How Easy It Is to Have Your Children Taken Away for Trivial Reasons, Part 2

After the NY Times did its story on how easy it is particularly for poor people to have their children taken away for trivial reasons, including normal parenting blips and/or the desire to give the kids some freedom that a bureaucrat deems too much too soon, the New School’s Center for New York Affairs did a Q and A on the topic. They spoke with Joyce McMillan, whose Child Welfare Organizing Project reminds me of Diane Redleaf’s organization in Chicago, the Family Defense Center. Both are adv0cating for justice for families in the child welfare system:

Last week, the Center for New York City Affairs spotlighted recent dramatic surges in reports concerning child safety – which has led to more investigations of child safety, more families with child welfare cases, and more child removals to foster care. (See “ACS in Overdrive.”)  A day later, our findings were echoed in a major New York Times piece focusing on how foster care removals punish the parenting decisions of low-income black and Hispanic women. This was the latest in a number of recent articles and reports illuminating the varying ways in which being a poor mother of color in New York City leads to your parenting being closely scrutinized—consider it the female counterpart to stop and frisk. (See the “Related Work” we cite at the end of this post.)

For perspective, Kendra Hurley, a senior editor at the Center for New York City Affairs, turned to Joyce McMillan, director of programming and a parent advocate at the Child Welfare Organizing Project, which for years has spoken out about what they see as the inherent racism and destructiveness in child welfare systems. Here are excerpts from that interview.

You’ve contended for years that the child welfare system damages families of color. Now a New York Times article has echoed that. What was your reaction?

It was just like the Yankees had won! I’m just so excited about this moment. I think right now with movements like Black Lives Matter and the effort to close the City’s correctional facility on Rikers Island there’s a shift in America. The momentum from one movement can push the momentum of another. It’s a pivotal time in America and it’s a pivotal time in child welfare.

I think the shift started some time ago. It may or may not have begun with Michelle Alexander, author of the 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which argues that mass incarceration is designed to keep black people disenfranchised. But that book really made people take notice. Advocates of a number of movements were able to identify with that book and make parallels with the movements they were pushing.

When I read the book, it immediately spoke to my soul. I saw the parallels between Jim Crow and mass incarceration and also foster care. Everything in these systems tends to separate and break down families—and the family is the core of a person becoming who they are.

When it comes to the child welfare system, we spend money to take children out of homes and care of parents who the system deems unsafe. In doing so, children are made to transfer schools, doctors and everything they have been familiar with for a lifetime. All the research shows that most children in foster care transfer to multiple different foster homes during their time in the foster care system, compounding the emotional toll and trauma this disruption causes. Research also shows that many children are mistreated in the very homes they are placed in during this effort to keep them safe.

It seems to me that rather than fund a system that we know is harmful to children, families, and communities, we could continue to shift the spending to provide supports to all families, regardless of race and class, to ensure that families receive the supports they need to keep their children safe, healthy, and thriving at home.

What parts of that article were you most pleased to see discussed?

How black parents are being held to a level our white counterparts are not. For normal mishaps of taking care of a child, for a black family a criminal action gets added to it. In The New York Times story, a child wandered out of the house across the street to a place that was familiar to her, her grandmother’s house. Is that a good thing? Absolutely not. But how many white women are in a shopping mall and they don’t have their child’s hand and the child wanders off, and no one calls child welfare, no one calls the police about it? That’s because there is a loud but silent narrative that says that mom is a good mom, something just went wrong in this one moment, but she’s more than capable of taking care of this child.

But if a black woman was in this same mall, and this same thing happened, someone would say, ‘She doesn’t know how to take care of her kids,’ and the outcome would be completely different.

What are some of the collateral consequences of being investigated by child welfare services?

You live with the trauma of the investigation and fear of removal. And that investigation changes the way a child sees her parents. Now you have to see your mom having to be nice to the people surveilling her and hold her head down, to not speak with a tone of frustration, not challenge.

If your case is founded—even if your children are not placed in foster care–it limits your employment.  Until your youngest child is 28, you can’t work with children. You can’t be a school crossing guard. You can’t be a cafeteria worker. These are minimum-paying jobs because a lot of people in the communities that are affected by child welfare don’t have degrees. They can only obtain minimal paying jobs and now many of these jobs are out of reach for them as well because of this case. So that removes many options to support your family and that puts your family at higher risk for recidivism.

When you have a mother who has a child who is in foster care or has been adopted, if she has another child, that child is at a greater risk of removal simply because her name is in the State Central Registry.

More generally, living with constant scrutiny prevents children from flourishing and reaching their full potential and causes many parents of color to raise their children out of fear not out of love. They love their children, but they know that to parent out of love is a luxury. That luxury means I can provide you room to make a mistake and we can rebound from that mistake. But that’s not true in families of color. One mistake can cost us everything so we condition our children to be afraid of the world.

Parents get conditioned to be afraid of the world, too. This must end. To err is human, so if the government leaves only PERFECT parents alone it is free to investigate us all. Read the rest here:

http://www.centernyc.org/its-a-pivotal-time-in-child-welfare/

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A family highlighted in the New York Times article on how easy it is for caseworkers to insert themselves into decent, but poor, families.  Photo by Kevin Hagen.

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57 Responses to How Easy It Is to Have Your Children Taken Away for Trivial Reasons, Part 2

  1. PR Allen July 28, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    This is all very well…but if parenting is so normal or satisfactory in these communities why do young black men, teens and younger sometime, commit such a high and disproprtionate percentage of crimes, with 80 percent of homicides and 70 percent of crime committed by African Americans, mostly young men and teen boys, and why are black moms always so astounded when their young teen son is arrested for shooting someone at 3 a.m. in connection with some drug lashup (at 3 a.m. most parents know, or used to know, where their child is, and it’s home since early evening usually), and why are 80 percent of homicides black perp and black victim? The incarceration narrative, and alleged systemic police or other racism sound great, but aren’t factually true, especially the policing aspect — the chances of a black person being shot by police are minuscule compared to the chance he or she will be gunned down by another black person, usually a youth or young adult. Why do black communities refuse to identify murderers when the know who “did it”. I dislike state interference in the lives of citizens, and the cases cited are silly and egregious, but somebody must be responsible for the results we see of the “upbringings” too many black and minority kids experience. Thank you.

