual concrete plans and policies being offered to police departments that will help stop the state-sponsored murder and imprisonment of Black people. If cops want to make Black people happy, then they should be addressing the problems that we bring up to them, not patronizing us.

I’m sure walking up to a Black kid eating a doughnut seemed like a great idea at the time, but it’s actually more like trying to put out an electrical fire with water: you see a fire and your instinct is to quickly put it out, forgetting what started the fire in the first place. Police officers are trying to convince us that they see Black people as humans but do so by using us, specifically children, as props to boost their publicity. That is just more dehumanization of our people, the same thing that they’re trying to convince us that they’re not doing. Leave Black kids alone, and stop exploiting us every chance you get; one little Tweet isn’t going to make us forget all of the people who became hashtags this year. Do better.

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Etienne Rodriguez
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I'm an 18 year old social justice/culture journalist currently studying at Rutgers. I want to expose how injustice is ingrained in our culture and how people can use culture as a platform for change.

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