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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » The Kool Room - Archive to July 2005 » It takes a village to ruin a child... « Previous Next »

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Yvette Perry
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Yvettep

Post Number: 119
Registered: 01-2005

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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 08:59 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Some of you may know I am pretty passionate about issues related to family and children. Some examples:

On the MJ thread I have advocated for a position of viewing "child exploitation" more broadly, to include non-"sexual" acts with children that are mainly for the purpose of meeting the intimacy needs of the adult(s). But I have also on that thread challenged all of us to think about how all of us may exploit children, for example by enjoying MJ's artistry when he was a child without concern for how he may have been faring as a child...

On the thread about the 60 Minutes segment on White Canadians adopting US Blakc children, I wanted folks to look further back, to why the US child "welfare" system may be systematically biased in the first place which largely is responsible for the large numbers of African American "legal orphans"...

Somewhere else on this board I brought up the issue of "other people's kids behaving badly" and the implications for me, as a parent, trying to instill values to my own kids and maybe even doing something to "correct" the "bad a** children"...

Well. I was in a conversation recently with someone who wanted to advocate for a public policy position in which children "belong" to no one, but instead are the collective responsibility of all adults. This person invoked the saying espoused by Hilary Clinton and others, supposedly an African proverb, that "It takes a village to raise a child."

I always have reacted very strongly--negatively--to that proverb, but at the same time have felt guilty for this reaction. (It is African, afterall, right?)

After talking with this person I finally figured out why: Often I see this phrase being used to advocate for some State intervention in the lives of families--often involving punitive measures to separate Black parents from their children and/or "educational" measures meant to "teach" Black parents how to parent their children. I take the implication further to mean that some folks are incompetent to raise their children so government must "help"--and NOT by correcting the situations that led to the perceived incompetence in the first place!

As such, what I really hear people saying is "It takes the State to raise some children--particularly children of color." As you can imagine, such a view triggers all sorts of thoughts in me about slavery, Black children belonging to White masters, Indian children being taken away from tribes to be made into "good Christians" in "boarding schools," etc.

It'd be different if the State did a good job of "raising" my/our/Black children. But much of the literature examining this issue says otherwise. Dorothy Roberts' book "Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare" documents this very well.

My question, then, is in a couple of parts:

(1) IS THERE A WAY FOR "US" (WHOEVER WE MAY DEFINE THAT TO BE FOR ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION...) TO TAKE BACK THAT PROVERB FROM THE POLITICIANS AND OTHERS WHO--I BELIEVE ARE MISUSING IT AND MISINTERPRETING IT?

For example it occurs to me that, if in fact this is an African proverb, it is likely that "village" in that context is more akin to "extended family" or "kinship group" than it is to "the government" as it exists in current US society.

(2) WHAT ROLE DO "WE" OURSELVES (AGAIN, SAME CAVEAT AS ABV AS TO WHO "WE" ARE...) PLAY IN THIS--AGAIN, MY TAKE ON IT--EXPLOITATION OF OUR CHILDREN, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES, AND (IF WE ARE PLAYING A ROLE) HOW DO WE REVERSE THIS TREND?

For example I was at a conference Monday in which a group of genetic and other researchers were debating ways to use "race" responsibly in biomedical research. One of the proposals involved seeking full participation in research by the geographical communities under study (e.g., inner city neighborhood, Indian reservation, all-Black rural town). My question to this presenter was, Do I have a right/responsibility to speak along with these "communities" even if I am not a "geographical" community member?

Anyway...Sorry for the long post. Looking forward t o some conversation on this.
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Mahogany Anais
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Post Number: 178
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 09:11 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette: For example it occurs to me that, if in fact this is an African proverb, it is likely that "village" in that context is more akin to "extended family" or "kinship group" than it is to "the government" as it exists in current US society.

Mah: I tend to view it that way as well.

If the government really believed in the spirit of that saying (regardless of its origins), it would equip families and communities to care for their own, via quality education, living wages and jobs, safe neighborhoods, affordable health care, etc.--not usurping and undermining parental authority.

Thanks for thought-provoking post! I'm still chewing on it...
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Chris Hayden
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 10:15 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette:

#1
You can no more take this back from the politicians that you can "We Shall Overcome", "I Have a Dream" or "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem". They have coopted it. This is the nature of politicians and the corporate state. You have to get a new
saying or try to make that one mean something--judging from their success (go all the way back to the Roman Emperors coopting Christianity, I wish you luck.