  2. James Pollock July 28, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    “That’s because there is a loud but silent narrative that says that mom is a good mom, something just went wrong in this one moment, but she’s more than capable of taking care of this child.”

    The key question for most CPS neglect investigations isn’t “did this event happen?/Did this person do it?” (as it is for criminal investigation) What is the focus is the question “is this likely to keep happening?” The fewer resources available to the parent(s), the more likely the answer is yes. This is why single parents, and poor parents, are less likely to have positive experiences with CPS… they don’t have the resources to make changes sought by caseworkers, even if they have the desire.

    I have the same question here as before: Is the system biased against minorities, or is it biased against poor people, and minorities are disproportionately poor? (Of course, both may well be true)

  3. Andrew July 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    At least the government is not busy using school vouchers to create parallel “separate but equal” taxpayer-funded school systems. Oh.

  4. Crazy Cat Lady July 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    This is not new findings. In 2011, NPR did a study of North Dakota foster care system. They found the following very sad statistics.

    · Each year, South Dakota removes an average of 700 Native children from their homes. Indian children are less than 15 percent of the population, but make up more than half the children in foster care. In South Dakota, Native children are removed from their homes in at almost three times the rate of other states.

    · In 1978 Congress passed The Indian Child Welfare Act that says Native-American children must be placed with their family members, relatives, their tribes or at the very least other Native Americans – if they have to be removed from their parents. However, nationally, Native children are more than twice as likely to be sent to foster care as children of other races, even in similar circumstances.

    · Despite this federal law, in South Dakota, nearly 90 percent of Native-American children sent to foster care are placed in non-Native homes or group care.

    · A South Dakota Department of Social Services worker tells Sullivan the state does its best to place Native kids with relatives or in Native foster homes, but they’ve only got a few and they don’t have room, and sometimes safety is a consideration. A care provider on the Crow Creek Sioux reservation, however, tells NPR that she’s been licensed since 2005 and her home has been empty for six years. Another care provider on the same reservation who’s been a foster parent for over a year echoes this, saying she’s never been called to take in any kids. In that year, hundreds of Native children in South Dakota were placed in white foster homes. Another reservation, Pine Ridge, says they’ve got 20 empty homes.

    · Less than 12 percent of Native children in South Dakota foster care had been physically or sexually abused in their homes, below the national average. The state says the parents have “neglected” their children, a subjective term. Tribe leaders tell NPR what social workers call neglect is often poverty. And sometimes Native tradition.

    · A close review of South Dakota’s budget shows that because the state is poor, it receives a large amount of federal money – almost a hundred million dollars a year – to subsidize its foster care program.

    · Last year the federal government reimbursed the state for almost three quarters of its foster care expenses. A review by NPR shows this is common in a lot of states that have high numbers of Native kids in foster care.

    · States receive additional money if they move children out of foster care and into adoption – about $4,000 a child. But for a child with special needs, states can receive as much as $12,000. NPR reports that a decade ago, South Dakota designated all Native-American children as special needs children. In 10 years, this adoption program has brought South Dakota almost a million dollars in federal funds.

    http://www.npr.org/about/press/2011/102511.NativeFosterCare.html

  5. Crazy Cat Lady July 28, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    Wish I could edit…South Dakata, not North.

  6. #Insitutionalracism July 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Dear PR Allen

    You’re woefully ignorant, shockingly obtuse, or a racist asshole.
    You choose.

  7. Donna July 28, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    “alleged systemic police or other racism sound great, but aren’t factually true, especially the policing aspect — the chances of a black person being shot by police are minuscule compared to the chance he or she will be gunned down by another black person”

    That is 100% irrelevant and a racist argument. The proper comparison would be the chances of a black person being shot by a cop versus the chances of a similarly situated white person being shot by a cop. Under your theory, the fact that more black people died of heart attacks than lynchings in the 50s means that there was no racism then either.

  8. Reziac July 28, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    All very well to say, but if black parenting were held to the same standard as white parenting — black children wouldn’t have an illegitimacy rate approaching 80%, nor an infant mortality rate 2 to 3 times higher than that for everyone else (and that’s across the board, even in states with basically zero poverty… let’s not blame that old canard again):

    http://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/infant-mortality-rate-by-race-ethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel={%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22}

  9. Jessica July 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    Reziac
    What states have “basically zero poverty”? I wanna move there.

  10. James Pollock July 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    “All very well to say, but if black parenting were held to the same standard as white parenting — black children wouldn’t have an illegitimacy rate approaching 80%”

    Huh? What does the one have to do with the other?

    (BTW, are we arguing that Scandinavia is made up of black people? http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-end-of-marriage-in-scandinavia/article/4891 There’s a LOT of blonde, blue-eyed babies born out-of-wedlock.)

    “nor an infant mortality rate 2 to 3 times higher than that for everyone else”
    Hmmm. Is bad parenting the chief cause of infant mortality? No, at least not according to the CDC.
    https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/infantmortality.htm

    “states with basically zero poverty…”
    Imaginary ones?

  11. Theresa Hall July 28, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    It would help in cases where there might be abuse if they checked first for diseases that mimic abuse. Like brittle bone and EDS and rickets. Those ones can on the surface look like abuse but if you never look past the surface you can’t be sure. Crying abuse is easy looking for proof is hard work but worth it.

  12. aebhel July 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    My goodness, what a bunch of racist twits rearing their heads on this post. I suppose we’re all for free-range parenting as long as it’s upper middle-class white people doing the parenting, right?

    @PR Allen, I’d love to see your sources for your assertion that there’s no such thing as systemic or police racism, or that if there is it doesn’t have any meaningful impact on crime rates in a given population–it’s not clear which you’re arguing here.

    @Reziac, how is the marital status of a child’s parents an indication of the quality of their parenting?

