When They See Us Showcases Major Obstacles That Still Exist.

I wish I could tell you that cases like the Central Park 5 no longer exist. I wish I could tell you that all investigations are done with fairness, but I won’t insult your intelligence today. The movie When They See Us is a painful reminder that not everyone with a badge or a title can be trusted to work for the betterment of their community.

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I’m sure if you have been following my blog, you know my story. I turned in my badge over a year ago after I saw railroading techniques being used to trap minorities. It takes a strong person to go against their livelihood. In my situation, I transferred from another region because I wanted to move my family to a smaller town. I thought a smaller town would offer better people and a better foundation for my girls.

After I got here, I immediately started seeing issues. I came from a big city and investigations there weren’t easy. I was nearly raped, threatened by a weapon, and was even surrounded by racist at one point. Yet, I loved my job and I could see the good in helping out my community. I had a supervisor who clearly looked out for her community, she cared about trying to help children, and she cared about helping their families learn to rehabilitate in difficult situations.

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I came here with background in removing children from parents using cocaine and meth. I also had the removals that resulted in removals from people who no longer wanted to be parents. After I got here, my very first case was a case involving an African American mother from another state. She had relatives here and a mother hours away. Not only did she have a mother hours away, the children had a father who was trying to see how he could get in route to pick up his children.

While I was trying to work with the family on finding a solution my supervisor was trying to push a removal on the mother due to her getting arrested. Keep in mind, there was an aunt living in the household and people who could have been here within hours. The policemen looked at me and asked me if I was really going to let that happen, and I reaffirmed them that I would do everything in my power to stop it.

After going back and forward with my boss I was able to get her to work with the family until we were able to get the father or grandmother headed in our direction. The thing about removals is that they often do not get overturned. They last for at least a year and children are forced to stay in foster care. So, if there is a family member, we were taught to do everything within our power to unite that child with their family, but in this unit they didn’t do that. Even after this case was ready for closure, and the female had her children back in another state my supervisor was trying to get the state to take action against the mom. The state politely let us know that the mother was doing good and to bud out at this point.

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I have always been very careful about removals due to the stress that it places on the children. I removed only when I needed to and questioned anything that looked fishy even when it wasn’t my removal. A few cases later I came across a female who had just gotten out of the hospital. She tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana is not something that we remove for in the state of Texas. People get a quitting marijuana packet due to it not being crack or meth.

When I gave her an oral swab her medications that she had been given at surgery showed up. Keep in mind she had just been released from the hospital and her urine didn’t have any traces of those drugs nor the baby’s prior to or while giving birth. I still went on and confirmed with the nurses as to the type of medication that this lady was given. My supervisor wanted me to remove once again due to her results coming back positive even though she knew she had just had a c-section.

She swore up and down that a positive meant she had used something. I told her to google the medication and see what positives would show up and she did, but she still didn’t want to believe me or the medical professionals. I informed her that I wouldn’t be doing a removal because this mother wasn’t doing anything that warranted a removal. I even gave her another drug test which came back negative two days later.

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I have always had issues with investigators who removed and placed kids into foster care without trying to locate family members. She and others stated that it took too long. The process could take hours, but it was still worth it if you could keep the family together and maintain safety. She talked about how she would talk only to PDs who would lean towards removals because she didn’t want to do family placements. Again this is killing the families, but she didn’t care. Once she joked about being the Removal Queen. All I could hear was I’m messed up so many families due to not wanting to put in extra time on family placements.

We already knew that in most cases that minorities were targeted by false calls. Did you know that only 15 percent of CPS cases are real abuse? That means that 85 percent are lies and anyone can call in on people. While we have had some cases that were real, we have had so many more that were nothing more than vendettas.

Here’s the cold hard truth about cases in the black community and Spanish communities. When people look to remove often times these families will not be able to get their children back. If they have any sort of record dealing from old cases, criminal cases or people in the house with any central registry case they will be voided out as a potential caregiver. There are so many minorities with charges on them due to possession of marijuana, criminal trespass or failure to identify. Then if that doesn’t get them there’s a case on them for being victims of domestic violence.

