My brother is not a girl

My brother

My brother’s not a girl

He’s opened my eyes to a whole new world

Where gender defies form

And black and white is not the norm

He carries a heaviness on his shoulders

One that grows like the size of his tits, as he gets older

Until he can truly look himself in his eyes

And be happy that what he sees matches with what he identifies by

I’m jolted awake when I sleep at night

Headaches from his demons that I’m trying to help fight

Disapproval mounting everywhere

I keep a strong face when I know I’m scared

Afraid not of what people think

But if their pressure took his life from me

If people are too blind to see

Thinking they have the right to “teach”

If he dies I will never forgive you

All of your lies

Look what religion did to you

No second tries

You can’t undo what’s done

Would you rather have him dead as a daughter or alive as a son?

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Race and journalism (though I don’t like to touch on race)

I used to be concerned with racial inequalities some time ago but, like feminism, I’ve kind of stigmatized the groups as too much complaining and not enough changing.

Until…

Someone asked me how I will bridge the gap between the African-American community and media. I initially rejected the inquiry and felt numb when researching this supposed “gap”.

I already had this thinking of, “Here we go, another ‘we can’t help ourselves’ rant,” but I changed my views- if only for a brief period of time.

That’s what I like about journalism. You can go in on a topic and expect to leave with what you thought you would, but you never really do. Journalism is supposed to be a career in which you are always covering something new, therefore, you never stop learning.

However, so many times we choose our stories and shop through sources so that our stories won’t fall flat. That’s not true journalism.

True journalism weaves it’s own path, like water. We don’t make a path for our stories to follow. That would be bad journalism. Real journalism is wild and unpredictable.

The best stories find us, and it’s when we adopt an open mind that we truly learn something new- even if we never set out to.

Race and journalism

I identify myself as an African-American journalist. That alone draws the strings of diversity in the media a little tighter.

 

In 2006, the growing range of races working in news media was stunted at 13.73 percent and has yet to push its way back up to that marker, according to the American Society of News Editors.

 

We can infer that African-Americans comprise an even smaller percentage, since 13.73 percent is representative of all minorities.

 

Receiving my degree in journalism may encourage others in our community to do the same, thus decreasing the race-employment disparity in the media.

 

Not only are there fewer of our demographic employed as journalists, but there are also fewer of our demographic- and an even smaller portion of our young adults- consuming news media.

 

People need someone they can identify with. Being able to have an association with who’s presenting the news generates this thought pattern of, “She’s black and she’s concerned, so maybe I should be, too.”

 

Furthermore, I’d be covering stories that are of importance to our population.

 

Part of the reason why we don’t consume news as much is because we’re not receiving equal representation when it comes to coverage in our community.

 

If we’re covering stories that make the consumer feel like it’s of significance to them then there’s this automatic interest in learning more, thus propelling our population to be more informed and more involved by engaging with the news.

 

There are so many stories that go untold in our community, but journalists are supposed to be giving a voice to the voiceless. I think it’s time that the media takes us off of mute.

Racial Discrimination: from the discriminator’s perspective

Many of today’s population knows very little of the Aryan Supremacists. We seem to keep the topic at an “arms distance”. By doing so we may make wrongful assumptions and develop stereotypes. We tend to take on the perspective of the discriminated but pay very little attention to the discriminators. Such an example is present in the ever-popular Diary of Anne Frank. Black Sun, a non-fiction literature written by Nicholas Goodrick-Clark, takes on the very perspective of the discriminators. Black Sun covers every aspect, in great detail, of Aryan ideology.

            In Black Sun, Goodrick-Clarke discusses the many groups of white supremacy. One denomination of white supremacy is known as the Indo-Aryans. Indo-Aryanism embraces the principles of Hinduism. The Indo-Aryan religion adopted Hindu doctrines, which were promoted by the Indo-Aryan leader, Savitri Devi. Savitri Devi was known as the Hindu prophetess of Indo-Aryanism. Her ideas greatly influenced the neo-Nazi in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. Indo-Aryans took on the practice of Tantrism, which was more of a main focus to the Indo-Aryan leader Julius Evola. Julius Evola was a traditionalist fascist, notorious for his massacre bombing in Italy. Tantrism was all about breaking bonds. An important belief of Tantrism was not to ejaculate during intercourse. By doing so, they believe you can channel the energy of an orgasm away in order to acquire the supreme consciousness of the cosmos. Indo-Aryans also adopted the Hindu Cycle of The Ages, which in which its followers believe in the reincarnation of life on earth every 4.1 to 8.2 billion years. The reincarnation is broken down into four stages with descriptions so you can tell the current stage. Julius Evola and Savitri Devi both belief we are living in Kali Yuga, or the Dark Age, where everything is corrupt, Aryan traditions are lost, and there is cosmic imbalance.  The only way to retain cosmic balance is by insuring survival of the Aryans, who have cosmic divinity, and killing off all others. Indo-Aryans also believe in a caste system in which Aryans are placed at the top and other groups such as the Daysus, which are described as apes or slaves, are lower on the scale. They back their caste system with a tale of Ayran survival during the Ice Age in which they migrated from their Atlantic homeland to Asia, India in particular, killing off every “other” they encountered. This also explains why they derive their beliefs from Hinduism, which is mainly practiced in India where it has been said that the Aryan tradition lived the longest.