  13. AmyP July 28, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    @Rezniac I’m really confused by your comments. The article is about CPS investigating/removing children at a higher rate from minority families. What standards are you talking about? Your standards? It is neither illegal nor a reason to a cause for CPS to get involved because a child is born out of wedlock. and infant mortality rate? That has more to do with poverty than “standards.” Unless you’re somehow saying the infants are being starved or beaten to death at a higher rate (a ridiculous statement).

  14. John B. July 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Quote: “Dear PR Allen

    You’re woefully ignorant, shockingly obtuse, or a racist asshole.
    You choose.”

    @#Insitutionalracism:

    Allow me to choose for him:

    NONE OF THE ABOVE

    There was absolutely NOTHING in PR Allen’s post that said anything derogatory against African-Americans. He (or she) was merely stating some grim statistics shadowing the African-American community. If you feel he is in error, please feel free to correct him in a mature, dignified manner by citing data countering the percentages he is citing; however, I highly doubt that he’s pulling those percentages out of his hat. If you honestly believe that the black on black homicide rate is not on the high side, you’re living on another planet.

    Additionally, if all you can do is throw a temper tantrum and cry racism, bigotry, ignorance and asshole when you’re shown the data, quite frankly you’re an immature imbecile who has lots of growing up to do.

  15. Dienne July 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    John B. – I like how you call for maturity and dignity, then throw around your own insults.

    In any case, bringing up black-on-black violence *is* racist when the topic is the over policing over controlling of minority communities, as Donna points out. Bringing up black-on-black violence is just a nice way for whites to let themselves off the hook for 200 years of slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, the KKK, discrimination, voter suppression and every other form of racism in our country’s past and present by turning it against blacks themselves: “see, if you weren’t so violent, we wouldn’t have to treat you like this.”

  16. Workshop July 28, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    I find it unfortunate the author tries to see a political angle to this situation, as there isn’t one. Child welfare organizations work as part of a bureaucracy within government. This situation pits bureaucrats against individuals. While bureaucrats tend towards one political party (the one that likes having more government), there are plenty of proponents of more government who belong to the other one, especially when “For the Children” can be invoked.

    That is the problem with throwing political solutions into this. What may be seen as “inherent racism” is really a systemic problem, and could very easily capture poor white families just as easily. A systemic solution relies not on the political whims of whomever is in office, but rather sets up a neutral (and hopefully more unbiased) process.

    Several of the author’s solutions are appropriate, but the political slant is going to bring damage to a good cause.

  17. Paul July 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    Agreed with John B. Not that I necessarily agree with all of the points made by PR Allen, but the casual dismissal of his comments as “racism” shows indeed the shallow thinking of some, as well an inability to deal with unpleasant facts.

  18. Dienne July 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    I think it’s kind of funny when people pretend that child welfare isn’t inherently political.

    I think what you’re trying to say is that it’s unfortunate that the author brought in the racial aspect, which may or may not be a valid point. As James P. asked, is the system biased against minorities, or is it biased against poor people and minorities happen to make up a large percentage of poor people? I guess we’d need to see some research comparing CPS intake rates and outcomes for poor whites vs. poor minorities and affluent whites vs. affluent minorities to be able to answer that question. My guess would be that race does play a role. Socioeconomic status aside, there are cultural differences in how people raise their children which, to the whites who control the system, may seem like abuse.

  19. AmyP July 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    @JohnB I think you’re missing the point. I don’t know whether those statistics are true or not, but that’s not the racist part of the statement. It is racist because he is blaming those statistics squarely on parenting and ignoring all the other factors. Institutional racism is real and leads to less access to quality education, poverty, higher sentencing rates for petty crimes, etc. all of those contribute to high crime rate. Of course this is speculation, but one could argue that ripping children away from their parents for lesser “offenses” contributes to this as well. As for not reporting to police, well that’s for a variety of reasons (among all races), but some of it can be contributed to mistrust of the police. And if you think that mistrust came from nowhere, well you’re just choosing to not see the things you don’t want to see.

  20. hineata July 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    @Reziac – I am what you in America would term a Fundamentalist Christian, and even I can see that illegitamacy is of zero consequence here. This is about how babies and families are treated once the baby is out, not ‘what side of the blanket’ the baby was born on.

    As an aside, I am sure you learned people (and I am not being sarcastic) have heard of the fact that it is almost impossible for the dominant group in any society to recognize that they see things through their own cultural lense. In other words, they assume that what they do is how things should be done. I was at an education conference in Sydney last week, and a lovely blonde teacher from Texas was carefully pointing out to a young (also white) man that colour wasn’t a problem at her school, that they look at all students as individuals, no matter what their race. Lovely woman, but well, duh?

    If the bulk of your social workers are white, your minority cultural groups will continue to have problems. As to incarceration, we have a similar issue down here with Maori incarcerated at a higher rate than non-Maori for similar crimes.

    Crazy Cat Lady, that’s just horrific. And so the cycle goes on, and in twenty years time there will be more whining about the state of the Natives, and how they commit more crime etc.

  21. pentamom July 28, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    “States with basically zero poverty” — what?

  22. pentamom July 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    I wouldn’t “casually” dismiss Allen’s comments as racism, but when s/he goes straight to, “Well, they DO ruin their kids” as a response to what’s described here, it’s not necessarily casual dismissal to see a racist influence. It’s a live possibility.

  23. pentamom July 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

    John B. — the problem is that all of those valid and correct statistics are irrelevant to the issue of whether black people are generally treated differently from white people in comparable situations of minor parenting fails. Dragging all that stuff out in this context has a strong whiff of, “Well, what do those people expect? They can’t be trusted to bring up their kids properly after all.”

  24. Donna July 28, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

    “Is the system biased against minorities, or is it biased against poor people, and minorities are disproportionately poor?”

    In my experience, both. There are different levels of bias going on in this situation.

    The first is simply life bias. The American lifestyle (western lifestyle really) is biased against the poor. So many of the issues we deal with in CPS cases would not happen or could be better managed with more means. And poverty tends to be multi-generational, so poor people have fewer extended resources to tap. And people who don’t live in poverty have a real hard time understanding how difficult it is to take care of things when you are poor. As a result, there is a belief that they are willfully failing to act. This bias crosses racial lines. Poverty is poverty and managing life when you are poor is no easier for white poor than minority poor.

