Revisiting the Tale of Banita Jacks: How Unsupported Mothers Fall Through The Cracks

I’ve been getting an uptick in traffic from my original post on Banita Jacks from July. To bring you up to speed, Ms. Jacks is on trial for murdering her four children. Her story could be any woman’s story. An average woman living life, with a career who decides to be a mother, loses her job, gets no help from immediate family or from the father(s) of her children, has a bank pursue foreclosing procedures on her home and she loses it. She was found in her home with their decomposing bodies and claimed they were possessed by demons.

Now the judge wants a review of her competency before sentencing.

Of course there were choices made that may not have ultimately been in her best interest that lead to this deterioration. The bottom line though is that she was failed. Failed by relatives and failed by a system. At the time DC Mayor Adrian Fenty said he wanted to go through the records of every agency that she’d been in contact with to made changes in evaluating at-risk women and children. But as usual actions > talk. He’s since closed low-income child care centers in favor of dog parks! Yeah some people DO care more about their pets than other human beings (children). These are the same organizations that were supposed to be in place to help women like Banita Jacks. That didn’t…and won’t now that he’s gutted them.

If you are a woman with limited resources a true assessment is in order regarding your life choices. Be it getting funding to attend college or a trade school or whether you bring another life into this world know that these programs are all in jeopardy especially in this current economic depression, recession, downturn. I wouldn’t believe any “expert” that claims it has recovered. Maybe for the top 1% but not for the bottom 25%. If you are on your own and surrounded by unreliable people you may find yourself really on your own when you need help the most. Please don’t take on any more burdens. If you are already in a challenging situation try to get help as quickly as possible. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can deal with it on your own.

This poor woman broke under the pressure of not having enough and harmed her children. Meanwhile we’re chasing after the latest idiot male celebrity mocking us or excusing his past crimes committed against us without ever having made amends. Or some of us are acting surprised when we see the violent acts of youths committed against each other when we’ve allowed a savage mentality to flourish and influence them. We need to get our priorities straight.
 

Bookmark and Share
TwitThis

Obama’s Warning to the Civil Rights Industrial Complex Will Go Largely Ignored

When the “First Black President” spoke to the oldest Civil Rights organization many saw this as a culmination of a “dream” and the struggle of millions of our formerly enslaved ancestors who “overcame”. Cue the orchestra for this tender moment… 

Pause.

Ok I’m over it. Utter hogwash! 

Sorry but this isn’t going to be a feel-good post about the merging of ideals within the “black community”. Excuse me while I hurl. Obama is a fence-sitter on many significant issues regarding LGBT rights depending on which way his political career may go. He’s a conflicted participant trying to hold another huge entity of dead ideals (that would be the CRIC TM WAOD) responsible for having an enforceable code of ethics. Well welcome to 2009 because we’re not in 1959, 1969 and we’re certainly not in 1999.  

First of all the “black community” is gasping its last few breaths for the collective of blacks who consider themselves part of something when joined strictly by race and a history of oppression by whites. They ignore seeking justice across the board, equality for black women and do not support LGBT rights as an whole. Just like the NAACP. Of course they’re forgetting one thing: black people are also LGBT, living in black residential neighborhoods and often are doubly oppressed. Black female LGBTs including trans women have it the worst of course. They’re raising children alone, face job discrimination as well as the extra threat of physical violence.

This is why I always discuss LGBT issues on this blog. Few blacks do because it’s “controversial” or they have to face the mighty Wall of Hypocrisy from other blacks who want to use religion as the “Shield of Ironic Condemnation” that is only reserved for those sinners. Meanwhile the behavior of the masses reflects no discipline or standards. Don’t you dare talk about their choices! Hence the 80% OOW birth rate, the lack of marriage and the perpetual joblessness amongst other things.

Khadija, blog host of Muslim Bushido broke it down on her post, The End of the Road for African-Americans, Part I about how the infrastructure in the “black community” doesn’t support ONE THING. There is no independent economy, no group accountability and no social/political governance. So tell me what exactly is the NAACP good for? It’s symbolism pure and simple. They’re not the only do-nothing organization but they’re the most readily thought-of. I don’t see them as a benign stallworth of an era that has since passed. I think their purpose is to serve as an obstruction for any real progress. There’s far too much money passing hands and zero transparency. Like BET, they are not a FRIEND TO BLACK PEOPLE!

