Changing How We Police Can Change Black Families

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There are a lot of people waking up this morning feeling stressed and somewhat disappointed. I am disappointed that we are still no closer to ending the rioting and disappointed that we are not seeing real movement for change within our government. We have to stop the assault on the black family.

Something has to be done about racism. Truth! It’s hard being a mother in America today. It’s even harder raising a child of color. I do not have any male children, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to have the talk with my girls about race.

Cops are not trusted even by people like myself who worked hand in hand with the law. Truth! My daughter went for a walk nearly a year ago in our neighborhood which resulted in a cop following her in his patrol car. She ran into a nearby store and talked to the store clerk until he went away. After she got home we had the talk. It felt uncomfortable to explain to her how she had to pretty much open herself up to all kinds of interrogations just because she was a minority. I had to caution her about arm movements, facial expressions and the reasons behind it. We have wanted to adopt a son, but for the life of me, I cannot bring myself to do it. I am scared, I am scared that I would lose him to a violence I cannot prevent. If our daughters aren’t safe, imagine the safety of a son. I do not live in a bad area, but I live in an area that seems to be skeptical of people who look like me. I look at people like Sandra Bullock and others who have adopted black sons and I am grateful and also a little jealous, if I am being honest. They can give them the protection they need from not only the streets, but from cops protecting the streets. The prayer is that one day America will be safe enough for me to raise a black son, but until we get real laws passed to protect our sons, I will be waiting.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

All Cops are the same. False! There are some good police officers and some bad ones just like doctors, teachers, and any other profession. The problem is that in some professions it only takes a few bad apples to cast a shadow over the majority. It sounds crazy, but it is true. The department often models the example that is cast down from the leader.

Everything can be changed right this instant. False! While there are some things that can be written down today, it might take weeks if not longer to get those policy changes on the books. One big obstacle is tracing the results of problematic departments. While a lot of organizations already have things on the books to help stop the stress on certain groups, some are not following with those protocols.

Police are the main hindrance in black lives. True! In someways it all leads back to the criminal records. When we talk about institutional racism it can be seen across the board in communities of color. You have issues in the schools, social work and the police department. Take CPS for example, there is a problem with disproportionately for removals of minority children.

Criminal Records Cause Lifetime Issues That Reduce Productivity. True! One of the problems I saw often when it came to people who looked like me was marijuana on their criminal record and other offenses that should not prevent people from having a life. We all know that marijuana offenses are now being lessened because it is now legal in many states, but you will never know how many people it has stopped from getting jobs, getting family members out of CPS and other issues that come up with gaining housing. Housing plays an enormous role on how a family is able to navigate through life. If you hinder someone’s ability to get employment due to misdemeanors, it reduces their chances of getting safe housing in some areas.

When it comes to placing a child inside a family, criminal history is one of the main things that holds black people back. I would spend hours trying to see if I could keep children inside the family due to the stress of foster care, but in many of my African American families, the criminal record would always come back to stop them. We are not talking about violent offenses or anything major. We are talking about things that you would not see in white families, because they were given second chances while black people were thrown in jail. If we are learning anything today, we are learning how black people are often reported more in both realms of reporting. Not only do black people get the cops called on them more often, but they also have CPS called more than other races in some areas. Keep in mind, around 15 percent of child abuse cases are real. That means the other 85 percent are bogus allegations and guess who gets a lot of those? What people do not understand is that those bogus allegations can still show up to cause concern to some would be employers. While they might have resulted in rule outs, they are still problematic. They show up on central registry reports which are used in the medical field or any field working with children, elderly or at risk populations.

So, things have to change! One day I want to bring my son home and say you are safe now. Until then, we will inform, and educate people on where we are and what it takes to move forward.


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