    Then there is confirmation bias. This is essentially interpreting actions to conform with your own stereotypes. There are basic stereotypes of poor people that would cross racial lines. There are also stereotypes against various minority groups that would not cross racial lines. For example, many people believe like PR Allen that black people are violent. As such, an action that is viewed as benign when done by a white person may be viewed as aggressive when done by a black person. In general, people go through life completely unaware of their own confirmation biases so it never occurs to them that they are being biased at all.

    There are also cultural biases. White european, protestant christian, middle class is the prevailing cultural norm in the US. It is the bar against which all behavior is measured. Society tends to view negatively those who act outside that cultural norm. While anyone acting outside the cultural norm can run afoul of this bias, minorities tend to do so more often.

  25. Sandra Smith July 28, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    Isn’t it strange, then, that generations of wealthy white southerners were brought up by black women, and that the modern upper-middle to wealthy are paying Latina and Filipina women to raise their kids?

  26. Beth2 July 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

    Yikes, it must be a full moon or something. Several of my favorite blogs have lots of cringeworthy posts this week. In response to the first comment, I would say that constantly being yanked out of one’s home for months at a time and shoved in and out of foster care for trivial reasons certainly can’t help black kids get the “upbringing” you think they should. If you really think “somebody must be responsible for the results we’re seeing,” why wouldn’t the “somebody” be the state institutions that actually end up “raising” many of the kids you’re talking about, as opposed to the parents who were deprived the chance to do so?

  27. Dingbat July 28, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

    @Donna

    Just because you brought it up and I remember coming across this article

    http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/21/police-kill-more-whites-than-blacks-but-minority-d/

    ——————————-
    From the article…

    As researchers are quick to point out, FBI data on police shootings by race is notoriously incomplete, which may explain why Peter Moskos, assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, decided to use figures from the website Killed by Police.

    Based on that data, Mr. Moskos reported that roughly 49 percent of those killed by officers from May 2013 to April 2015 were white, while 30 percent were black. He also found that 19 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Asian and other races.

    His results, posted last week on his blog Cop in the Hood, arrived with several caveats, notably that 25 percent of the website’s data, which is drawn largely from news reports, failed to show the race of the person killed.

    Killed by Police lists every death, justified or not, including those in which the officer had been wounded or acted in self-defense.

    “The data doesn’t indicate which shootings are justified (the vast majority) and which are cold-blooded murder (not many, but some). And maybe that would vary by race. I don’t know, but I doubt it,” Mr. Moskos said on his blog.

    Adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown of the U.S. population, he said black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. But also adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown in violent crime, the data actually show that police are less likely to kill black suspects than white ones.

    “If one adjusts for the racial disparity in the homicide rate or the rate at which police are feloniously killed, whites are actually more likely to be killed by police than blacks,” said Mr. Moskos, a former Baltimore cop and author of the book “Cop in the Hood.”

    “Adjusted for the homicide rate, whites are 1.7 times more likely than blacks die at the hands of police,” he said. “Adjusted for the racial disparity at which police are feloniously killed, whites are 1.3 times more likely than blacks to die at the hands of police.”

    Despite the recent flood of media coverage involving police shootings, Mr. Moskos advised his readers to “keep all this morbidity in perspective,” reminding them that very few people, white or black, will ever be shot or killed by police.

    “The odds that any given black man will shoot and kill a police officer in any given year is slim to none, about one in a million. The odds for any given white man? One in four million,” he said. “The odds that a black man will be shot and killed by a police officer is about 1 in 60,000. For a white man those odds are 1 in 200,000.”
    ——————————————-

    ^^^ I do not think this article discussing data and reminding people to keep morbidity in perspective is racist. It’s the same thing Lenore does in relation to child abduction and trafficking, and there are those out there who believe there are rings of pedo’s abducting children who will accuse you of being one of them, or trying to cover it up, if you discuss and bring up stats like 105 people, out of 320 million/78 million 18 and under, are abducted by strangers each year. Same thing with the rape/harassment hysteria on college campuses. When you start looking at the breakdown of surveys used to gather the 1 in 4 stats (which claim campuses are more dangerous than war torn areas where rape is used as a weapon and people are not punished) you find the number one type of harassment listed on campuses is someone looking at you. That’s it. Just like those crazy mama’s claiming men were about to abduct and sex traffic their toddlers from IKEA because they looked at them. You get accused of numerous things when you bring this up as well.

    Of course this is not me saying are are no issues with racism, rape, crimes against children, etc. It’s just discussing actual stats as opposed to feelings, narratives, ideology and hysteria.

    I think we are at a total of 5 or 600 and some police shootings this year. They expect it to be close to the 2016 figure which was 963. Again out of a country of 320 million people, and many guns.

    They discussed high crime areas in the article and Chicago is a prime example of this. There have been 300 and some shootings so far, most gang related including many innocent people caught in the cross fire. They expect Chicago, one state, to reach over 700 homicides again this year. It has more than NY which I think has a population of what… is it 8 million? Maybe more.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-violence-first-six-months-met-20170630-story,amp.html

    Now, in not saying that has anything to do with this story because this crap is happening to too many people all over, and there are multiple factors.

  28. Dingbat July 28, 2017 at 11:42 pm #

    That should be one city in a state to reach 700.

  29. JTW July 29, 2017 at 12:01 am #

    BS article, trying to paint the overly intrusive and exhaustive scrutiny of parents and taking their children away on the slightest whim as being inherently racist.

    It targets everyone equally, there’s just more blacks and hispanics who are single mothers. Don’t blame the policy for having a greater effect on them due to their different lifestyles.

  30. Donna July 29, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    “The data doesn’t indicate which shootings are justified (the vast majority) and which are cold-blooded murder (not many, but some).”