#2

There is nothing you can do--well there is something you can do, but nothing I would advocate on this site in view of the climate in this country after the Patriot Act (A romance novelist recently had her computer, books, and notes siezed because she was doing some research on an Al Quaeda site--you can say what you want, just watch what you say)

You cannot do anything because this is an exploitive society. Children are being exploited beause adults are being exploited. Everybody is being exploited. They are outsouring everybody's jobs so they got to work two and three jobs, sending them credit cards so that they will get in debt up to their eyeballs and have to work those jobs, they just made it less easy to discharge those debts and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

They are sending you messages 24/7 that your life is not happy unless you consume consume consume. They are experimenting on you with viruses and chemicals without your knowlege, putting all kinds of stuff in the food, taxing you out the wazoo and doing God knows what with the money.

The CEOs are voting themselves huge salaries, stock options and golden parachutes--they can get in a company, run it in the ground, make out like bandits, liquidate it, sell the assets, start up all over again under another name.

Not exploit the children? How will you teach them how to exploit when they get to be adults?

There is going to be no revolution. Nobody is riding to the rescue. The corporate state has won and now the victors are going to take the spoils.

Try to do for yourself. Try to save yourself and yours from exploitation. This is all you can do.

Good luck.
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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 11:18 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Yvette.

Africans (almost all types) have another saying that precedes this one.

IT GOES: "100 Blacks is a Nation".

Which means that 100 people constitutes an actual tribe.

A "village", just like you said, is one big extended family.

In fact "village", the word itself, really means "family".

Nilotic blacks say "the tima" (which means THE RESULT OF GREAT FIRE...our entire race united as one--negritude).

The Arabic word "usrah" means family.

YOU'VE OFTEN HEARD ME SAY THIS PHRASE TO YOU:

"tima usrah"---which means----"through fire comes the family".

THE VILLAGE is the family.

Every adult male in the village is your Father/Uncle. Every adult female is your Mother/Aunt.

All the children are "brother/sister".

Even if our philosophy is "wrong".....we are CONTRIBUTE to give insight and guidance to the tribe, regardless of that philosophy, which is why I so often risk being "disliked" to share what "I KNOW" as myself with everyone here---the tribe. People who don't share, honestly, are not being "the village".

_________________

Interesting fact for you:

In Sudan (Omdurman, where I'm from)--the BLACK women of one neighborhood, one entire BLOCK, all gathered together, are called the "Zarpunni" (the Mother Superior is the "Zarris"--which is the "collective, the covenent" that raises, informs and protects the children.


_______________________


CHRIS HAYDEN is totally right about this:

1
You can no more take this back from the politicians that you can "We Shall Overcome", "I Have a Dream" or "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem". They have coopted it. This is the nature of politicians and the corporate state. You have to get a new
saying or try to make that one mean something--judging from their success (go all the way back to the Roman Emperors coopting Christianity, I wish you luck.

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Connie Bradley
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 01:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I also agree with Chris Hayden. And all of this figures into my oft-repeated and regularly-disputed theory that in a capitalisitc society the only way there can be "haves" is to make sure there are plenty of "have nots". Poverty and all that it causes, and this includes neglected children, creates a need for social and law enforcement agencies which employ millions of people, thereby providing employment for the "haves" and turning the agencies they work for into industries. And with the ongoing problem of babies are having babies, the only thing The Village is doing is benevolently smiling because entering the ranks of babies' mamas is like a rite of passage among the underclasses, and as Fantasia Barino, American idol winner, extols in her new hit song, "a badge of honor." So, a great a pool of surplus black children is being created by hapless black females, most of who are too young to be good parents and who are themselves the result of the cirucumstances they find themselves in. Welfare has become a way of life to millions and the village has become a workplace that coddles the product on which their income depends. And lucky for all of these wage earners, birth control has never been enthusiastically embraced by poor blacks who buy into the idea of it being a form of genocide. The young girls whine that the shots available to prevent pregnancy make them fat; black women of all ages are appalled by the idea of abortion, piously declaring how they don't believe in it. As result, they wait until after their children are born before jeopardizing their lives by abusing or abandoning them, leaving their fate in the hands of a village known as DCFS, or - worse yet, leaving them at the mercy of violent boyfriends who shake crying babies to death. And all of this is exacerbated by how the rich and famous are caught up in the motherhood fad, posing with their bellies exposed, wearing tight clothes to show of their bulging tummies, grinning, gushing, going on and on about breast feeding, saddling their children with crazy names, a bunch of airheads well able to engage in this spectacle because they can afford to indulge their whims and have a babies to add to their glitzy collections of toys. When a village itself is crazy, it sure in the hell can't help raise a child. (This is not to say that there is not reponsible parenting going on in the black community because there is. But that's not the subject we're discussing.)
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cynique
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 01:24 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oooh, me. Why do I always forget to do what it takes to not have my name posted. I wish this feature would get fixed! But I guess it doesn't really matter anymore.
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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 01:29 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chris: Try to do for yourself. Try to save yourself and yours from exploitation. This is all you can do.

