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November 2008

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Devonian Fossil Gorge

stitchwitch_d in families_united

Lynch mob mentality

I keep up with the NCCPR Child Welfare Blog http://www.nccpr.blogspot.com/ and the last few posts have dealt with the Washington DC CPS and a couple recent infant deaths, including links to Washington Post articles http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/14/AR2008071401044.html  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/09/AR2008070902237.html  Both articles have a bunch of comments at the bottom, the majority of which are some variation on the theme of "Poor people shouldn't breed". 

Now, I don't know Jesus Garcia or Morgan Herrara-El, so they might be horrible people who kick puppies and vote for George W Bush, but the people posting those comments don't know them either. However, many Post readers are more than willing to go back to Buck Vs Bell based on a few facts:

1. They have had 4 children in the last 4 years.

2. They are low income. 

3. They aren't white.

4. They've had some relationship problems. 

5. Their baby died of unknown causes. 

Somehow, these facts jelled together into a stereotype of BAD PEOPLE WHO SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO BREED, and people have responded to Baby Isiah's death with all the sympathy of blood-crazed sharks at a feeding frenzy.  

The worst thing is that I've seen the same mentality over and over in place after place. When the Detroit Freep ran a series about Isaac Lethbridge, the same kind of readers posted almost exactly the same horrible comments about his mother, Jen. I do know her (at least online), and if people were saying that she can be really snarky and intolerant of stupid people, I'd have to admit they're right. However, no one who knows her at all would accuse her of not loving her children, or of even vaguely fitting the Bad Mommy stereotype.

So, where does this mind-set come from? Why does a dead child suddenly make such rabid classism and racism acceptible? Jesus said"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". If the majority of people in this country claim to be Christain, shouldn't more of them be willing to see that all parents make mistakes, and have compassion for parents who have lost a child, even if that loss is linked to a mistake?

When I was a little girl, there was a family in our congragation. The mom was driving home with her 16 year old daughter in the front seat, and her mother in law and a young woman who was a friend of the family in the  back. She stopped before she crossed hwy 169, but somehow she just didn't see the semi truck until it was too late. The daughter's seat belt wasn't buckled and she was thrown through the windshield. Her neck was broken, and she died instantly. Her grandma's injuries were severe, and she was DOA. The friend was trapped in the car, it took hours to get her out and she needed multiple surgeries to repair the damage to her legs so she could walk unaided.  The mother- the driver- had only minor scratches and bruises. Of course, she was white, middle-class, lived in a small town and was married to her child's father, but how much do details of identity matter when you've made a mistake that cost your child's life? Because everyone has made errors while driving, everyone understood, and no one blamed her for the accident except herself.

I don't know what happened to either of the babies in DC who died, but I'm sure that both mothers are hurting worse than any stones that could be cast at them, and I'm sure they are both wishing they could go back and do things differently.

Comments

washington cps file

wow here in the west coast well right across the hall a baby die the parents were young low income and on drugs so yes they probably are or would be feeling it, if they are clean but most likely not, you see when addicts use, it's to not fell any emotions or pain or nothing so tell me this, so that i can understand. are they good or bad parents
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