They have a history of putting white people in charge or black men who give lots of speeches, pontificate on occasion and leave in a cloud of controversy over sexual misconduct. So far their current President Ben Jealous seems to be scandal-free (so far) but I’m not certain what he actually does. His prior work with Amnesty Int’l and career in social justice suggests he may have in fact been able to make some significant changes but with Julian Bond pulling the strings and a 64-member board of redirectionists holding the the purse I’m not expecting much. He may be infinitely qualified but he is a (token) symbol of of superficiality by a dead organization. They wanted their own bi-racial man who claims black heritage with a beautiful lawyer wife. Done and done. How juvenile can they be? 

I can’t think of one initiative in recent memory these CRIC organizations have actually done to build an infrastructure that would support a community. That’s for those still holding onto the idea there is one or one can be rebuilt. What have they done to lower the unemployment rate for blacks? They don’t teach domination tactics. They can’t get black men to accept responsibility for their children or to graduate college for goodness sake! They have got the “hand held out” beggar pose down to a tee. I wonder what the operating budget would be like if the white patronage went elsewhere? What investments do they have? I know that other blacks give money and time as well, largely African-American women doing the “save all of our people” dance – SOLO – as usual. If only they would pause, turn of the music and walk away the NAACP and others would have a whiplash-inducing about-face and suddenly find an agenda of relevance. We don’t hold them accountable so they will remain ineffective.

Now there’s word that the NAACP wants to stop focusing solely on black men feeling the butt end of white oppression and include other “people of color”. We already know they don’t do major campaigns that are for the benefit of black women. Well if those other POCs want to give money and time the way AA women do more power to them. It would give these women free time to find something else to do. If it’s just lip service forget it! Including other groups who if the shoe was on the other foot are not seeking alliances with AAs is just further proof of their insanity. They already do as little as possible. Next they’re going to open the bank for business and tell a select few to just come on in and take other people’s money. 

In fact in The End of the Road for African-Americans Part 2, Khadija discusses material from the 2006 Harvest Institute Report, where Bob Law states:

Rather than demonstrate that leadership by leading their own people to the necessary levels of self-sufficiency and competitiveness, these leaders have abandoned the critical issues facing Black people and have begun to chase an ambiguous romanticized notion of alliances with other groups without any demonstration or even an explanation as to how these alliances will actually empower Black people.  ** I had to come back to add this portion. Sometimes when ppl are in agreement it isn’t about cheering them on to gain favor but it’s synchronicity.

When the black community collapses under the bloat of its uselessness I sincerely hope these organizations: NAACP, Urban League, National Urban Network, blah blah blah are the first ones to go. Color of Change is right up there following the same failed model. Quite frankly the CRIC deserves a swift demise. As well as the Black Church. They have been a HUGE disservice to the very people they claim to be helping. Like that wanna-be organization Raising Him Alone which is another Trojan Horse of the deathstyles of the supa fly (that would be us, er other blacks) I have zero sympathy for the confused and unfocused non-leadership. 

I’d love to see some of these other orgs like National Council of  Negro Women step up to the plate. Perusing their websites and objectives they are so woefully behind the times I don’t even know where to begin. I see lots of ideas but I don’t see a radical attempt at dismantling the sources. I’m certain many will disagree with me and if you want to take up that cause of getting the CRIC to “act right” feel free to do so. We see how successful that’s been with regards to black men. I say it’s time for all people of consciousness (compassion and common sense) to just LEAVE. Let them fix their internal squabbles, power plays and apathy on their own. Then they can prove their loyalty and relevancy. Of course that isn’t going to happen and we’ll be better off just focusing on our own needs, forming alliances with those prepared and able to be fully functioning partners. 

To all the naysayers: PROVE ME WRONG! Haha. I’d love to see you try.


*******
P.S. I read Raymond Leon Roker’s piece in Huffington Post, NAACP vs. Gay Marriage. The timing was excellent as I was working on my response to Obama’s speech. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s also nice to see a black man defend LGBT rights and be so (fair) idealistic. Reading the comments it’s the usual yada yada yada (nonsense). What do you think? 