Mah: I often come back to this in my own life and live accordingly. However unfortunately, in some circles it is perceived as a cop out. Or selfish. I used to think of it that way too--back when I was an idealist.

I do believe how we define that "yours" is key. I try to help anyone who crosses my path/enters my sphere of influence, because I don't believe in coincidences.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 03:25 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do believe how we define that "yours" is key. I try to help anyone who crosses my path/enters my sphere of influence, because I don't believe in coincidences.

I like this. I think in general, I end up doing this too. I can't stop thinking about the broader picture, though--maybe because the broader picture is where I want to be work-wise. (Once/if I ever graduate!)

To co-opt another liberal bumper sticker slogan, I think what I usually end up following is the saying "Think globally; Act locally."

To Connie/Cynique I would say that "youth" per se has nothing to do with being a good parent. I think you of any of us probably know of times/people/situations when women routinely had children as young as many of these "baby-mamas" today. What is missing today is the surrounding village...

Chris--yeah, I agree that "everybody is being exploitative." My larger concern is myself.

For example: When I read of the way that the child welfare system routinely offers support services--including HOUSING, one of the biggest needs--to White parents who have been substantiated as having abused/neglected their children but routinely moves first towards terminating parental rights for Black parents--and in cases where the severity of abuse/neglect is the same--then am I MYSELF ALSO EXPLOITING THESE FAMILIES OR BY MY SILENCE CONTRIBUTING TO THEIR EXPLOITATION. Yes, I will continue to watch over "my own," but I am not so sure that it is possible to be somehow "neutral" in my approach to the treatment of others.

Mahogany, I do hear you about idealism. Often I think I am too old for this idealistic BS (I'll be 41 Mon!!!!) I know some of you will not be bothered by this (*wink-wink*, Cynique), but I am not so much bothered by poverty as such. Maybe our society does "need" poverty so that the folks at the top can continue to have and the folks in the middle will continue to work their a**es off in the assumption that one day they, too, will "have."

What is troubling to me, and what I cannot accept so easily, is that the "have-nots" must continue to be disproportionately black, brown and tan.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 03:29 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When a village itself is crazy, it sure in the hell can't help raise a child.

And this, Connie/Cynique, is the quote of the day! Agree 100%.
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cynique
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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2005 - 11:55 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvettep says:

"To Connie/Cynique I would say that "youth" per se has nothing to do with being a good parent. I think you of any of us probably know of times/people/situations when women routinely had children as young as many of these "baby-mamas" today. What is missing today is the surrounding village."

Cynique responds:

Actually, during the prudish 1940s and '50s, teen-aged pregnancy was the exception not the rule in my sphere of the "black experience", and during these pre-sexual revolutions days, unwed pregnancies were frowned upon. As far as young mothers go, what they seem to be best at, is doting on their children, buying things for them, treating them like dolls or miniature NBA athletes to be dressed up and "oohed" over, and of course such priorities have nothing to do with being a good parent. Older mothers do seem to be a bit more practical because a certain amount of awareness comes with age. And "the village" today more often than not is the family support group that finds grandmothers and older relatives stuck with raising the children of irresponsible young mothers whose idea of disciplining kids is treating them like peers who have made them mad. (Keep in mind who is making these remarks. LOL)
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2005 - 12:40 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

All: Go check out the transcript of the 5 year old Black girl being handcuffed by police in Fla on the Culture, Race and Economy board. (Also, see info on this blog http://minorjive.typepad.com/hungryblues/2005/04/st_petersburg_p.html)
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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2005 - 01:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette,

I don't think there's ANYTHING WRONG with the "village" concept---which is basically the ancient African practice of "Extended Family" in a very serious, tangible way (I pointed out how through our "Zarpunni", it can even be set up in neighborhoods like small government).

