We are living in a world that has gone completely bonkers. How else can you explain what happened to a nine-year-old Black girl who was doing something good for her neighborhood only to have the police called on her because some old Geezer saw “A little black woman walking and spraying something on the trees and sidewalk, I don’t know what she’s doing, but it scares me though.”
This “little black woman was nine-year-old Bobbie Wilson, being proactive about something she, wait for it, learned in school about a colorful but invasive spotted lantern butterfly. She wanted to put what she learned about this harmful butterfly into action. And for her responsiveness, a neighbor called the police, saying he was scared.
He was frightened of his nine-year-old neighbor using the knowledge she had learned to protect her neighborhood from colorful invasive species of butterflies proactively.
He was fricking scared of a knowledgeable nine-year-old girl. Well, I guess it makes sense over on Earth 2. Why shouldn’t he be frightened? She was nine and black, pouring a homemade insecticide of water, dish soap, and apple cider vinegar. It’s hazardous stuff, especially the apple cider vinegar.
Listening to the caller saying he was scared got me wondering what he would do if he were walking up to his local Subway and saw this: Would he call the local police to tell them there is a big white guy in the Subway packing two Colt Revolvers and a Rocket Launcher?
Would this concerned neighbor be concerned about this or accept it as, I don’t know, typical behavior of some good citizen exercising his Second Amendment rights?
Fortunately for Bobbi Wilson, things turned out rather well. First, Bobbie’s big sister went to a town hall meeting, exercising her right to free speech, to let the townspeople know about this racist incident that could have gotten her little sister killed. The story went viral and caught the attention of Ijeoma Opara, an assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health, who invited her to visit Yale.
On January 20, 2023, Bobbi and her family attended an event that recognized her for what she was doing to help her community and her commitment to science. Also, Bobbi turned over her collection of mounted spotted lanternflies and had her name added to Yale’s Peabody Museum catalog, a very rare honor for someone her age.
The upside of this story, one would think, is the potential nine-year-old Bobbi Wilson going to Yale and becoming an entomologist. I would disagree. It’s that another Black mother didn’t have to bury her nine-year-old child because of a neighbor too damn scared to venture out of his house and engage in friendly conversation WITH HIS NEIGHBOR’S CHILD and inquire what and why she was doing what she was. He just might have learned something.
But, no, his first instinct was to call the police because this nine-year-old girl was black. On the scale of stupidity, this is an eleven for this reason. There is no way this man didn’t know who this young girl was for a simple reason: people like him are the neighborhood busybodies and trackers of what the Black families are doing in the neighborhood so they can do what this idiot did. Call the cops if someone in the Black family sneezes the wrong way for them.
In the past, I would have read this and just laughed at the idiocy of the neighbor, but not now, not in these times. We live in a society that will kill a Black person for knocking on the wrong door or go out and start yelling at children to leave an open area they’ve played in forever because they were Black doing what young kids do when outside make noise while they are playing and having fun.
Bobbie Wilson’s mother was correct when she said this could have taken an entirely different course. We have all read too many stories of Ms. Wilson’s fears. Far too many Black families have lost sons and daughters to the unjustified fears white people have of anyone who isn’t of the same pigmentation.
Fortunately, the situation for Bobbie Wilson ended positively. Yet there are others where similar situations didn’t. Trayvon Martin, minding his own business, walking back from a store after purchasing a bag of Skittles and soda, was killed by the self-appointed neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman.
Ahmaud Abrey, who dared to be jogging in a white neighborhood, stopped to look at a house under construction and was chased and gunned down because they claimed he was stealing from the house.
Jordan Davis was killed at a gas station because a customer didn’t like the loud music he and his friends were playing. Ralph Yarl rang the wrong doorbell and was shot through the door by the homeowner because he was afraid of Ralph’s size.
Many years ago, I got the talk from my father when a cop car pulled up behind me as I was getting out and about to go into the house. The cop said I failed to signal a turn, and I was about to engage in a vigorous debate where I was about to explain how he was wrong. Out of nowhere, my dad asked the officer what the problem was. The cop looked at my dad and me; we had just come from church, so we had our –going to church clothes on—the cop said something about not using my turn signal and then said, “Have a good day, reverend,” and left. Once the cop was gone, my dad turned to me and gave me the short version of the talk, which ended with my well-healed yes, sir. That happened over fifty years ago, and the attitude of how cops deal with Black people regardless of their age hasn’t changed. Bobbie’s mother was correct when she said the quiet part out loud, that her daughter could have been another said statistic.
Please take a moment and watch the clip, and while you’re watching, ask yourself the following questions: How could he mistake this little girl for a Black woman, even though he qualified it by saying woman before little? Looking at the clip, it’s obvious this is a middle-class neighborhood, and what’s the likelihood he didn’t know who Bobbi was?
So I ask, when will white people, like the idiot who called the cops on Bobbie Wilson, learn we’re human just like you? We want our children to grow up and do better than we did, go to good schools, get a good education, and contribute to society, so instead of killing us and our children, why won’t you let us be the good, productive citizens we are?
Why do you have trouble understanding that we want our children to have the same opportunities that your children have: to grow up, contribute to society, and hopefully make it better for all humankind? That is what nine-year-old Bobbi Wilson was trying to do for her neighborhood.
She wasn’t scary at all. But for the neighbor who called the police, he saw a little black woman terrorist in his neighborhood. Fortunately, things ended on a high note because we know things could have gone very badly. It’s a damn shame our society has fallen to this level.