Bookmark and Share

Society Does Not Actively Support Single Motherhood (But The Black “Community” Does)

This was cross-posted at What About Our Daughters as a companion to Gina’s post about the Raising Him Alone organization being a Trojan Horse for black women.

Before we continue this conversation can we get a social scientist to name a society that has promoted the widespread acceptance and normalcy of single/never-married women raising children alone?

A few people didn’t agree with my last post where I was critical of the “Raising Him Alone” organization. This is no dig at single mothers. I am all for providing training classes, parenting classes, financial classes, job skills, whatever the mother needs. Again, just as with my posts about DBR (damaged beyond repair)-ism last week I got a lot of heat from people who felt uncomfortable with the subject matter. I pose my blog posts as conversations. These are conversations we NEED to be having but so many would prefer to avoid them. If we NEVER discuss the challenging and yes, painful aspects of pathologies we are doomed to repeat them.  Continue reading “Society Does Not Actively Support Single Motherhood (But The Black “Community” Does)”

National Brainwashing Plan To Condone the DBRs: Raising Him Alone

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

How many times can I type this? Can I PLEASE be able to go back to writing posts about Obama’s trip to Africa or the latest antics of Rush Limbaugh? Lord, talking about that spiteful drug-addict would be a relief right now. Oh no. Foolish, indoctrinated, no common sense-having black people take precedence right now. Sorry I am black but I won’t claim them. It’s not that I think I’m better it’s that I see this as a problem…and they don’t. People who are NOT like-minded enough have CAN HAVE NO REAL TIES.  Their purpose will lie in getting their point of view across above working together. Everyone cannot and should not think alike, but there has to be a core standard that is understood.

A fundamental fact of Negro American family life is the often reversed roles of husband and wife.

Dorothy Height: “If the Negro woman has a major underlying concern, it is the status of the Negro man and his position in the community and his need for feeling himself an important person, free and able to make his contribution in the whole society in order that he may strengthen his home.

Negro children without fathers flounder — and fail. Moynihan Report

Continue reading “National Brainwashing Plan To Condone the DBRs: Raising Him Alone”

The Real Black State of the Union Pt. 3

So I’m continuing the topic from last week’s posts about how pathology is being attributed to a person’s race only when it comes to people of color, the militarism of law enforcement and the complacency of those who ignore the pathologies that have a negative impact on their communities because they may share a similar heritage as the perpetrators.
One of my reader’s comments from last week had me nodding my head in agreement. I’m going to post it here with my response in blue: via Brother OMi

1. In my experience, I run into VERY few people who join the police/military because they wanted to. Most, especially enlisted and lower ranking police officers, join because of being unable to get hired for several reasons OR because there are no jobs. Thus, the police and the military are filled with people from the lower dregs of society. That says alot. Police/military should be high paying jobs that seek QUALIFED and MENTALLY STABLE applicants. 


So we have quite a few people serving who join due to the high unemployment in their residential areas. Also people who should never be allowed to serve. We see so many officers who shoot first, who overreach their authority and lack proper training (I’d say common sense). Thanks to the NRA guns are readily and illegally available with a thriving market. I’d like to think if some of the threat to bodily harm was removed the police would have to adjust how they respond to crime. Just look at the preponderance of rape against female service members. It’s a huge problem and due to the coverups by the higher ups it will not be resolved any time soon. Some have also suggested it’s one of the biggest reasons why the military doesn’t want “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” revoked because a lot of men would become targets. 

2. I will say that when it comes to the police, they are poorly trained. They get sent to handle situations that are way beyond their abilities (domestic violence issues, etc.) and are expected to handle them professionally and efficiently. 



Why are situations still beyond the abilities of an officer to appropriately respond to? It’s 2009. If counterintelligence tactics can be used by groups like PETA in the guise of helping animals why can’t the police get appropriate strategies in place to respond to a variety of issues. They have gang units, major crimes, special victims: why not other specialties? How much impact can individual communities have on the implementation of law enforcement if all they do is complain about brutality? 

3. Our communities have to do a better job of policing ourselves. oftentimes we give a safe haven to the criminal element. If (Louvelle) Mixon was not harbored by friends and relatives, this might not have happened. 


