Has Our Weekly gone too far with this disturbing image?

Image conceptualized by Our Weekly Staff Writer Cory Alexander Haywood

*The mounting conflict between law enforcement and the black community has precipitated a wellspring of media-generated propaganda.

Fanning the flames, last week, Our Weekly Newspaper (Los Angeles) published a disturbing image of an African American toddler held at gunpoint, outfitted in prison garb worn during the early 20 century.

In bold, striking red letters, the words “Target Practice” splash across the infants left shoulder. The gun pointed at the toddler’s cranium is seemingly held by the hand of an anonymous white male.

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The image is causing quite a stir on social media. Numerous critics have flooded Facebook and Twitter with less-than-flattering assessments of Our Weekly’s nightmarish masterpiece.

OW’s editor-in-chief Juliana Norwood recently issued a written statement in response to the backlash:

“In response to the flurry of comments that we received on the cover of last week’s edition; there was a very heavy mix of reviews where some praised it for its brazen honesty, while others condemned it for its offensiveness.

In reality, we intended the cover to offend. The “shock and awe” should really come from the very sick, sad, scary reality that the image is closer to the truth of what the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color is spiraling into, than many of us are willing to admit.

According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, Black boys as young as 10 are not viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their White peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty, and face police violence, if accused of a crime.

Our minds go to 12-year-old, unarmed, Tamir Rice who was gunned down by police in Ohio while playing in the park late last year.

According to a report from the Community Coalition published on PBS.org regarding the school-to-prison pipeline: The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and its prisons are overwhelmingly filled with Black and Latino men. More than 70 percent of in-school arrests are of Black and Latino youth and 40 percent of all U.S. school expulsions are of Black youth.

Our minds go to Dennis Rivera, whose 5-year-old son was handcuffed to a chair by armed school security in his New York kindergarten class after a tantrum.

This cover doesn’t criminalize our youth. Our justice system does this job well-enough all on its own. What it does, is force us to look in the face of what we hope isn’t the future for our young Black boys, and hopefully encourages us to stay diligent in the war that has been waged against them.

We appreciate the community’s response, and we also appreciate your anger. We all agree that it is warranted.”