Amidst protests denouncing racism and police brutality across the nation, a mother named Lauryn Whitney has asked a groundbreaking question: “When did my baby become a threat?”
In a viral video, Whitney shares what Black mothers suffer as their children grow up in the world and are exposed to daily acts of racism.
“I dare you. Ask yourself. When did my baby become a threat to you?” the host of the Authentic Voices podcast and mother to a 3-year-old son starts off her powerful video shared on YouTube just last month.
While “Rose Petals” by Common Hymnal plays in the background, the video goes on to reveal a series of young Black boys asking their own questions about when they became a threat. “When I cried?” “When I started to crawl?” “When I started to dream?” “When I learned to read?” One child asks, “When I was born?”
Older boys and men then begin to filter into the video, the questions getting more specific: “When I wore a hoodie?” asks one teen. “When I drove a car?” asks another. “When you need jail cells filled?” asks one man.
“I’ve wept, I’ve wailed, I’ve lost count of the names. Open your eyes to the wreckage,” Whitney captioned the video. “Your mind should be rioted by the memories of these names. Repost and share, Commit to combating anti-black racism. Do Something!”
Whitney acknowledges that the video is “beautiful,” in an interview with Access Hollywood, but also pointed out how it is the result of “so much pain.”
In the same interview, Whitney cried when she discovered she was having a boy because she was worried about how she was going to “protect” him.
“How do I create a space that he’s safe and knows not just love internally,” she said, “but he feels that when he walks outside of this space, outside of his home?”
Since posting on May 29, Whitney’s video has been viewed almost 5.5K times as of Sunday afternoon.
As other Black mothers appear in the frame, Whitney ends the video urging the viewers with the simple question:
“I want to open my heart, but now I close it safe. YOU open yours, it’s your turn. Hold our pain. Stop and listen. WE CAN’T BREATHE. What are you going to do?”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.