“More dads, less crime…”
= Larry Elder
By now you’ve no doubt heard about “Empire” actress Ms. Taraji P. Henson’s mea culpa to the Glendale, CA police department, for her earlier accusation of their racially profiling her son, 20-year-old Marcell Johnson. The Los Angeles Times reports:
“I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department,” she said in an Instagram message with the hashtags #TurningANegativeIntoAPositive and #LoveTarajiPHenson. “A mother’s job is not easy and neither is a police officer’s. Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all the facts. As a mother in this case, I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son.”
This apology follows on the heels of Ms. Henson’s making similar accusations that the University of Southern California also racially profiled her son, which has led her to putting young Marcell at her alma mater Howard University back east. Howard, for those who may not be aware, is considered a HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
Ms. Henson had no choice but to eat her words and accept a bit of egg on her face after video evidence came to light of Marcell’s traffic stop by the coppers; not only did he run a yellow light while a pedestrian was crossing the street, he was also in possession of marijuana, paraphernalia associated with it and, by his own admission, a Ritalin pill that he did not have a prescription for:
The footage from Oct. 18 shows the officer driving in traffic about 10:10 p.m. in Glendale when the actress’ son, who is in a Honda Civic ahead of him, drives through a lighted crosswalk as a person walks across. His race was not apparent in the video as he was driving.
The officer, still behind the 20-year-old, speeds up and initiates a traffic stop.
In the video, the officer approaches Henson’s son’s Honda and tells him he was stopped for driving through a lighted crosswalk while someone was walking in it. The youth tells the officer he was headed to a friend’s home in Calabasas.
He hands the officer his insurance information and says he has never been arrested. He says his name is Marcell Johnson, and his mother is Taraji P. Henson. Johnson is his father’s last name. [boldface added]
Then the officer asked whether he had anything illegal in his car, and the young man responded that he had marijuana in his backpack, according to the video. He told the officer he has a state-issued medical marijuana license but couldn’t find it.
“I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed,” the officer said.
During the lengthy traffic stop shown on the video, Johnson was searched and told the officer he had Ritalin, a prescription drug used to treat hyperactivity, in his car. He admitted he didn’t have a prescription and that he had gotten the pill from a friend.
“You know you’re not supposed to have that, right?” the officer told him.
Johnson then consented and allowed the officer to search his car. At that point, the officer was joined by two other officers and a police cadet.
For most of the traffic stop, officers searched Johnson’s car for the Ritalin pill, which they never found because he said he may have left it at his friend’s house. They also found hash oil, marijuana and a grinder. The officer found a knife, which they determined was legal.
On the video, he told one of the officers he had smoked marijuana two hours before driving, so a sobriety test was performed. He passed the test.
After checking his car, the officer decided not to cite him for the original infraction because it would have a lasting effect on his driving record. Instead, he cited the young man for possessing marijuana.
“I am not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that would actually put a moving violation on your driving license, and you are going to have to go to traffic school and all that stuff, so I am helping you by not giving you a violation on it. All I am going to do is take the weed from you,” he said.
The officer told Johnson he could go to court, show proof he has a prescription and probably just pay a fine.
“It felt like this was a little better than the other one,” he said. “I am giving this to you too because you smoked weed about two hours ago … and a warning if you have Ritalin on you and you’re not supposed to, don’t do it. That’s a big violation and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”
Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro said the racial profile allegations resulted in threats against the department.
“The contact and actions with Marcell Johnson were legal, professional and empathetic,” he said.
The above was admittedly a lengthy passage, but it was necessary to include it in today’s column because it highlights a number of issues that Black folk aren’t too keen to be all that terribly honest about, especially within potential earshot of Whites – you know, the whole “airing dirty laundry thing”.
Only problem with that line of argument, as William H. Cosby noted more than a decade ago, was that our “dirty laundry” was getting out of school at 3 pm and running amok.
To be sure, racial profiling of Black men and boys in particular is a very real thing, as is police brutality involving the same; but the fact of the matter is that there is more than enough blame to go around.
What Ms. Henson’s recent gaff proves is that there is a very real problem taking place in the Black precincts of America, and it’s the utter lack of fathers being involved in the lives of their kids, especially their sons. Say what you will of Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, but on this point, he was spot-on.
Notice the bolded line in the above quote? I did that to highlight the fact that Marcell’s father was MIA – literally reduced to one line of text in a newspaper report. As I was curious about Marcell’s daddy, I decided to look up Ms. Henson’s Wikipedia entry to see if I could find out a bit more info on Mr. Johnson; here’s what I found:
“Henson became pregnant her junior year of college, she gave birth May 1994 to her son Marcell Johnson. Her son’s father was her high-school sweetheart.”
Yet another two-liner. No mention of whether they married or not, or whatever became of Mr. Johnson. Hmm.
What cannot be denied in this case, and indeed the cases of the late Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, is that in all their cases, they, like Marcell, had a weak father presence, and an overwhelmingly suffocating mother influence that is willing to raise hell in defence of them, even in the face of less than savory facts about their boys.
Those in the Black sections reading these words will interpret them as, among other things, blaming the victims for their demise and in the case of Marcell, his being pulled over in the first place – but things just don’t happen out of nowhere. The ugly truth of the matter is that all three of these men were headed toward trouble – it was only a matter of time for Trayvon and Michael, and it remains to be seen if this brush with the law will be enough to scare young Marcell straight.
As I’ve said before, and it bears repeating now, that anywhere one observes violent and property crime, “thug life” behavior, pestilence and just overall disorder and chaos in the Black community, you can be sure that fathers will be few and far between, and what I have referred to as Baby Mamaism will reign supreme. Not only that, but as Ms. Henson has demonstrated, very often the Baby Mamas of Black America will aid and abet their antisocial sons in their misbegotten deeds.
All manner of social science research and study has repeatedly validated the fact that involved fathers – and let me be a stompdown pedant about this, MARRIED AND LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE AS THE MOTHER – produce kids, boys and girls alike, with markedly improved life outcomes for them, than kids whose father is not living with them. This is just a fact that must be honestly grappled with, as we continue this charade of a “conversation” about racial issues in the United States at this time.
Trayvon, Michael, and now Marcell, are three vivid examples of Baby Mamaism having failed.
How many more young Black men must pay the ultimate price for a warped ideology?
Again, there’s enough blame to go around.
It’s time that Black America be honest enough with itself, to admit that.
For more on my thoughts on these issues, checkout my post-Trayvon thoughts here.