They changed the regulation on domestic violence about 1 yr or 2 yrs ago. Prior to that if you were involved in a domestic violence relationship and were a victim they could put a reason to believe on you. So, the victim would get victimized twice. In some states they still do this, they still charge the victim with a reason to believe which knocks them out for any job dealing with children, or elderly. It also prevents them from taking family members if children are ever removed in the future.

I finally quit my job because of a case that should have been a removal, but my boss didn’t want to believe the children who were the victims in the case. I worked the case with at least three other law officials from two other states. The parent was a runner and drug abuser. She was grooming her children to be sexually abused while their father was looking for them. The father spent time in prison for manslaughter only because the state didn’t have a law on the books for self defense. I found out everything about the dad. He was a good hardworking citizen, paid his dues, took parenting classes, and even earned certificates. He had held down a job, his only true crime was being black and trying to stop a white man from killing him.

I found out that he had been looking for his children for years while the mother was letting them get beaten and molested. So, I let him take his children and my boss knew this, but you better believe she lied to the program manager about it. The program manager who was just as crazy as she was wanted us to get the kids back. Here’s the issue, because they didn’t want to remove those kids, they would have went back to the mom and the abuser. So, there was no way in hell I was going to do that. I called the dad told him to get a lawyer. Needless to say, anything else would have been just as crazy as the prior cases, so I quit soon after that case.

This father wasn’t going to be able to protect his children because of a conviction he got due to him trying to defend himself. He was already victimized by the system once and then we were going to let his children become victims of the system again. If you are poor, black or mentally ill the system will not work for you as it would for someone with a different stack of cards. Your only hope is to get a person who cares. When They See Us might be about the Central Park 5, but the issue is that, the stain of racism has soaked so deep into the fabric of what and who we are. It is in outcomes of child abuse cases, criminal cases and even family courts in some arenas. We have to understand that the fight isn’t over. There’s still work to be done.

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The Unforgivable Ism

Over the past week, I have seen a pattern in the media. We are accepting of any person willing to part ways with their isms, but we are forever targeting people who engaged in racism. This prevents people from changing due to the nasty stigma and sting of the rebuke. In order for this country to heal, we have to develop a new way of seeing racism.

Racism is often taught. Just like it can be taught, it can also be unlearned. However, the problem comes when we crucify those who engaged in the past behavior, yet managed to turn their behavior around. Improvement should be a welcomed change, so why are we not rejoicing? I do not see us treating alcoholics the same. We work very hard to make sure they do well in recovery and try to help them focus on the positive. At least that is what we did with my father. We never beat him up about his addiction or made him feel like less of a person.

We need to embrace a caring tone and a tone of tolerance when we deal with people suffering from racism. We all come from many different walks of life and those voyages give birth to different struggles. Take my airplane trip with the six middle eastern men scooting next to me as an example. I was so quick to think they would bring the plane down. I went into protect mode and engaged in my manic friend making journey that I will never live down. Even though it was a few months after 9/11, I should have known better. Judging people by their nationality wasn’t okay. I let my fear get the best of me and ended up talking those poor men to a near death for 8 hours!

Take Liam Neeson and the blackface controversies from this week, it shows that we are all a work in progress. If you say you’ve never felt some ping of that, chances are, you are a saint. We should be encouraging each other to be kind and open-minded.

In the end, can we ever get to a place of forgiveness? Will we always harbor disregard for each other? Understand that everyone has skeletons, but what makes your skeletons more acceptable than others? Before you judge make sure, you are not standing in a large ant pile of drama waiting to rise to the top. I see no winners here because we are all people.

Raising Women In Today’s America

As many of you know I have three daughters. Here’s two at the ballet trying hard to not be noticed. Didn’t want to risk their black/Puerto Rican cards! According to them, the ballet wasn’t a black/Puerto Rican thing. Whatever that means!

We talk a lot about race and hate in America. A lot of times we link hate to political groups. If you are Democratic, you hate all straight, white, rich Americans and if you are a Republican you hate all nonwhite, gay, anti-religious people, does that sound about right? Let’s look at those views for a second and see if they are a true representation of who we are.

