CNN Money Writes About the Impact of Incarceration on Black Women... Leaves Out Mentioning Incarcerated Black women.

When I saw a teasing headline about the impact of incarceration on Black women, I fell for it and clicked. I expected to read a story about incarcerated Black women. Nope! The CNN Money story written by Tanzina Vega was about incarceration. It was about Black women, but it wasn’t about incarcerated Black women.

The story was about incarcerated Black men and the Black women who go to destructive lengths to support the men financially while the men are in prison and once they get out.

That’s right, in a story about the impact of incarceration on Black women, not a single  incarcerated Black women was mentioned.

At least three Black women are featured. One Black mother died an early in part because she worked herself into the ground to support two incarcerated sons...

"The financial stress of having two sons in prison ultimately took a physical toll on Belinda's mother, who ended up struggling with cancer, hypertension and blindness in one of her eyes.CNN Money

Leaving her law abiding daughters to pick up the slack.

Another woman declared bankruptcy and sacrificed her homes and savings to post bond on a habitually offending husband.

And it doesn’t stop for these women once the men are released:

"We're the ones with the credit, we're the ones with the job, we're the ones putting everything in our name," said Muhammad, whose husband died in prison halfway through a 24-year sentence. "They need a ride, they need a suit, they have to go job hunting? You're putting them up. You're their sponsor." CNN Money

WAOD reader responses on Facebook

  • "Who is signing up to be a sponsor?????Where????"
  • "This article is ridiculous. Nobody has to financially support a grown man....especially if he habitually makes poor decisions.  Also, I wonder if incarcerated black women get that kind of economic support. I don't think most men would put themselves in an financial bind like so many women feel that they have to."
  • "The problem is worse that the article states. Prison officials are on record stating that non-criminal, non-imprisoned (female) family members are responsible for providing commissary money so that the incarcerated person can get soap and toilet paper."

What’s the big deal? It reinforces the message that Black women don’t need support from two angles.

First, the absence of incarcerated Black women implies that they don’t exist. It implies that Black women are not disproportionately represented in prison populations - that’s not true. And Black women’s incarcerations ( including Black girls) are increasing. The article also implies that Black women can handle it all, even poorly, and are unworthy of support.

Second, by featuring Black women whose financial support of the incarcerated Black men reaches destructive levels, we reinforce dangerous ideas about Black women’s roles as sacrificial lambs.  There is not one expert in the article that discusses financial literacy. There is not one expert in the article that challenges these women or offers solutions that allow these women to support incarcerated family members while continuing to build a happy, stable life of their own. And there is not a single voice in the article that says “STOP!” or “NO!”.  There is no one to say "this is not healthy!"

What is so clear is that all of the women who were featured were self-destructive and probably lacking in self love.  

The article concludes with a Black woman who was earlier complaining about the massive financial toll  from supporting the incarcerated men in her life. She was now booed up with another man she met...while he was incarcerated for a decade. When asked why she is carrying the financial load now that he is released, her response was the following:

"He cooks dinner for me, I get my feet rubbed and I get the companionship of a guy that I care about that I couldn't be with for nine years."

Economic ruin in exchange for a foot rub and companionship...that's not normal. That's not healthy.

If you’re  a young Black girl reading this, please know that you can be generous with people without being self-destructive.

In addition to criminal justice reform, telling people NO is an option. Being single ( and happy) is an option. Boundaries are an option. Limits are an option. You can give without giving everything you have.


What Does Genarlow Wilson Want with the Children of Atlanta and Who is Giving Him Access

Genarlow Wilson, convicted chipd rapist, has been convinced that he is the second coming of MLK and Mandela. His supporters fall into two categories: those that don't know and those that don't care.

Why else can you is explain why so many people so eager to give a man who was involved in the gang rape of an unconscious teenage girl access to young children?

I suspect that Wilson and his supporters want access to young children is because these children are too young to challenge the fairytale he weaves. For the complete set of facts surrounding Genarlow Wilson's criminal behavior, read this WAOD Classic Post: Your Genarlow Wilson Refresher Course: You're Not Entitled to Your Own Facts

As you can see he's a bit scruffy here, but they've since cleaned him up and bought him a new suit so he can be a spokesperson fora City of Atlanta's economic development agency.

MMMHMMM. Only in Atlanta will a city agency recruit off of the sex offender registry. I guess that's their idea of workplace development. You can watch the video where he says he wants to speak to "the youths" The person responsible for this is Michael T. Sterling of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. 

Genarlow Wilson is obsessed with influencing "the Youths" and the City of Atlanta and its schools  and nonprofits seem hellbent on giving him access to captive audiences of the children of Atlanta. 

 What lessons can "the Youths" learn from Genarlow Wilson? 

Lesson 1: Don't Take Any Responsibility for You Actions, Blame "Circumstances" 

Genarlow Wilson's jailhouse letters.

When you hurt and abuse other people, don't take responsibility for your actions, blame the people you were hanging out with. Blame the circumstances and claim that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And by wrong place at the wrong time, I mean hanging out FOR HOURS in a hotel room boozing, drugging, and treating two girls ( one underage) as party favors. 

Lesson No. 2: Don't apologize to your victims and girls are property.

Save your apologies for their boyfriends - saying that if you'd known that she was "their" girl, you wouldn't have commited sex acts on her semi-conscious body. 

Lesson No 3.:Tell Half truths and Omit Essential Facts That Make You Look Bad

Mr. Wilson's team effectively erased the 17 year old girl invovled in the case from existence. They erased her - mainly because Mr. Wilson's actions towards her make him unworthy of being anyone's ( other than a serial rapist) role model. 

Lesson 4: Teach Children that Consent Doesn't Matter

Teach them that you can do whatever you want to other people despite their being handicapped by age, incapacity, disability, being drugged or coercion. Whatever you can get away with goes!

Lesson 5: Teach Children that Acquaintance Rape is Rare and Only Happens in the Presence of a Weapon.

Teach young kids that the only "real rapists" hide in dark bushes and carry out their crimes under knifepoint. Leave them with the impression that unless a gun or a knife is involved, a "real rape" did not occur. 

Atlanta is a "special" city. They do "special" things there.  But even in Atlanta, somebody somewhere has got to have a problem with school chidren being coralled into a room to listen to a convicted child rapist pat himself on the back for not taking responsibility for his bad acts- ALL OF THEM.