    Which would be the important data. Nobody is arguing that it is racist to shoot someone who is shooting at you just because that person happens to be black. It is unjustified or very marginally justified killings that are at issue.
    And you’d have to be able to generate this determination with no confirmation bias which is a HUGE problem since you are dealing with the confirmation bias that criminals=bad and cops=good. And it would have to be generated by some entity other than a law enforcement organization.

    Further, none of that data considers use of force that does not result in death, which is the vast majority of uses of force by the police.

    I am not saying that police are acting racially. I am saying that information being used to determine that they are not is very racially impacted.

  31. Kenny Felder July 29, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    “In The New York Times story, a child wandered out of the house across the street to a place that was familiar to her, her grandmother’s house. Is that a good thing? Absolutely not. But…”

    Pfah. The person whose side we’re theoretically on is arguing exactly the point that we’re arguing against.

  32. AmyP July 29, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    “theres just more blacks and Hispanics who are single mothers.”

    And what does that have to do with anything? That in itself is not a reason to target somebody. I’m not black. I am a widow and therefore a single mother. Nobody’s reporting me for parenting failures, nor should they. Unless you’re saying people are default bad parents if there’s not a second parent around, then that arguments not relevant.

    “Don’t blame the policy for having a greater effect on them due to their different lifestyles.”

    That’s kind of the point of the article. By “different” lifestyles do you mean not white, middle class, and Christian? Outside of gross neglect and abuse, a persons lifestyle is not CPSs concern.

  33. pentamom July 29, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    Kenny Felder, I don’t know how many people here would say that a five year old wandering out of the house without her mother’s knowledge is a good thing. That wasn’t a free Range moment, that was mom losing track of a very young child moment.

  34. Paul July 29, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    “And what does that have to do with anything? That in itself is not a reason to target somebody. ”

    This is a vast overreaction. I think the point is that because minorities are disproportionately likely to be single mothers, they are therefore disproportionately likely to have these unfortunate interactions with CPS. It is not a suggestion that it is appropriate to target them.

    “Unless you’re saying people are default bad parents if there’s not a second parent around, then that arguments not relevant.”

    Again, I don’t interpret this as an argument for stricter scrutiny, but merely an explanation of why such parents undergo these experiences.

    “By “different” lifestyles do you mean not white, middle class, and Christian? ”

    It occurs to me this thread would be a bit less noisy if people addressed arguments actually made instead running to the assumption that the person they’re interacting with came straight from Stormfront.

  35. James Pollock July 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    “Which would be the important data. Nobody is arguing that it is racist to shoot someone who is shooting at you just because that person happens to be black.”

    A shooting can be racist and justified at the same time. We label a LOT of police shootings as “justified”, but it’s still a problem if the police hold fire for white guys, but open fire for black guys, in similar circumstances which “justify” use of force.

    “And what does that have to do with anything? That in itself is not a reason to target somebody. I’m not black. I am a widow and therefore a single mother.”

    Single parents are more likely to be neglectful than 2-parent families, because there’s only half as many adults to be vigilant. If you have two parents, they can “cover” each other. Single-parent families are also likely to be less affluent, and thus less able to pay for childcare, or to find themselves in a choice where they have to choose between their job and their child. I was fortunate, I had a job I could leave if my child was sick. I could take time off to go to parent-teacher conferences. I could afford daycare for school holidays that weren’t work holidays.
    It isn’t that single parenthood = bad parenting; it’s that single-parenting = fewer resources, and fewer resources can = bad parenting. If you have wealth, you can have choices, and the more choices you have, the more likely it is that there’s a good choice among them. If you don’t have wealth, you have fewer choices, and sometimes, none of the choices that are available are very good. .

    “I don’t know how many people here would say that a five year old wandering out of the house without her mother’s knowledge is a good thing.”

    I could make an argument for it. I could make a stronger argument that, while it might not be a good thing, it isn’t a bad thing, either. To me, FRK is about allowing children to expand their capabilities, and taking on challenges that they’re capable of.

  36. JTW July 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    “By “different” lifestyles do you mean not white, middle class, and Christian? ”

    No, I mean a greater (far greater) incidence of single mother households, getting children outside of marriage, guys getting a dozen children with different women in a year and taking no responsibility for any of them.

  37. Donna July 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    “A shooting can be racist and justified at the same time. We label a LOT of police shootings as “justified”, but it’s still a problem if the police hold fire for white guys, but open fire for black guys, in similar circumstances which “justify” use of force.”

    Then the problem is that society is defining too many police shootings as justified when, in fact, a shooting was not justified in that situation. If the police can actually consider the color of someone’s skin and use that to determine whether or not to shoot that person, then the shooting was per se not justified.

  38. AmyP July 29, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    And again that lifestyle choice is not one that has anything to do with investigating and taking children away from loving parents.

  39. Theresa Hall July 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    Pentamom that child was suppose to be in bed fast asleep. Mom is suppose to watch the kid 24 /7 do you think? never take 5 minutes for herself? Plus little kids pull disappearing acts like this till they grow up and out of it. I pull one when I was little and I bet if you asked your parents if you ever disappear on them they would probably say yes.

  40. pentamom July 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Theresa Hall — I said it wasn’t a good situation. It was a mistake. It wasn’t a crime, nor even a huge, terrible failure.

    But it wasn’t something “good,” which is all the quote in question said. It was something the Mom didn’t want to have happen, and most of us wouldn’t want to have happen.

  41. James Pollock July 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    “Then the problem is that society is defining too many police shootings as justified when, in fact, a shooting was not justified in that situation. If the police can actually consider the color of someone’s skin and use that to determine whether or not to shoot that person, then the shooting was per se not justified.”

    I’ll leave aside the question of whether society in general considers too many police shootings as “justified”, and instead remain with MY point, which is that there is a substantial range of discretion between “I CAN take this shot” and “I MUST take this shot”. Need evidence? The many incidents wherein several cops are on the scene, and one or some of them open fire, and one or some of them hold fire.

