I know what you’re thinking, “Amber Cole, again?!?” or you might be thinking “Who the hell is Amber Cole?” If you’re in the latter group, you can read a brief summary of the story over on Global Grind. If you’re in the former group, whether you like it or not there are thousands of Amber Coles roaming around. A few may blossom into Amber Roses. Most will not. I actually felt like writing about this topic last year but I never got around to it because I have a life. I’m sorry.

A brief summary: Amber Cole is a 14-year-old African American girl who was filmed (unknowingly?) in late 2011 by two other similarly aged young boys while she performed oral on an ex-boyfriend to win him back. The video then hit the Internet. The fit hit the shan. Two of the three young boys were eventually arrested. Amber Cole (allegedly) went on to make a series of questionable Tweets regarding the subject. The Internet went into an uproar for about five business days. Since the Internet has a collective memory span of a mentally handicapped goldfish, it promptly moved on as if nothing happened.

Editor’s Note: SingleBlackMale.org will not provide a link to the video. I personally have not watched the video. I have no plans to watch the video. I suggest you not watch the video because it’s child-nography (first half left off on purpose) and that’s disgusting illegal. What I want to comment on today is the lesson.

If you’ve been here awhile, you already know I’m not too keen on having a daughter. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would handle this situation if I had a son, a daughter, or if this had happened to me when I was 14. A few thoughts came to mind.

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Back When I was 14: There was no YouTube when I was 14. Honestly, there weren’t many video sharing sites at all. The Internet was extremely slow and it really wasn’t even worth the time spent downloading a video. You were better off cutting out the middleman and getting a VHS or if you were rich, a DVD. I say this because I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was a teenager; however, I was fortunate enough not to have any of it end up on the Internet. I feel a lot of old so-called mature people are quick to victimize every generation beneath them as if that will be the generation to end the world as if they were never young and did stupid stuff. Maybe that’s true but I doubt it. In fact, I know some of the people who make the most outrageous judgments on-line and I’m sitting behind my laptop like, “Word? I know what you did last summer of 2000.”

My 14-Year-Old Son: Many people on-line rejoiced when these young boys were arrested. I was not one of them. I recognize what they did was wrong (and I hope they do too). I just cannot get behind throwing little boys, especially little black boys, in jail. I’m sorry, I can’t and I never will. I do believe actions should have consequence; I’m just not sure those consequences should be jail time. Granted, I don’t know these boys and maybe this wasn’t there first offense. Assuming it was I would have preferred to see them receive a steep fine (the boys, not their parents), community service and professional counseling. A less crass gentlemen on the Internet left the following comment:

“In the pr0n industry, who do people look down on the most, the pr0n star or the cameraman?” – some less crass gentlemen on the Internet

If my son made this mistake, I would not want to see him go to jail but I would want him to learn a valuable lesson. These kids’ first and last names (and Amber Cole’s pictures) are on the Internet. This incident will likely haunt them for the rest of their lives for anyone or any company that decides to do a Google search. That’s a punishment in and of itself. Most folks will say, “I will/have raise my son better than that.” Maybe you will but in a viral world, your son (or daughter) only needs to make a 5-second mistake that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. Unless you’re raising Jesus, I highly doubt your child is infallible.

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My 14-Year-Old Daughter: *sigh* Here’s where things get real. Just thinking about this occurring to my daughter is admittedly more upsetting than the above paragraph I just wrote. You can say whatever you want to say about what that says about me. I don’t care. I’m being honest.

My first instinct would be to kill the boys. I hope that my wife will be able to talk me down from the ledge of that idea. Assuming she does, then I must decide how to address this incident and my daughter. Like most, ideally, I hope I have raised my daughter to love and respect herself enough never to place herself in this situation but unfortunately, I know we live in the real world. Sh*t happens. The scariest part here is there is no escaping the Internet. We can run. We can hide. But, the Internet has a way of exposing unknown knowns. Regardless, I would move my daughter to a new school/city/state to the degree feasible. From there my focus would be on understanding how this happened, explaining to her the consequences, and then doing our best to return to some level of normalcy going forward.

Now it’s your turn: What are your thoughts on the Amber Cole and similar incidents? Should the boys have been arrested? Should Amber Cole have been arrested? Is this generation worse than prior ones or are there simply more mediums to be exposed doing the exact same actions of past generations? As Global Grind suggested, is social media ‘victimizing’ young people or are they victimizing themselves? And the kicker, how would you handle this situation if it was your son/daughter? Would you handle it differently based on if it was your son or your daughter?