I think the problem is that IN AMERICA....as actress Charlayne Woodard ("NEAT") said in one of her brilliant stage plays......"We're TOO FREE".

Our society over here is Capitalist-CORPORATE generated. The "MEDIA IMAGES" being our Bible, Instructor and Pacifier/Placator. As Nicole Kidman said in one of her films----"You're nobody if you're not on t.v."

THAT....is the unspoken "mentality" of the masses. Those of us who are EXCEPTIONS to the RULE....always fail to see that our levelheadedness and practicality is MEANINGLESS in the face of the VACUUUM we live in.

As "Americans"---we are now like the ancient Romans. Overly indulged with gross feelings of entitlement and an emphasis on "individuality" rather than "the good of the village".

REALTY T.V......gladiator spectator like t.v......is further indication of this Restless Disconnection that people feel.

No families (mom, dad, the kids, grandma) eat dinner, all together at the same time each evening anymore. In Africa---SEVERAL FAMILIES or the entire tribe----has dinner TOGETHER at the same time, communion each night, you see. In this way, the INDIVIDUAL takes direction from the VILLAGE....which is all powered by the Mother (Backbone/CORE). No matter what race, group to go to----the MOTHER is the backbone who keeps the people of a shared Vision and a shared Identity.

Neither model is perfect or without flaws, but we've LOST the "common ground" between the two---the village and the individual----which I do believe the Black Americans once had a LOCK on in this country, when they were segregated and FORCED to make it as "a people". They had to depend on each other, watch after each other and they had a COMMON ANXIETY, a UNIFIED HEARTBREAK......which was their greatest strength.

As I have said many times----"The only thing that the Black Americans have going for them....is that they're BLACK."

And it's a very profound and TRUE statement.

Because, Yvette---I could be jaded living in Southern California---but I don't believe there really is a "Black Community" anymore, let alone the mode for a "village" mentality to break through.

My theory is that the Black BLACK woman, the "root" (CORE) of the people is wholly disrespected and Non-Valued in Black America, the Black Church is "Dead" (because its behind the times)-----the PIMP, Gangsta-gangbanger, High Baller, Buppie College People, Mulatta Goddesses, Hip Hop Youth Followers----are CURRENTLY the "transformers" and "conduits" through which information and PROTOCAL are embedded in the people's imagination. NONE Of those "types" are connected to or take direction from the Black BLACK woman (the root/CORE/womb/backbone) of the people.

Without a "root/CORE"---a backbone that outranks all others---the community falls into breakdown and splits up and chases its tail.

Many will argue with me about this.....but I KNOW what I speak of.....and I can say, without a moment's thought, that IN AMERICA....white women and women of other races are more "valued/respected" WITHIN the "BLACK community" than any Black Woman is.

So if the children don't cherish/listen to their own mother......then the mother (the backbone) becomes disconnected from (and even fearful of) the children and the children look OUTSIDE for more shallow pursuits, becoming more and more wayward (FREEDOM is what they call it)---Hip Hop itself ordaines that we don't need guidance, that being a PIMP-"OG" is sufficient substitute for being a man and that Money, Bling Bling are the only values and principles important in this society.




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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 11:56 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette said: What is troubling to me, and what I cannot accept so easily, is that the "have-nots" must continue to be disproportionately black, brown and tan.

and

Kola said: Our society over here is Capitalist-CORPORATE generated. The "MEDIA IMAGES" being our Bible, Instructor and Pacifier/Placator. As Nicole Kidman said in one of her films----"You're nobody if you're not on t.v." THAT....is the unspoken "mentality" of the masses. Those of us who are EXCEPTIONS to the RULE....always fail to see that our levelheadedness and practicality is MEANINGLESS in the face of the VACUUUM we live in.

Mah: Put 'em both together, and I say, "Amen!"

It seems the "have nots" are the least able/willing to question, much less subvert, the status quo. For some, it's a power issue; they don't have any. For others, like the wannabe thug/gangstas (the rappers and the criminals and all those in between), they "think" they are getting over on the system, but truly they are perpetuating it.

The "have nots" also seem more williing to subsist on the empty calories of hollow and destructive media images, etc., because...what's the alternative?

I have a friend, a young man, recently released from jail on drug charges, and he wants to put his life in order and make a new start. But, he told me, it's hard because even though he understands how much he has to lose by getting caught Out There again, the temptation is there because, "What else is there to do?"