    Consider the hypothetical: Officers A and B pursue suspect S in a stolen car. S turns runs into traffic and abandons the car. A and B pursue on foot, eventually cornering S in a fenced lot. A and B are catching up to S, ordering S to halt and surrender. S turns. A sees a gun and believes it is about to be fired at B. B does not see the gun. A fires twice at S, hitting him both times.
    As narrated above, this is a justified shooting.
    Now, let’s introduce some variations, because that’s always fun.
    1) It turns out that the gun A saw was either A) not a gun, or B) really a gun, but a BB gun, or C) S was attempting to throw the gun away, not point it at B, when officer A fired. (None of these makes the shooting unjustified)

    2) Suspect S was a scary-looking black man… hoodie, prison tats, the stereotype Hollywood gang member. Not only that, but A recognizes S as notorious wanted gang member S as he draws his weapon. He knows that notorious wanted gang member S has stated, on multiple occasions, that he expects and intends to die in a shootout with police. A shoots him as he is aiming his weapon at B. But wait. You say this is unjustified because officer A had time to note the color of S’s skin.

    3) In this one, Suspect S is not hardened criminal S, but scared first-time criminal S. S flees the stolen car, but this time, he runs into a building and, in desperation, takes a hostage. He holds the hostage at gunpoint while the hostage negotiator is summoned. Meanwhile, officer C, unbeknownst to all of our earlier players, is behind S and the hostage. Officer C is the most unredeemed, unrepentant racist in the history of policing. Officer C makes Bull Connor look like a raging liberal. He’s just tired of these thugs making victims out of the law-abiding public. After fifteen minutes of tense waiting for Lieutenant Negotiator and the hostage team to show up, officer C decides he’s had enough, so he takes aim, and shoots S cleanly in the head, ending the hostage crisis. Justified shooting (says me), because don’t take hostages. “Justified” doesn’t mean “the best choice was taken”, it means “the choice that was taken was supported by the information available to the officer at the time.”)

    I am 100% certain that there ARE unjustified shootings of black men by racists, cops and others both. I also believe that there are unjustified shootings caused by adrenaline, by bad training, by low hiring standards, and by poor oversight. I also think there’s a feedback loop that limits the ability to bring justice for cops who make unjustified shootings (The list: other cops work with the shooter, don’t know the victim; even if the other cops thing the shooting was wrong, they might think “if it were me, I’d want the other cops to back me up even though I was wrong” (aka “the thin blue line”); prosecutors work with the police on a daily basis, and that working relationship might be damaged by successfully prosecuting or even charging the cop who shot someone without justification; the prosecutor also knows how rarely the jury convicts cops in unjustified-shooting cases, and the prosecutor likes to win cases (and job security is tied to winning cases, too); finally, the public that juries are drawn from tend to support the police because of an over-stated case of how dangerous the job is and the fact that the cops go deal with situations that ordinary citizens would really prefer not to.) All of these things sabotage the cases of cops who shoot without justification, whether racist or not. Plus, of course, sometimes the jury is racist, too (hopefully, less frequently now than it used to be. Alas, there are still people who believe God loves them best because he made them better able to create vitamin D at high latitudes.

  42. Jon July 29, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    You people and your racist “facts” and “statistics” need to get back to Stormfront. Shame on you for letting science and reason get in the way of the SJW narrative, you cis-het evil white males.

    Listen to the true luminaries like Dienne, ‘it’s only child abuse to our culture’… like if someone beats their child we should say ‘well, it’s their culture and we should respect it’. Because slavery.

  43. JTW July 30, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    Amy “And again that lifestyle choice is not one that has anything to do with investigating and taking children away from loving parents.”

    It does because that lifestyle choice is more likely to lead to situations where the parent (not parents…) can’t take care of their brood.
    It’s also a choice that more often than not shows a lack of responsibility on the part of the parent(s) involved, which often translates into poor parenting choices.

    As such it’s more likely to lead to a situation where children are taken into custody than a traditional family, whether you like it or not.

    The skin colour of the single mother has nothing to do with it, it’s just that the phenomenon is more common among some demographics than others, and those tend to be blacks and hispanics.

  44. James Pollock July 30, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

    “The skin colour of the single mother has nothing to do with it”

    You may or may not be racist, but you’re DEFINITELY sexist.
    Single parents aren’t all women.

  45. John B. July 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    @pentamom:

    P.R. Allen was drawing a correlation between the upbringing of kids in the African-American community and the grim black on black homicide rate as well as other crimes within the African-American community. I think he was referring to the free range atmosphere among African-American children as well as mistakes and errors in judgment an African-American parent(s) might make (Like ANY parent would).

    Actually I’m with you as I also disagree with him on that point. Given the elevated crime rate within the African-American community, particularly in Chicago, I can understand why P.R. Allen might have that observation but I do not believe there is any correlation. It is my belief there are different factors involved, possibly the deterioration of the family unit within the black community, poverty and perhaps some cultural quirks among some African-American teens from bad neighborhoods.

    Now just because P.R. Allen believes there might be a correlation between the way African-Americans traditionally parent their children and the grim crime statistics within their community DOES NOT MAKE HIM A RACIST! It is merely his theory and observation and I was merely responding to “#Insitutionalracism’s” immature rant calling him “racist, asshole, ignorant” and you name it. That kind of reaction does not advance the conversation and no AmyP, I’m not missing the point. Anyone who launches the “racist” tirade when somebody puts forth a plausible theory with valid statistics has lots of growing up to do!

    But with all that said, the free range atmosphere among kids within the black community today is very similar to how it was within the white community > 40 years ago and we turned out just fine! So there is no reason to believe that a black parent who allows her 10-year-old son to play outside unhindered until the street lights come on leads to a high homicide rate. Like I say there are other factors involved. It is certainly no excuse for authorities to arrest and prosecute a black or Hispanic parent when they would not do the same to a white or Asian parent for parenting the exact same way! Parents of minority children are no different than parents of Caucasian children. They also make mistakes and should not be picked on for doing so.

  46. James Pollock July 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    “P.R. Allen was drawing a correlation between the upbringing of kids in the African-American community and the grim black on black homicide rate as well as other crimes within the African-American community.”
    Right. Here’s the problem with that. There are MILLIONS of black kids. THOUSANDS of them grow up to be murderers. Therefore, the correlation is that most black kids DO NOT grow up to be murderers.