Ah yes the 800 lb. elephant in the room. Black people tend to make all kinds of excuses for all sorts of depravity when it comes in the form of a Black male. A Black woman can be called all manner of derogatory terms and be told its her responsibility to rescue others and she will not get a break. The protectionism of those with melanin and a penis knows no bounds though. As if it’s a birth defect for someone to make the choice to engage in criminal activity and they have no responsibility for it. This also extends in the world of entertainment and the promoting of smut as music but that’s another post! You cannot hold police officers to a higher standard by allowing criminals to run free to steal, rape and kill. 

4. Our concept of crime and punishment is extremely flawed and will not work unless we do a proper re-evaluation of it. Being tough doesn’t seem to work.

A nation built on exploitation and hypocrisy will always be an iffy prospect for appropriate behavior. The US also suffers from this hyper-masculine hero complex. Sometimes charging in trying to take over and intimidation tactics require more thought, scrutiny and a gentle hand.
Basically it’s an acknowledgement of class differences and pathologies and how they may manifest themselves in certain situations. I am in complete agreement about how the quality of services is affected by the quality of those providing it. Lack of training will yield poor results. We don’t train people how to be parents either. We don’t value motherhood, though some women tend to equate motherhood with being a woman. The ability to breed has nothing to do with quality parenting. When people (mostly men) who are ill-equipped to face societal challenges, with borderline psychoses and/or are otherwise unhireable or come from areas of high unemployment that’s a breeding ground for a killer. 
We know the military had to lower their standards for admission to avoid a draft so can you imagine how dangerous it would be to serve alongside someone you’d normally have nothing to do with in your regular life? Or join a police force with those ready to explode? It’s why there’s such a preponderance for rape. Women aren’t safe in any area of society where its citizens don’t place a high value on their person AND while other people remain silent. It can’t be left solely up to women to speak out against these things. It can’t be just women who are deemed “worthy” of protecting because that means some are not. Of course since these incidences are shrouded in secrecy that also fosters a breeding ground for this sort of activity. 
As it was pointed out on certain blogs had the police valued the lives of the sex workers Louvelle Mixon had raped, they may have arrested him before he attacked a 12 year old and got pulled over at that traffic stop with the ensuing gun battle. He didn’t value his life at all so why would have valued yours? The former officer Powell didn’t value the lives of an entire population of those he was supposed to be neutral about on paper at least. You know the whole innocent until proven guilty tenet that’s supposed to be one of our strongest foundations for justice?

Bookmark and Share

Ladies Get It From the Horse’s Mouth

If you are happily coupled or not looking then you may proceed to the next blog post. If you are reevaluating your dating experiences or in an unsatisfactory relationship proceed with caution. I saw the following post “From A Brotha” at the NecoleBitchie blog which was culled from her comment section in response to another entry. It’s harsh…but it needs to be said.

Continue reading “Ladies Get It From the Horse’s Mouth”

