Monday, January 11, 2010

Crack and the Foster Care System Kills Too Many Black Families, ask Keyshia Cole

Bloggers everywhere cheered when Keyshia Cole's letter explicitly stating that she has removed herself from her biologicially family---specifically her mother (Frankie) and two half-sisters (Neffie and Elite).

However, everyone avoids the ugly truth that crack and the botched foster care system of the United States has systemically broken black families instead of helping them become a cohesive unit.

As a person who worked as a liaison between foster youth and the foster care system of Los Angeles, I became disgusted with the high levels of exploitation by the departments of child and family services.

It really became difficult when I discovered the disproportionately high numbers of black children who are shuffled in-and-out of the system as just numbers that are pimped by all types of industry.

A foster child has several case workers, several doctors, an attorney, usually a couple of counselors, and most often, a probabtion officer. All of these people demand that these children see these folk, pulling them out of school, and taking their time of youth away, all to cash out on the children.

Yes, there are foster parents who also pimp these children, but the system of foster care is the biggest pimp, taking billions of tax dollars to maintain and in my opinion, recruit children in the system.

These children go through many hands, akin to a prostitute. The end result, they are so psychologically and emotionally turned out that most cannot function once they are out of the system.

As a matter of fact, 60 percent of homeless, unemployed young adults and youth in jails were or are in foster care.

So when Keyshia Cole's, "The Way It Is Came Out," I was mortified and ashamed. Her mother Frankie looked like so many black mothers who have been strung out on crack and left to walk as zombies on the street.

These women and men are stigmatized as "crack heads" that are unworthy of redemption. Unlike the thousands of rich cocaine snorters who get slaps on the rich while daddy pays off the judges.

Keyshia came onto the scene as this unique, and magnetically trembling whining voice from the Bay Area. It was the passion in her shaking notes that captured many who knew she really couldn't quite sing, but her singing was hypnotic, in a Squeak from The Color Purple sort-of way, and was a fresh sound.

I heard about Keyshia months before she really hit mainstream radio. An industry friend told me that she almost did not get signed or released because of her fractured family life (she had been living on her own since 16), and volatile behavior---especially in her relationships with men.

Often her "love affairs" resulted in violent and very destructive outcomes. This friend of mine told me that she and one of her boyfriends got into a fight that completely damaged a hotel room, thus having the hotel chain ban her from every staying in that establishment again.

This was problematic because Keyshia's home was the hotel, and was like so many of her foster care comrades, homeless, unemployed and in search of her family for answers and love.

You cannot sum up nor fix the emotional and psychological complexities of disrupted families on a reality show?

I applaud all of the Cole's for giving America a very blunt and sad look at how many families who were directly hit by crack. "The Way It Is" gives you a sharp indicator of how once-fully-functioning adults, like Frankie, are jumbled bodies of flesh.

In the case of Frankie, I can see she had children young and started using before she understood a little of her purpose. Resultantly, Frankie is really a wayward, 16-year-old fighting in worlds she will never conquer, nor be respected by her addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Typically, she seeks love, like Keyshia, who like so many other foster youth, endured the inadquacies of their parents by attempting to establish substantial relationships.

So many parents though have been shuffled in-and-out of systems just like their children, they too are damaged goods.

And here we are, applauding Keyshia Cole for cutting off her ghetto ass mama and siblings, not recognizing the Devil still is sitting on our shoulders.

If you just drive through any urban area USA, you will see the ramifications of crack and broken families, yeah, the way it is.

It is sad to say that in America, a bad choice can equivocate to lifelong banishment of "normalcy" with no room for deliverance, especially if you are poor, working class, or of color.

Moreso, when you talk about crack and California, it is an especially glaring issue due to the documented role that the CIA played in pumping crack into black and brown communities of Los Angeles to supposedly fund a drug war in Nicaragua.

The CIA's major contribution in dismantling South Central Los Angeles was reported in San Jose's Mercury News in 1996. In a series of stories detailing the CIA's controversial contra operations that gave crack and guns to local black drug dealers in Los Angeles.

Gary Webb, the reporter who became (in)famous for his stories would lose his job, be ostracized by the mainstream journalism community, go through an ugly divorce and be found dead with 2 bullet holes in his head in 2004. Webb's cause of death, suicide, yeah right.

3 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Reggie said...

We've all got that cousin that forever walks the streets in search of their next high.

It damned sure killed Applejack; he and a whole army of young black men and women.

EcoSoul said...

that's what i say, in the US, everyone got a least 1 crackhead in their family.

Goddess Intellect said...

I am all too familiar with the foster care system..(may do a post on it when i return from my hiatus) due to uncontrollable circumstances I have a sibling who is in the foster care system...she is passed through many hands, goes to various appointments, tests, makes me sick. I cant tell you how many times I've had to put these "educated skeltons" in their place essentially telling them how to do their job, and I'm not a pushy person usually but thats my blood.
The environment for the most part is not ideal for children. They try..I cant knock the system completely, but unless you have a non-agency type person in your corner or someone who will go above and beyond their call of duty...the child is basically set up to FAIL.
The best way for society to help these children is to learn more about fostering (if you r financially and emotionally able to do so)...there are so many broken children out there.
I often complain about my sibling's behavior because its a burden having to be her ambassador but hey we are all dealt a different set of cards...these are mine. Until she's fit to stand on her own i gotta help her fight...