GOP speaker draws scrutiny for saying police would be ‘smart’ to be ‘more careful’ around biracial son than white sons

Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson drew scrutiny online ahead of her scheduled appearance at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night for comments she made in a video earlier this year in which she said police would be “smart” to be “more careful” around her biracial son than her white sons “because of statistics.”

Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee turned anti-abortion activist who is scheduled to deliver remarks during the convention on Tuesday, made the comments in a video back in June, according to Vice News, which resurfaced the clip earlier in the day. The video was reportedly posted on YouTube amid nationwide protests against racial inequality and police brutality weeks after the death George Floyd before it was later made private.

In the video, Johnson says that she recognizes she is going to “have to have a different conversation with” her biracial son, Jude, who is also reportedly adopted, than she will with her “brown-haired little Irish, very, very pale-skinned, white sons as they grow up.” 

“Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy. But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man. And my other boys are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys,” Johnson says. 

“Statistically, I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes,” Johnson claims. “So, statistically, when a police officer sees a brown man like my Jude walking down the road — as opposed to my white nerdy kids, my white nerdy men walking down the road — because of the statistics that he knows in his head, that these police officers know in their head, they’re going to know that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”

“So the fact that in his head he would be more careful around my brown son than my white son, that doesn’t actually make me angry,” she goes on to say. “That makes that police officer smart because of statistics.”

“Now if he treats my brown son violently — more violently than my white sons — that makes me angry,” she added.

According to Pew Research Center, while the gap between incarcerated Black and white inmates has declined over the years, Black inmates continued to outnumber their white counterparts in the United States in 2018, even though Black Americans make up a significantly smaller part of the population.

A 2016 report from the Brookings Institution analyzing FBI crime data also found that only 6 percent of arrests of Black men in 2011 were for violent crimes. Black men have also been found to receive longer federal sentences than white men for the same crimes, according a report published by The Washington Post the following year based on data from the United States Sentencing Commission.

While Johnson continued to say in the clip that she would be upset if an officer treated her biracial son “more violently” than her white sons, she also said that if an officer was “on more high alert with my brown son than he is with my white son, that doesn’t make me angry because that’s just smart because of statistics.” 

She later said in the clip, which runs for roughly 15 minutes, that she believes the “primary reason that we see a lot of the illness in our society today and one of the reasons that we’re seeing a lot of what’s happening today in our society is because of fatherlessness, because fathers have not stood up and they have not taken their place in the home and particularly in Black homes.”

“Black fathers do not get a pass just because it is culturally different, just because black fathers don’t want to be in the home, and culturally it has been acceptable for them to be with multiple women,” she continued.

The remarks were widely circulated on Twitter on Tuesday ahead of her scheduled speech at the GOP convention.

Johnson pushed back on critics in a tweet Tuesday evening, asserting that pro-abortion advocates were circulating her past comments in an attempt to torpedo her speech.

“Well, guess what?? You can dredge up whatever old tweets you want. I’m still speaking,” she tweeted.

Tags 2020 conventions 2020 Republican National Convention Abby Johnson
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