Black Americans Are Like Newspapers

I recently visited my family in Upstate New York. It felt like an episode of “This Is Your Life”. I admittedly have a disdain/hate relationship with the city I grew up in. Lots of institutional racism, segregated neighborhoods and the combo of Blacks who were either into social climbing or the lowest common denominator behavior had me declaring at age 8 how I was moving to NYC after I graduated high school. I’d also noticed a pattern of the first born female (mom & grandma) having their first of many children at age 18. I knew that tradition was going to end with me as well, lol!
Despite the unemployment rates in NYS being high they’re nearly double in California right now. Despite parental concern I did go to NYC and loved it. As a native New Yorker we are a breed unto ourselves. Having lived in California and specifically San Francisco for the last 8 years I have to admit that I’m now a California girl (woman). You know what I mean! I’d still like to be bi-coastal actually and to do so I’m going to have to step up my game so to speak. With the average home purchase price hovering around $1M with the average rent $2000/mo I know why I may stay broke if I continue to live in San Francisco as a single child-free woman of a certain income bracket. So I may also need to change that status and be actively doing so. Which brings me to the point of this blog post.
Seeing some of the same thriving business districts and surrounding residential areas of my town of birth I’ve never considered it “home” because I had no say in where I was born and raised. The city is always building something (parking, sports arenas) yet the bulk of the areas where Blacks lived during my formative years are in near total disarray. Abandoned or burnt-out buildings litter many neighborhoods bringing the housing value down to those that are either too old or too stubborn to leave. Apparently the ones who haven’t left (like all of my friends and school mates) have moved to residential areas that were exclusively white. 
There was a time I would’ve declared that “progress” but I think through a different critical prism now so I realize it’s likely the result of whites having left the area as well because it’s not “integrated” AND a look at the class status/temperament of those people who’ve remained deserves an evaluation. Not that their aren’t any well-off Blacks in Buffalo or poor whites but it always seemed geared towards affluence for a majority of whites. I used to think it was “racism” as the only cause but I think there were other factors at play. I used to say there’d be a Black President before a Black Mayor of this city but alas I was proven wrong! 
So admittedly it was the combination of how the Blacks in the area did – or didn’t – wield power politically and certain aspects of my family that I find troublesome that generate this reaction out of me. I used to think it was like a rubber band or better yet, a boomerang, that no matter how far away I moved even across the pond to London some problem would force me back even though it was usually for a brief time. Like now with the horrible economy. It’s nice to see my immediately family but I am itching to be away. I need to be a large metropolitan area with diversity and more than one dominant culture to be at my happiest which usually means living in one of the more expensive cities. By the way I tried Atlanta, and no offense to ya’ll but it’s way to provincial for my tastes. I can’t live in a state that flies the Confederate Flag. I think out of all the cities I’ve lived in I may like Toronto the best but it’s way too cold in the winter. I really liked Denver when I went there for the Democratic National Convention and they are wooing Californians right now.
I was out recapping my lapsed driving skills – because you don’t need to drive in San Francisco (or NYC) but I need to be able to handle my business behind the wheel in case I end up living in a city that requires it. I noticed one of the areas surrounding the park I’d been driving in had really deteriorated. I remember as a child taking the bus through this area to attend school and how I’d always thought it looked a little worse for wear so now it was really bad. It was around 8pm and I counted six younger AA men standing around doing….what I don’t know.
Well one was sitting at the entrance of a dry cleaner that was closed drinking a can of beer. He looked rather pissed to me. I’m not sure if he was drunk (Euro expression) or angry. Two were across the street in front of another store “talking”. Three others were standing in front of the corner store. Are you getting the picture? My mother commented how these areas had only poor people left because the Middle Class had left. I responded these neighborhoods were full of the criminally-minded and being poor may play a role in the decline but that didn’t excuse the potential tinder box of danger and illegal activity displayed before us.
I was glad we were in a car because I would NOT have wanted to be a lone female out there with them. Of course we disagreed but I’m reminded of the potential dangers of people who may look like us that don’t share any of our values. One such person decided to drive out of his residential cesspool and come to ours to shoot at people…one of the victims was my second youngest brother and he didn’t survive.
I realize speaking to my mother about certain things is an exercise in futility. Generation Gap Alert!! Like how it’s time to leave the neighborhood she’s lived in for the past 25 years because the encroaching areas have become cesspools of criminal activity and having a Black Chief of Police and Mayor isn’t going to make other people bent on destruction change their evil ways. Some family that moved down the street decided to supplement their income by casing all of the houses in a two block radius and attempting robbery. My mom’s next door neighbor caught some of them standing on top of her garbage cans at 4am. Thank goodness there are still some men left in the neighborhood that paid them a visit, issued a warning and outlined the consequences for any further violations. That’s how it used to be but that’s not the way things are usually handled today.