I swear, I haven't stopped trying to show him as much "what else" as I can since he told me that. But ultimately, it's on him.
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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 12:48 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That is so sad Mahoghany.

I bet it's heavy on your heart, because you KNOW what to do----and yet, like you said, IT'S ON HIM.

Just like when I quit smoking cigarettes 4 years ago, it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life---but I realized that it was UP TO ME to "WANT" to be free and to act on it. I had to inconvenience what I was used to......and let go of it.

It's very hard, but this is where the WEAK are separated from the strong.

I will pray for your friend...to gain courage and direction from you.

And the sad thing is....there's about a MILLION like him, who we don't even get to hear from.

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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 12:52 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks so much, Kola.

I am also connecting him with strong black MEN. I think that's extremely important.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mah, I'm thinking of a cousin who is likely very similar to the young man you talk about. (Except in this case it was a prison--huge difference.)

I remember talking to my father about him, and my father talking about the family's efforts to get him "hooked in" to the community through such things as joining a church, attending family get togethers, bringing around his children/pics of his children, etc. The idea is that pretty much establishing and maintaining any such connections would make it less likely that he could get caught up in that lifestyle again.

But there were difficulties to surmount. On both his side and the community's/family's side...

I'm also thinking of a friend of mine from high school. He spent the last 20 some years in prison. It pains me to think of all the stuff I've gone throuh in my life--not that I am a big success or anything, but definitely I have attended schools, traveled around the world, fallen in and out of love, gotten married (after my last falling in love cycle :-)), had children... And this whole time my friend has been in prison.

It's simply mind boggling.

Then I also think of some of the programs (job training, GED/higher education, creative writing) and health services (alcohol and drug treatment, mental health services, dental care) that both these young men got in prison... Also mind boggling when you begin to do the math and start wondering what the effects might have been had these programs been offered/taken advantage of long before the prison walls...

By this post I am not trying to say that these young men did not have choices and should not bear some personal responsibility for their actions. They should, certainly. And I am the last one to talk about helping them because, although I have relatives who work/have worked in the prison system, I find this kind of work extremely depressing and cannot imagine doing it myself.

I am starting to believe, though, that there is something to be said for catching these young men (and, increasingly--sadly, young women) at their very first offense, no matter how minor, and intervening intensely. However, it is hard to get policy attention and $$ for such interventions. For one thing, it's hard to prove that such programs "work" when your outcome variable is what could have become of these folks had you not intervened earlier.

Prevention is cheaper than post hoc treatment. Plenty peole believe this, but few (e.g., "the taxpayers") want to put their money where their logic is.

Plus, I think it is a lot more satisfying to many of us psychologically to adopt this hard core, punitive, vengeful stance towards those who commit crimes...

I was at a meeting where the head of the juvenile justice system in the Twin Cities' largest county and the superintendent of the same public school system were on the same panel. (The former a Black male, the latter a Black female.) These two knew each other from way back. At one point in the discussion the superintendent just asked the juvie guy to tell the audience what his budget was. He did. Then she told everybody what her budget was.

You all already know the punchline to this story.

Her budget was less than half of his, and she dealt with many more young people than he did. Every audience member gasped.

Also, I'm not saying the answer is money.

I do think, though, that the answer is "will" and "values"--ANd we demonstrate what we are willing to accept by the money we deceide to spend on something; And our values become institutionalized by what we spend money on.

Well, that's my Sunday morning sermon! I have no answers. Sorry to bore everyone--I know to some extent I'm probably preaching to the choir. I'll just chalk my contemplative mood up to my impending birthday tomorrow! LOL

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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette,

Thanks for the sermon! I skipped church today...

In this book I just finished on FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) being more far-reaching than first presumed, there was a discussion on the "prison industrial complex." And I do think we have to look at who stands to lose jobs and $$ if certain positive changes are made in how we handle various social crises--who stands to lose and how much political clout they wield in order to prevent this loss.

Jail vs. prison. I use these interchangeably, but as you point out, big difference. I believe my friend did prison time, given the sentence and charges involved.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I skipped church today...

I won't tell on you if you won't tell on me! LOL! Reminds me last year at my family reunion--Our whole extended family attended the dedication service for the new sanctuary of the church in E. Chicago where my father and his 7 siblings grew up. We're all filing in solemnly, other congregants looking at us with respect and admiration, when one of my daughters says--loudly--"Oh, good, are we gonna watch a movie?"