    “Now just because P.R. Allen believes there might be a correlation between the way African-Americans traditionally parent their children and the grim crime statistics within their community DOES NOT MAKE HIM A RACIST!”
    It’s a valid first approximation. Not certain, but strongly suggested.

    ” Anyone who launches the “racist” tirade when somebody puts forth a plausible theory with valid statistics has lots of growing up to do!”
    And if the theory is neither plausible, nor backed by valid statistics, but is racist, then suggesting that the person putting it forth is, in fact, racist is entirely reasonable.

  47. Mads July 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    I have seen these cases before when I was actively employed. Semi retired now. ACS is the hammer and everyone else is the nail.

    Yes, those families with more income can fight it but often, they don’t know how to as they assume they are innocent before proven guilty.

    But, from my experience, an ACS investigation deems all guilty. My opinion.

    Thank God for the Bronx Defenders and the Brooklyn Defenders who have taken on these cases to ensure that fit parents should never undergo this Stasi investigation.

    If any of you out there are currently under the radar of ACS or another Child Protection Agency, my strongest advice is to get legal help now

  48. pentamom July 31, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I didn’t say drawing a correlation made him a racist. What I meant to say was that justifying breaking up families over minor parenting mistakes of the sort that aren’t considered to create murderers when white people do it, smacks of racism.

    So again, it’s one thing to surmise that an overall poorer standard of parenting among a group of people may contribute to overall worse outcomes for those people. It’s completely another to justify a higher rate of abusive actions by child welfare people because “those people” just mess up their kids anyway.

    If you can find a causative link, or even a strong correlation, between stuff like turning your back for a moment to engage in legitimate behavior and having your kid slip out of view, and the murder rate in a community, there could be a case to be made. But to me it sounded a lot more like, “We have to treat these people like they have no basic rights to parent if they make the smallest screwup, but white people get some slack because we don’t have to worry about their kids as much.”

  49. pentamom July 31, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    “They also make mistakes and should not be picked on for doing so.”

    As you say. But then you don’t see anything racist in justifying picking on them on the basis that their kids overall turn out worse, which is where that was going.

    Maybe he’s not a racist, just a poor thinker. I won’t accuse any person of being this or that. But it can be a racist line of thought, and we shouldn’t be afraid to point that out.

  50. John B. August 1, 2017 at 1:09 am #

    “And if the theory is neither plausible, nor backed by valid statistics, but is racist, then suggesting that the person putting it forth is, in fact, racist is entirely reasonable.”

    I don’t agree because the connection PR Allen makes between the way African-Americans are brought up and the high crime rate within the black community is indeed plausible BUT I don’t believe there is a valid connection in this case. Any time a person commits murder or grand theft or some other horrendous crime, people naturally think the person had a bad bringing up and in many cases that’s true. That’s why it is plausible to draw a correlation and I think it’s a huge stretch to suggest a person is racist for doing so. But, of course, in some instances, bad kids can come from good parents and good kids have come from bad parents. I just don’t believe the free range atmosphere among children in the African-American community is what is leading to the grim crime statistics within their neighborhoods and that’s where I differ with P.R. Primarily because white neighborhoods were just as free range 50 years ago and we turned out just fine. But again, the correlation he makes IS plausible but I don’t think it’s valid. Even with that said, he’s certainly not “racist” for making a correlation that in his judgment is valid.

  51. James Pollock August 1, 2017 at 3:12 am #

    “I don’t agree because the connection PR Allen makes between the way African-Americans are brought up and the high crime rate within the black community is indeed plausible”

    Back up. This is an unambiguously racist statement, because not all black people are brought up the same way, and not all black people turn into criminals. If a statement boils down to “all people of race X have quality Y”, it’s racist, and there’s two of those in PR Allen’s thesis… that all black people are raised the same, and that they all suffer from high crime.
    Now, it’s not always true that people who say racist things are, in fact, racist. Sometimes they’ve made a mistake, and what they’ve said isn’t what they actually meant to say. Sometimes they repeat something that isn’t true without knowing that it isn’t true. So, just because a person said something that is racist does not mean that they are racist. Now, generally, a person who is not a racist, informed that they’ve said something racist, will apologize and attempt to rephrase or apologize and retract the statement. Sometimes they’re embarrassed and will double down, because admitting you’re wrong is difficult (or so I’ve been told, never having experienced “being wrong” myself, of course.)
    Now, is it plausible? No, because the math doesn’t work. Thousands of black individuals will grow up to become murderers. Millions of others, however, will not. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that the way black people are raised produces people who are not murderers. Blaming the people who are not murderers for the people who are is just not productive. It makes just as much sense to blame white Chicagoans for all the Chicago gun violence. I mean, it’s all happening in Chicago, right? Obviously, the way Chicagoans are raised is creating murderers. You know what, most of the Chicago murderers drive American cars. Obviously, the way American-car-owners raise their kids is creating murderers. You know what? Most of those Chicago murderers wear gloves in the wintertime. Obviously, the way glove-wearers raise their kids is creating murderers…

    Get it now?
    There may well be a relationship between (the way criminals were raised) and (the fact that they turned out to be criminals.) There’s still a fallacy there… (not all future criminals were raised the same way, and some people who were raised the same way as people who turned out to be criminals didn’t turn out to be criminals)… but it’s not a racist fallacy, at least. And THIS claim is plausible, though certainly not concrete. But this claim is NOT the one that PR Allen made.

  52. John B. August 1, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    @James Pollock:

    The problem is, people on the liberal side, particularly the VERY liberal side, are so quick to throw around these strong terms, “racist, bigoted, sexist, intolerant, etc., etc.” to the point where they lose their meaning. I didn’t read ANYTHING racist in PR’s post and if anybody did, they’re reading into it. Plane and simple. Now if you want to meet a real, genuine racist you should meet the guy I met 2 weeks ago who constantly used the “N” and “J” word and would go out of his way to belittle African-American culture. I mean, it was nonstop! With idiots like this around, you’re just cheapening the terms that are meant to describe HIM,

  53. James Pollock August 2, 2017 at 12:24 am #

    “The problem is, people on the liberal side, particularly the VERY liberal side, are so quick to throw around these strong terms, “racist, bigoted, sexist, intolerant, etc., etc.” to the point where they lose their meaning.”