How do I know this? Because of the idiocy of my brother’s “friends” and their stop snitching vow of silence crap the police know who murdered him but don’t have enough evidence to prosecute because none of the witnesses would say anything. It’s been nearly three years and my anger over this hasn’t dissipated. I don’t think a 21-year old college student with a job in the banking industry and an all-around sweet natured person being just another statistic of Black on Black crime because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time is something that should be forgotten. There are many such stories and not just Black men are being brutalized. So those that were protesting the shooting of Lovelle Mixon need to seriously have their heads examined.
This wasn’t supposed to be a personal essay. I was going to keep it brief (for me anyway) and speak in general tones but this is what came out. If it appears intact then I guess I decided to post it. I’m not sure yet. So why did I title it the way I did? Newspapers were once considered stalwart and venerable. Didn’t we always think there’d be a local and national newspaper? Yet from the Christian Science Monitor to the San Francisco Chronicle to the Seattle (name) they’re all folding or on the verge of collapse. I’ve always loved newspapers. It’s the tactile sensation of holding it and smelling it. The ink would bleed all over your hands. 
I couldn’t wait to get to the Sunday cartoons and attempt completion of the crossword puzzles. Of course unless you were of a particular income bracket the coupons were eagerly anticipated as well. Don’t we tend to think of the Black community as a national collective of people in the struggle against white racism? That’s the shtick anyway that we were sold from those individuals who came to a very limited power during the aftermath of Civil Rights. Notice I specified Black Americans and I am referring to those whose ancestors were enslaved. We’re talking those whose family gene pool goes back starting from three generations ago and backwards. Like the neighborhoods of our youth that our grandparents lived in, those old alliances are for the most part gone. 
The reality is for the majority those times have long since passed and those alliances were tenuous at best. When 70% of Black women are single and not by some “empowered” choice but because they’re holding onto these old ideas that the majority of Black men have long since abandoned it’s pure foolishness. When the majority of these single women – and by single I’m talking never married – also have at least one child then it’s not just about personal choices and responsibility. Some of these women were young girls taken advantage of by men old enough to know better or those that knew they weren’t sticking around to begin with. How can you make an empowered choice when you don’t know what that means? They’re the ones that are living in these deteriorated neighborhoods with boys that grow into angry abandoned men who have literally bitten the hands that fed them and then some.
Before anyone starts balking – yes of course there are exceptions, good men, intact families and thriving neighborhoods. Let’s get real here, though. While you may be living your life of exceptionalism, good people and cheer you may rub up against some of those on the periphery. Admit it, if you were superstitious you might throw salt over your shoulder and say “there but for the grace of God…” Or you may be living your high profile life with all its pressures just trying to swim with the other sharks. Meanwhile that periphery has a domino effect. It’s like when there’s a power outage and the lights on the block go out one by one.
There will be a day of reckoning but by the time you notice it, it’ll be too late to stop the bleeding. There are stereotypes about how certain ethnic groups are all wealthy because they make sure the entire collective is doing reasonably well by comparison to others. They have businesses that cater to their needs and are unabashedly supportive of their interests. They work with each other and hire each other. They don’t claim speaking well and being educated is a violation of belonging to that group. They don’t eschew therapy. They have thriving communities. Their men haven’t publicly disdained women from their group by touting the virtues and beauty of other groups of women. They don’t label it a “preference” when confronted about it. They don’t abandon their children. They don’t say “give a brother a chance” when they’re engaging in substandard behavior and activity. They don’t separate the women in the group by skin shade or hair texture declaring some women are worthy of praise while condemning the rest. There isn’t this disconnect where the majority of women and children are left to fend for themselves. Again this is speaking of the majority  – which you can see played out over and over if you look – not individuals.
None of these things occur in a vacuum or by osmosis. It’s a mentality that is either supported or rejected and all the actions that follow are the result of that choice. This goes beyond white racism. This goes beyond the choice of a few individuals to “live their lives as they see fit”. This is a matter of survival. Some believe it’s too late for the collective and individuals who want to survive must separate themselves immediately. In the most heinous environments I agree, but there are still areas that have not deteriorated to that point yet. There are still people out there fighting the good fight. At least I hope there are.
Like newspapers will we admit there’s a serious problem and address it or will we continue to deny, deny, deny until the damage is complete and we have to sever the limbs or face sudden demise? I used to deny it even after what happened to my family. I used to think there was always a couple of bad seeds in the bunch but the bunch was a bushel and it was good. After what happened at Dunbar Village, after reading the blog Black & Missing and after looking at actual crime stats I realized those seeds have multiplied and sprouted an angry violent army of aggressors and fueled mass willful ignorance. It’s sad but you’ll get over it. It’s time to demolish the old and create something new and better in its place. Black women of quality can create quality Black children with whomever they mate with since we are the daughters of Eve. Will we stop looking through a narrow prism of choices and open ourselves to the spectrum of an entire world with as many options available to us as we’re willing to seek?

Bookmark and Share