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.

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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.

Craving Normalcy During COVID-19

It’s so easy right now to let your guard down and pretend like things are normal. We see stores opening, people running to the beach and other things that resemble a country free of our current threat. We turn on the TV and our leaders are all chanting about getting back to normalcy and getting this economy back to a healthy state. However, privately they are talking about how we are still walking in the shadows of death.

It is enough to run a person mad. We are living in such a contradiction in regards to what happens next. This week I found out that the Taco Bell that we ordered food from within the past few weeks is now temporarily closed because a worker tested positive for COVID-19. Even if you try to be safe, there’s always the chance of the unknown slipping in. I think about the Ubereat’s drivers who have picked up from that eatery and other eateries. How do you contain something like a virus especially after the protective measures have been relaxed?

Then you hear the president talking about more death and of course our governor talking about how opening up will cause more causes of COVID-19 and you wonder what is life worth to those at the top? Are we only worth the amount of money we can bring in? One of our news stations is reporting that we now have a 911 center that is currently undergoing testing for COVID-19. Some of the workers have tested positive, will a large majority undergoing testing. https://www.tdtnews.com/news/central_texas_news/article_48dd8068-8b01-11ea-8228-8f1d7b96c4ec.html

Do you know how small our county is? Do you know how damaging it would be for any city within our county to come down with an outbreak of COVID-19 in their emergency response systems? When these politicians talk about the threat of hospitals being over run with COVID-19, they do not bring up other essential services like police departments, 911 control centers, or fire departments. Unless you are diligent in searching the events that take place in your areas, you will never get a real idea of what’s going on.

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I beg you to use daily Google checks for your areas, use the tool tab to narrow the search down to 24 hours. Do not leave it up to someone tainted by politics to dictate your movements in regards to safety. While we might be thirsting for getting back to normal, normal might never be the normal we used to know. We have to remain watchful, and make sure we are not in the number of people that will be causalities on this war on finance. Do what you must, but understand that you can be here today and quarantined tomorrow. Stay safe, and wash those hands.