So, Now We’re Arresting Black Children for Picking Flowers?

Gillian Sisley

Truly, what is the world coming to?
Photo by Lisa Verena Pape on Unsplash

Imagine living in a world where a 6-year-old child is arrested for picking a tulip while waiting for his bus.

No need to imagine, because this is the world we live in.

And I don’t know about you, but such a thing is a despicable world to live in.

How many of you picked flowers as a child? Likely, all of you. Whether they were wildflowers in a field, or dandelions you blew on so that the seeds soared, or a gorgeous, nice smelling flower that you wanted to take with you.

Maybe you wanted to take it because it was pretty, or maybe you wanted to give it to your mom or your crush.

Or maybe you just wanted to keep this beauty for yourself.

Who is there, truly, who can be mad about that? You’re a 6-year old kid. You’re curious, and innocent, and exploring the world around you.

But then, out of nowhere, scary policemen approach you and tell you you're arrested.

You don’t even know what arrested means.

Doesn’t matter. You’re placed in a police car and taken to the police station for questioning, and to officially receive your charges.

At 6-years-old.

And all you’re guilty of is admiring a beautiful flower.

An adult human actually called the cops on a 6-year-old for this.

These police officers didn’t just come out of nowhere, see a BIPOC child holding a tulip, and arrest him on the spot.

No, firstly a bigoted human saw this little kid waiting for the bus stop, watched them curiously pick a flower, and then dialed 911 to report a child picking a flower as an emergency.

Does this incident sound too crazy to believe?

Well, if you feel that way, I’m sorry to prove you wrong.

We’ve already seen the woman who threatened to call the cops on a young girl selling bottles of water to people on the street. That little girl was trying to save up money so that she could go to Disneyland.

And this piece of garbage white woman called 911 to declare a little girl trying to make some extra money from selling drinks to thirsty individuals was an emergency requiring police backup.

We all grew up seeing white children selling homemade lemonade on the street corner for a few extra bucks — and no one called the police on them.

But this white lady who called the police on a little Black girl selling sealed bottled water claimed that she “didn’t have a permit" to do so, and that it wasn’t “sanitary".

From innocent Black citizens having BBQs (which is their right) to a Black delivery driver being held against his will by a white HOA community member (the old white lady claimed he didn’t belong there), we’ve seen this racist, bigoted behavior too many times before.

And not only are we seeing how racist this is of the bigoted callers, but there are real police officers actually making these racist, unfounded arrests of these children of color.

The flower-picking child was represented by a defense attorney in court, facing juvenile criminal charges.

Horrifically, this child’s mother was served papers after the police were called, and the officers arrested him.

Months later, the child found himself in court, being represented by a defense attorney.

The most heartbreaking detail from the defense attorney was that he gave the child a coloring book and told him to just color during the proceedings, because he knew it was unfair to expect a 6-year-old defendant to sit there patiently in criminal court.

Because, you know, he was only 6-years-old.

The horror of this truly innocent kid being exposed to this bigoted and screwed-up world is beyond heartbreaking.

On that day at that bus stop, this boy was wide-eyed, innocent, and just enjoying the beauty of the world. The next moment, a truly despicable human being decided to dish out a world-shattering trauma to this little kindergartener, changing his perception of the world forever.

How can a person like that sleep at night?

The statistics for complaints made against children of color are equally as appalling as this entire incident.

It sadly won’t be a shocker to you, reader, to find out that the ratio of complaints made against children of color, in relation to the population of white children vs. children of color, is truly unsettling and abhorrent.

As the Inquirer states, in response to the flower-picking charges, that:

While the 6-year-old ending up before a judge may seem shocking, around 7,300 complaints were actually filed against 6- to 11-year-olds from 2015 to 2018, Juvenile State data showed as cited by the newspaper.
Of those complaints, 47 percent were against Black children, 40 percent against white children and 7 percent against Hispanic or Latino children, the report said. Around 22 percent of the state’s population is Black, 70 percent white and 10 percent Hispanic.

The disparity here is unfortunately normalized in our society, and that needs to change. Racism and bigotry run wild, and the US police force don’t seem to have an issue with encouraging it along.

How is it possible that this child ended up in court? How is it possible that the white person who called the cops on him didn’t get arrested themselves for a hate crime? How is it possible that there are so few articles about this incident online, and that it’s something that has barely been talked about?

This is the world we live in — this highly unequal, racist, and bigoted world.

I don’t know about you, but I envision a world where all children, no matter their skin color or geography, or socioeconomic status, can safely enjoy the beauty of the world around them without being subjected to trauma.

Each and every child deserves the chance to be a kid, and not have their innocence violated out of them.

And that is the kind of future and vision I am willing to fight for.

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Online solopreneur. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about womanhood, social justice, writing & entrepreneurship.


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