Saturday, June 18, 2016

Parenting while being non-white

So I'm about to piss a lot of people off. However I've been thinking about it and discussing it in circles with various friends from different backgrounds and we've had similar observations. In the past year I've been doing my university diligence on Indigenous kids in care, and how they represent nearly half the kids in care in Canada and how this is alarming since the Indigenous population as a whole in itself represents a little piece (I think 4.3%). Likewise, a friend of mine has been researching black kids in care in the Greater Toronto Area and had similar findings. I did a quick looksee into American stats, and not surprisingly, they were similar.
So, I've been reflecting on the tragic death of the little boy in Florida due to an alligator and the almost tragedy of that little boy in Cinncinati. Both are terrible accidents the result of a choice of parents who at the time were doing their very best I'm sure. I think both are accidents, they may have been preventable, but as a parent, shit happens and I get that, a decision was made and it snowballed into horrible consequences. I guess what I'm saying is that I view them both equally in terms of accountability.
However, the media had painted these families in two different lights. (I'm not talking about comments sections) One family was pretty much vilified, the other garnered sympathy. One family has the past dug up on dad's criminal background, the other has not.
I sit back and reflect upon how much society views black and Indigenous parents as inferior and how it goes so much beyond two stories. These kids are over represented in care, not because they are more abused, but many of them are apprehended for "neglect" as their parents are living in poverty and may leave them unsupervised to go to work, or they're wearing super hand me downs. In many cases, agencies and advocates of marginalized people across Canada and the US are calling out these agencies and why they have such disproportionate kids in care. A poor kid living with a loving family doesn't need a foster home, they need resources, which these care agencies can either provide or facilitate, but time and again, these children are removed from their homes, communities and placed hundreds of miles away from people who love them, because "well-meaning" workers still view these families through a lens of superiority.
But the bottom line is, that people belonging to black and Indigenous communities are seen as inferior parents, and the minute they slip up, it's because they have a criminal background, or drugs, or abuse. The fact is that two families had terrible accidents but one family is largely given the benefit of the doubt and the other was not is indicative of a larger problem.
I welcome comments, but please keep them in the framework of we are discussing how the MEDIA is handling this and how society at large thinks of families from racialized backgrounds. If you think there is no such thing as racism or how dare I bring race into this, just don't, I didn't create the system, I'm pointing out how two families were treated differently by it. If you're tempted to tell me now is not the time to talk about this, I'm asking when? Is there ever a good time? People are being killed because the colour of their skin is different, it's never going to be a comfortable conversation. 

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