Parents, Please Talk to Your Kids About the #GeorgeFloydChallenge
Another day, another challenge. This one, however, may be the most despicable yet.
Teenagers do stupid things. I certainly did when I was younger. I remember an occasion once while I was in Junior High; I had just finished up an in-school band performance. As I returned to the classroom -- where class was already in session -- I waltzed in and exclaimed "Welcome back your FAVORITE student!" I thought it was hilarious. My teacher didn't. She yelled back "You will NOT enter into my classroom while I'm teaching like that again!" and gave me detention. Doing stupid things as a teenager may be a part of the growing up process, but there are some stupid things that are just wrong and deserve appropriate punishment or response.
A tasteless and horrific new trend titled the #GeorgeFloydChallenge is one of those. A photo out of the UK is one of the first known incidents, though other photos have begun circulating around the internet as well. In the aforementioned photo, two teenage boys recreate the arrest and murder of the Minneapolis man while a third takes the photo. One boy pretending to be Floyd lies on his stomach with his hands behind his back while the second pretends to be the Minneapolis Police Officer who arrested and murdered him with his kneed on his friend's neck.
According to the News.com.au, the photo was sent to contacts over the Snapchat app. The police have treated the photo as a hate crime, and all three boys were arrested on suspicion of "sending communications causing anxiety and distress" states the BBC. Purportedly, similar photos have begun circulating around the internet.
There really aren't enough words to describe how awful the photos are, though "cowardly," "disgusting" and "horrific" are just some of the many that have been used online.
We've all made mistakes -- myself included -- that we grew up to regret. Heck, Jimmy Fallon this week addressed a 20-year old SNL skit in which he dressed up in black face and pretended to be Chris Rock. I hope all the teenagers in these photos have learned a valuable lesson. But I also think this is a valuable opportunity for the rest of us to learn from as well.
Parents, I implore you to sit down with your kids, discuss the death of George Floyd, show them the photos above and discuss with them why the actions in those photos are wrong. I realize that to ask that of you is to assume you feel the same way I do; maybe you don't, and I respect that. But if we're ever to heal from centuries of racial hurts and wrongdoings, if we're ever to create a St. Cloud, Minnesota and America that is truly "under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," then it has to start at home. Teenagers do stupid things, yes; but parents, please don't let the #GeorgeFloydChallenge be one of them.