We’ll use my daughters to see if the labeling appears to be valid or a myth. Take this photo for example and my very democratic girls. My husband and I are Independent, once we were moderately Republican. Both of our parents were Democrats. Now the spy in the picture happens to be my 21 year old. She’s engaged to a Republican. I didn’t see that coming to be honest, I knew that she would more than likely marry a white guy because she seemed to date only white guys, but the Republican thing surprised us! Her best friend is a member of the LGBT group.

The one on the phone hiding her face, is the would be black panther of the family.

She takes everything to heart and takes it very personal when things come down to race relations. The immigration thing really hit her the hardest because she was in earshot of a few calls I took from people doing random calls asking about thoughts on immigration. While my husband is Puerto Rican and served in the Army for 14 years, the immigration thing still wasn’t too far away from him. He was legal, but he was still Latin. My daughter felt like if America had a problem with one Spanish person, America had a problem with all Spanish people. So it really was a task explaining that most of us just wanted people to immigrate the right way, because doing it the right way allowed proper vetting. I explained in the grocery lane! I was like how would you feel if all those people at the end of the lane rushed in front of us? She was able to see that maybe it wasn’t fair to those waiting after all! Anyway! It wasn’t a surprise that her boyfriend would turn out to be black, but it was a surprise when he turned out to be Republican.

Now it comes down to this little lady! She’s her own woman. She’s the KPOP You-tuber that hates anything to do with politics, and race relations. She likes to show girls how to be stronger in relationship on her YouTube channel. She doesn’t allow me to help her which shows she will be just like her sisters , a woman with her own mind.

In other words, if you are worried about the state of America today, look inside your house for clues. Make sure you are raising children to be the best that they can be, and that you are not pushing your biases onto your children. I talk a lot of crap here and there, but at the end of the day, I try to make sure my children understand that people are just people.

Can A Movie Make You Rethink A Word

white and red flag
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I viewed Free State Of Jones last week and I would like to hear some feedback. I will warn you if the word nigger upsets, you this might not be the post for you. However, if you are willing to really stretch your mind and look at the word for what it is, you might see things differently.

In the first 6 to 7 minutes Matthew McConaughey’s character Mr. Newton Knight started explaining to his pals about not wanting to be anyone’s nigger. The first time he said it, I leaned in and looked at my husband. The second time he said it, I listened a little more and then after he said it a few more times, it started to sink in. Anyone can be someone’s nigger. I mean the way the word was used throughout history was to demean a class of people that another group felt was underneath them.  That way of thinking not only went for black people, but for Irish and poor people as well. I feel like Mr. Knight was one of the smartest men that lived in the Civil War era next to John Brown. It really makes you look at the word in another light and it takes away the shame of it. Mr. Knight created a band of misfits, so to say and protected the displaced from the Confederate soldiers who were increasing taxes on people.

Often when we hear about the Civil War here in the South, we hear about how the Yankees did a lot of dirt, we haven’t really heard anything about how the South took from those farmers and increased taxes on people which really pushed people into near death situations. It was an eye opening movie because I didn’t know that people were exempt from the war if they owned slaves. I don’t recall learning that in college when I took the two classes on the Civil War. So, Mr. Knight was like the American version of Robin Hood. At one point in the movie when a black character was called nigger by one of the white soldiers, he replied by asking him in a round of about way, how was he not a nigger too. Mr. Knight went on to explain how the South was making all of the poor people niggers and how color wasn’t even the issue. Can I say that Matthew McConaughey was brilliant? He was Mr. Knight and he made me want to know about the man and shake his hand for being do darn smart. To me this was better than A Time to Kill, and I loved that movie. It not only made me see the Civil War in another light, but it kind of made me see things a little differently today.

Here we are fighting against one another while the people at the top are toasting to the chaos. If a Civil War were to break out today the Clintons, Trumps, Sanders, and Obamas wouldn’t be going anywhere. This country belongs to the people, but for some reason we have forgotten that. Why are we fighting against each other on the behalf of someone else’s pocketbook? For many of these people it’s about money and power. Do we even know who’s in it for us anymore? Watch this movie.