Posted on January 10, 2014

Viral Video of Toddler Cursing: Some See Racism in Police Comments

Elizabeth Barber, Christian Science Monitor, January 9, 2014

A toddler seen babbling a litany of obscenities while adults goaded him on in a video that went viral has been taken into protective custody, police in Omaha, Neb., said on Wednesday. {snip}

In the video, an African-American toddler wearing just a diaper pushes over a chair, waves his middle finger, and repeats the obscenities and racial slurs that adult male and female voices, heard in the background, encourage him to say. The adults laugh each time the child parrots the profanities.

The video was first posted on the Facebook page of a man that the Omaha Police Officers Association (OPOA) called “a local thug.” It went viral when the police union reposted the video, under the title the “Thug Cycle,” on its website and Facebook page, calling the “heartbreaking and sickening footage” an example of the “terrible cycle of violence and thuggery” that local police officers battle.


Viewers reacted to the video with outrage–but not just at the adults egging the child on. They also had vitriol for the police union that had reposted the video.

Commentators on the postings and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska said this week that the union’s description of the video–in particular its use of the word “thug” to describe the video’s original poster–have put stress on an already-bitter relationship between the city’s minority communities and a police department that has been beset over the past few years with allegations of racism and abuse.