The look my aunt gave me coulda struck me dead if God him/herself hadn't had my back! Before this year's reunion I've gotta get my little ones to somebody's church...
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:40 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"prison industrial complex"

Yes, Mahagony--A worthy thing to look at. Sometime soon I'm going to educate myself more about this. Maybe I'll check out the book you're talking about.

And you know, it wouldn't be half bad if crime for Blacks were a means for improvement as it has been for other ethnic groups at different times in our American history. I probably have no beef with crime, per se. Like poverty, it'll probably always be with us.

Maybe, as some folks were advocating on another thread with regard to prostitution, decriminalization is the answer.

I don't know. The whole thing is just too sad.
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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kola,

I'll publish the title of the book once my review runs, but honestly, it's more about FASD (though definitely a must-read for people of conscience), with a tiny bit on the prison industrial complex.

I haven't read it myself, but apparently, Angela Davis's book "The Prison Industrial Complex" is a comprehensive read on the subject.
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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 01:49 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yvette,

Out of the mouth of babes! LOL!
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cynique
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 02:45 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When I speak about the "have-nots" providing jobs for the "haves", the prison industrial complex is an example of what I am talking about. For instance, prisons are plentiful in Illinois, especially around the rural down state areas populated by the white "hicks" who comprise the majority of the prisons guards keeping watch over the black inmates. And it's not just prison guard jobs, it's a multitude of other prison-related services that create employment. When the Governor decided to consolate and economize by closing several prisons, the residents of the little towns that would be affected by the governor's decision were devasted because their livelihood depended upon black men being imprisoned. And the sad things is that when a survey was made, 99 percent of the black men who make up the bulk of prison populations, it was found that 99 percent of them were raised by single moms without a father in the home. They are the end result of a society that throws away the surplus supply of black males who are the offspring of young mothers unable to cope with parenthood. And why are these young women unable to cope? Because they bog themselves down with children who they do not know how to raise alone and are, therefore, left to depend on the charity and the intervention of The State. As for young ex-offenders, I don't know how many time I've heard them say that they can't survive on a minimum wage job at MacDonalds, and that they can make much more money selling drugs.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 02:50 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique, great example. Also, I read about in New York state how the prison population is figured into the population of smaller towns and suburban areas where the prisons are located for purposes related to representation, etc--even though most of the prisoners are likely not "from" there at all. (And of course, most of these folks when released are prohibitted from voting...)
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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 02:53 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The information that Cynique and Yvette just shared about "statistical" use of inmates...

...is really making me angry.

This is so inhuman how our YOUTH are routinely used as grease to keep the wheels of white privileage turning.

I feel so furious reading this.






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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 03:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique, Beloved Mother....another problem that is NEVER discussed about this phenomenom of "young black mothers"....

...is that we have a community (the black community) that does not VALUE black females.

Thulani Davis wrote a great article in VILLAGE VOICE about it.

We bring daughters into the world and then our community secretly despises them...for BEING BLACK.

In turn, these masses and masses of Black girls are desperate for ATTENTION, for LOVE, for VALIDATION and for AFFIRMATION.

A "baby" doesn't judge them.

It doesn't care if we're ugly; if we're dumb; if we're poor.

A baby just wants to love whoever has it the most.....and this SOCIAL problem we have....where we do not develop and nurture BLACK GIRLS....is the ROOT reason that the girls self-destruct and seek love in having children.

I'm not talking about ABM's daughters or Yvette's daughters-----I'm talking about the MASSES of invisible "black girls" out there who are (a) Not Valued by the Community (b) Unprotected, both physically and mentally from Abuse (black girls grow up hearing themselves referred to "bitches 'n Hos" on the radio as kids----black men in the spotlight make it clear that black skin and black hair on a Female = LEPER). MOST BLACK ADULTS remain in "denial" of this atmosphere that DESTROYS the self-esteem and KILLS the spirits of "black girls".

In Black American---PERIOD---there is a Poisonous "disgust" for BLACK WOMEN, a de-valuuing of her image, her body, her humanity...alltogether.

NOBODY addresses that and hence, the "baby mama" syndrome marches on.