    Conversely, the problem is that people on the conservative side don’t like being called racist, but not enough to stop doing or saying racist things. The word has a simple meaning, although it covers a range of behaviors, from people who are flat-out white supremecists, to people who see everything as a liberal vs. conservative team-building exercise.

    ” I didn’t read ANYTHING racist in PR’s post and if anybody did, they’re reading into it. Plane and simple.”
    I pointed out the racism, and its unambiguously there. It’s not hard to see. So what are we to make of someone who states that it isn’t there?

    “With idiots like this around, you’re just cheapening the terms that are meant to describe HIM,”
    You’re trying to draw a line between people who say or do racist things, on purpose, on the one hand, and people who do or say racist things, while denying that they are racist, on the other. I’m sorry to have to tell you that they’re both racist.

    If a person does or says racist things, knowing full well that they are racist things to do or say, that person is a racist. We’re starting with agreement on that point, yes? Thing is, if a person does or says racist things, not knowing or caring that they are racist, they’re still racist things to do or say, and a person who does or says those racist things is racist, because what makes a person a racist is that they do or say racist things.

    You’re making the mistake of assuming that “racist” is a subjective term, and means “things of which I (and other “liberals”, I assume) disapprove of. Like it’s a value judgment. It’s not a value judgment. Something either is or is not racist. It’s not the “n-word” that makes something racist, something can be quite racist without using the “n-word”, and, although somewhat more rare, something WITH the n-word in it might not be racist.

    Now, from your lead in, I’m guessing that several people you disagree with on fundamental political concerns have taken time to point out racist things you, yourself, have done or said. That’s just a guess, drawn from the overall tone of your comment, and like all guesses, it might be wrong. That said, progressing as if it is true, that leads us to a conundrum. On the one hand, it may be that “liberals” do, in fact, challenge some things as “racist” which, on objective investigation, are not, in fact, racist. It is also possible, however, that those darn “liberals” keep pointing out something that IS there, and therefore your insistence that it isn’t there reflects your own denialist (darnit, another -ist word!) racism.
    Let me make clear.When (if) I accuse you of doing or saying something racist, it will be because you have done, or said, or supported, something that is or was racist. I am not making a value judgment about your worth as a human being. I’m not saying “That John B fellow, he’s a horrible human being, no better than that guy he was a couple of weeks ago who was all ‘N-word this!” and “J-word that!” That’s not what’s happening. If I’m accusing you of doing or saying something racist, I can point to exactly what you said was racist, and I can explain why it’s racist with specificity, and I’m not making it up.

    Now, if I HAVE accused you of doing or saying something racist, you have a choice to make. You can choose to determine, “that James P guy, what a liberal! Sees (and calls out) racism that isn’t even there! Ha ha ha, my team is so much better than those stupid liberals!” That COULD be your takeaway. Or, on the other hand, you can choose to determine “huh. Maybe the reason James P, and maybe even all those ‘liberals’ keep complaining about racism amongst my team is because people on my team actually DO keep choosing to say or do racist things, and denying that they are racist doesn’t make them not racist.” Then, (I’m being optimistic here), you can determine “racism is sloppy, lazy thinking, and should be opposed because it is sloppy, lazy thinking, regardless of whether the person who is saying or doing something racist is on my team, or their team, or no team at all.
    And, the same thing is true about those other complaints, too. “Bigoted” has a specific meaning, and that meaning isn’t “you expressed an opinion I disapprove of!” I can, and should, ignore people who use the word to mean “you expressed an opinion I disapprove of”, but perhaps people keep referring to the opinions I expressed as bigoted because they are, in fact and objectively, bigoted. Or intolerant. Or sexist. Or whatever.

    I’ll be honest… it’s not really my business which path you choose to follow. Dismiss my words completely, because I sound like another one of THEM, or use my words as genesis for a bit of self-examination and exploration. I hope you choose wisely, but I’ve done all I can do. The choice is up to you.

  54. Archimedes August 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    There are so many variables and complexity this isn’t an issue that will be solved on a blog. There are both racial and poverty related factors in play. It can be true that minority parenting decisions are scrutinized more heavily and that there is a backlash where objectively bad decisions are excused with the excuse of allowing for objectively bad decisions because in other cases judgement has been racist.

    The mother that allowed her daughter to go to the playground and was arrested? Almost certainly a racist component.

    Adrian Peterson beating his kid so he bled and had scars? There was a decent contingent claiming his being charged was racist as well. I think it’s pretty reasonable if a spanking is causing scars, it’s not just a cultural issue, despite Peterson seeming to honestly want to do his son well.

    It’s not inherently racist to point out there is an issue in black communities where there are less than ideal outcomes (Teenage pregnancy, crime). It’s racist to claim it’s something inherent. Racist components of the “War on Drugs” are a likely contributor. Racist hiring practices (Identical resumes with different outcomes depending only on the name).

    It’s a legitimate question as to what approach intervention takes. It seems, on average, the best outcome is kids are only removed for clear and imminent danger, and if the parents seem concerned about their child’s wellbeing, offer help, not punishment. Especially since it seems the foster system routinely has issues. But there’s always going to be a subjective line to be drawn.

  55. John B. August 2, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

    @James Pollock

    LOL….James buddy, goodness gracious, you wrote me a dissertation! My attention span drifted away at paragraph 64 so I’d suggest keeping the responses short and pithy. 😉 Are you retired?

  56. James Pollock August 3, 2017 at 12:18 am #

    ” My attention span drifted away[…]”

    Should have just skipped to the end, then:
    “I’ll be honest… it’s not really my business which path you choose to follow. Dismiss my words completely, because I sound like another one of THEM, or use my words as genesis for a bit of self-examination and exploration. I hope you choose wisely, but I’ve done all I can do. The choice is up to you.”