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cynique
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 04:00 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, Kola, young black girls have babies for many reasons. Yes, some of them do have babies because they want someone to love and to be loved by unconditionally. Others have kids because, in their particular circle, babies are looked upon as trophies. Others have babies because they either want to please or spite a boyfriend. Some have babies because they are in denial about their pregnancies and the babies just get born. And, of course, many babies are the result of girls deciding to continue a pregnancy that stems from a rape. The bottom line is that different factors figure into the teen-aged pregnancy equation. And, the fact that many of these babies are neglected and abused and removed from their mothers is proof that not all young girls regard their babies as a source of unconditional love. Everybody is entitled to make a mistake, but when a girl keeps having babies that she can't take care of, then she has to shoulder some of the blame for the way society regards her.
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Mahogany Anais
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 06:08 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04

1 hour, 9 minutes ago U.S. National - AP


By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the nation's prisons and jails held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, the government reported Sunday.


AP Photo



By last June 30, there were 48,000 more inmates, or 2.3 percent, more than the year before, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.


The total inmate population has hovered around 2 million for the past few years, reaching 2.1 million on June 30, 2002, and just below that mark a year later.


While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, said the report's co-author, Paige Harrison. For example, the number of admissions to federal prisons in 2004 exceeded releases by more than 8,000, the study found.


Harrison said the increase can be attributed largely to get-tough policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Among them are mandatory drug sentences, "three-strikes-and-you're-out" laws for repeat offenders, and "truth-in-sentencing" laws that restrict early releases.


"As a whole most of these policies remain in place," she said. "These policies were a reaction to the rise in crime in the '80s and early 90s."


Added Malcolm Young, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which promotes alternatives to prison: "We're working under the burden of laws and practices that have developed over 30 years that have focused on punishment and prison as our primary response to crime."


He said many of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders. Young said one way to help lower the number is to introduce drug treatment programs that offer effective ways of changing behavior and to provide appropriate assistance for the mentally ill.


According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria.


There were 726 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents by June 30, 2004, compared with 716 a year earlier, according to the report by the Justice Department agency. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail; the previous year it was one in every 140.


In 2004, 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said.


Other findings include:


_State prisons held about 2,500 youths under 18 in 2004. That compares with a peak, in 1995, of about 5,300. Local jails held about 7,000 youths, down from 7,800 in 1995.


_In the year ending last June 30, 13 states reported an increase of at least 5 percent in the federal system, led by Minnesota, at about 13 percent; Montana at 10.5 percent; Arkansas at 9 percent.


Among the 12 states that reported a decline in the inmate population were Alabama, 7 percent; Connecticut, 2.5 percent; and Ohio, 2 percent.

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cynique
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Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 07:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As usual, in revising what I wrote, something didn't come out right. In my posts about the prison industrial complex, I didn't mean to say that 99 percent of inmates in prisons are black. There are a substantial number of Hispanics incarcerated, too. Not to mention poor whites.
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Yvette Perry
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Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 10:55 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good Morning, All!

Excerpt from Ms. Magazine interview w/Dorothy Roberts (http://www.msmagazine.com/apr01/roberts.html) relevant to this discussion:

White women's reproductive choices may have been curtailed throughout U.S. history, says Roberts, but black women's choices have been, more often than not, eliminated. While white women have had to demand freedom from compulsory motherhood, black women have had to fight for their right to procreate at all, let alone on their own terms. The sheer scope of restrictions on black women's maternity both tangible (punitive public policies) and intangible (a lack of positive images of black motherhood)has "shaped the meaning of reproductive freedom in this country," says Roberts. In some instances, the agenda has been stark and obvious: children born to slaves were automatically the property of the slaveowner, and the women who gave birth to them had no control over their destiny. But as Roberts painstakingly delineates in her 1997 book Killing the Black Body (Pantheon) more recent theories and practices have at their essence the same pairing of deep racism and reproductive rights regulation. The connection is clear in the eugenics movement (which had alliances with the early birth control movement), forced sterilization, the distribution of Norplant and Depo-Provera (rather than safer methods) to poor women and teenagers, and with family caps for welfare recipients.

Yet the modern reproductive rights movement, led by groups such as Planned Parenthood, doesn't see the discrepancy between black and white women s experiences as a matter of degrees, believes Roberts. Rather, it categorizes those circumstances that predominately affect black women as "social justice" issues and fails to address them with nearly the vigor it summons for abortion rights. Indeed, reproductive rights have become synonymous with abortion rights in this country, and that narrow focus has racist implications that liberals must begin to address. But excluding black women's stories, says Roberts, is not only racist. It's also a fatal obfuscation of the principle from which women's demand for reproductive rights springs: that is, the right to be, the right to exist on equal terms with all other women and men, and to create (or choose not to create) others like ourselves.

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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 11:33 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

GOD BLESS YOU YVETTE!!!!!

This is what I'm saying.

Most "Americans"--black or white---would rather see a "black baby" born out of a white woman or a latina. A black mother has no value (and the darker she is, the less value is attached to her AND her child). I know Black Americans prefer DENIAL---but everybody with eyes and ears can see it plain as day.

Let me reiterate:

___________


Thulani Davis wrote a great article in VILLAGE VOICE about it.

We bring daughters into the world and then our community secretly despises them...for BEING BLACK.

In turn, these masses and masses of Black girls are desperate for ATTENTION, for LOVE, for VALIDATION and for AFFIRMATION.

A "baby" doesn't judge them.

It doesn't care if we're ugly; if we're dumb; if we're poor.

A baby just wants to love whoever has it the most.....and this SOCIAL problem we have....where we do not develop and nurture BLACK GIRLS....is the ROOT reason that the girls self-destruct and seek love in having children.

I'm not talking about ABM's daughters or Yvette's daughters-----I'm talking about the MASSES of invisible "black girls" out there who are (a) Not Valued by the Community (b) Unprotected, both physically and mentally from Abuse (black girls grow up hearing themselves referred to "bitches 'n Hos" on the radio as kids----black men in the spotlight make it clear that black skin and black hair on a Female = LEPER). MOST BLACK ADULTS remain in "denial" of this atmosphere that DESTROYS the self-esteem and KILLS the spirits of "black girls".

In Black American---PERIOD---there is a Poisonous "disgust" for BLACK WOMEN, a de-valuuing of her image, her body, her humanity...alltogether.

NOBODY addresses that and hence, the "baby mama" syndrome marches on.

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cynique
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Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 01:33 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, blah, blah. All of this lamenting bears no relation to reality. What is to be gained by young, unwed, poverty-stricken black girls bringing into this world a bunch of kids that will fall through the cracks of a system that exploits them for its own purposes.Why condone and advocate something that leads to a dead end??? And how black babies look or the color of their skin has nothing to do with it. That's just a typical Kola Boof rationale. And knowing that white babies are regarded differently is reason enough to discourage disadvantaged girls from having babies that will come here with 3 strikes against them. If you know how the deck is stacked, then why play into the game where you're going to end up as a loser???? Why is it such a crime to want children to be born under the conditions that will be conducive to their growth and survival?? If girls crave loving, it's because they were born to mothers who were incapable of giving it to them because they were young, and poor, and ill-prepared for parenthood.
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kola@aalbc.com
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Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 02:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beloved Mother.

No one knows better than me.....that "race/color" has significant bearing on EVERYTHING in America....

....and that Black People in America are not NORMAL PEOPLE, they do not live as HUMAN BEINGS and their entire communities are toxic and self-hating and totally destructive of the very core essence of who they are

...which in turn, affects EVERYTHING else.

You are naming the OUTSIDE, tangible problems and ignoring the STEM ROOT of the real problem.

And that problem is.....Black people place no value on ANYTHING that is inately "black"---including themselves. Therefore, they MIMIC the ideals and folkways of the dominant culture (which has no use for them and steadily "erases" them) and ABANDON anyone of their own group who is either "weak" or refuses to "conform".

It amazes me that a bunch of black women can stand in a circle---their hair processed and their clothes and bibles given to them by the people who hung their parents from trees and profess that "RACE" and "Color" (degree of color) has nothing to do with these Social Pathologies in black children.

THE DECK is not only stacked----the deck is in another language, that we STILL cannot read, no matter how much English we know.

MEXICAN people in California are poor, young, etc.----but they LOVE themselves and LOVE their children and have a community that LOVES ITSELF and therefore provides a support system for its children. They also have a "Separate Culture" and "Language" to draw strength from. They equip their children with....

...."Identity" and "Value".

They are more like "Immigrants"...and less like "slave progeny".




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cynique
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Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 02:27 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And your point is? That young black girls should all go out and have babies in order to counteract colorism? And that black adults who choose to do their own thing are full of self hate? I think not.
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ABM
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Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - 12:32 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique,

The next time you hear someone complain that he sells drugs because he canít afford to live on a minimum wage job, ask that shortsighted fool how much money will he will be paid while being incarcerated in Stateville Penitentiary for the next 5 Ė 15 years.

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