            Another type of religion is Hitlerism. People who embrace Hitlerism see Adolf Hitler, who was known for the massive slaughter of the Jews, as Messiah. A lot of influential leaders were Hitlerist. Such leaders include America’s Neo-Nazi figure, George Lincoln Rockwell, Hindu prophetess Savitri Devi, and Rockwell’s successor, Matthew Koehl. Part of Rockwell’s practice was to praise his homemade Hitler shrine. Matthew Koehl stated Hitler was Messiah, the Nazi chiefs where his disciples and the war was Hitler’s crucifixion. Savitri Devi contributed to Hitlerism by making a Hitler version of the Lord’s Prayer. Many believed in the Second Coming of Hitler, which is supported by his passage, which says when all war breaks out against the enemy he will return. People believed Hitler attained the power many sought and that he was possessed by a demon. His best friend gave his report of a turning point in which Hitler was never the same again. All other religions were fashioned after Hitler. He was the first major figure to stand up for Aryan power. Hitlerists visit his homeland to stand on “holy” ground in wishes to attain some magical power. People of this religion encourage war in hopes of his return.

            Besides Nazi’s in Germany, Neo-Nazism is the other form of white power most American’s know. From KKK’s to Black Metal, all are sub diversions are neo-Nazis’. George Lincoln Rockwell was known as the founding father of neo Nazism. He established many groups including WUNS (World Union National Socialists) and published many periodicals promoting the Savitri Devi, Hitler, and the Jewish conspiracy. His organizations performed many violent acts including bombing a synagogue, and he even rewarded a member for punching Martin Luther King Jr. in the face. After threats were posed to him and his associates his family and major organization funder deserted him. It was after this in which he began to perform insane acts such as making a Hitler altar and praising it. According to Clarke, the uprising of the American Neo-Nazis was a direct result of the immigration of minorities to America after the Civil War. Immigrants migrating to America made whites feel as if their territory was being taken over. When typically “white” jobs started being occupied by other races they began to feel unstable. In result, they began to cluster together into hate groups in an attempt to solve their identity crisis through, what they defined as self-defense. In addition, they adopted the Germans suspicions of Jews and their New World Order. The Jewish conspiracy book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, aided as concrete evidence to their beliefs. They looked to Hitler’s ways as a guideline to ensure their identity and racial survival. Hitler Cults formed in which Nazi symbols were sported and the signature Hitler wave was used. The most violent of Neo-Nazis were known to be the Black Metal groups and the skinheads. Black metal groups wrote songs of hate and even so, this is one major way racism was projected to the masses through the media. Both of these groups’ goals were only one thing, to kill all other races.

            The next two groups of white power are one in the same yet different at the same time. These groups are defined as the Christian Nazis and the Nazi Satanists. Christian Nazis were said to have developed as a result of affirmative action towards Nazi political groups. The jailing and punishment of Nazi extremists backed some into conforming to an acceptable practice of religion. The acceptance of diverse cultures in the U.S. made them feel embattled and in reaction these Christian Nazis marginalized themselves. The Christian Nazi religion is built on basic Christian principles underpinned with racial theology of white identity and supremacy. They believe they are Gods kinsmen sent to earth to rule. They also believe that the Bible is their Aryan history book. These religious churches are the center of isolated and hidden communities in the U.S. Communities for whites only and are fenced off. Nazi Satanists on the other hand, is said to be the extreme revival of cultic fascism. Major leaders of Nazi Satanism were Timothy LaVey and Michael A. Aquino. Aquino and LaVey had very different beliefs in Satanism. LaVey saw Satanism as a symbol of a man’s egoism. However, Aquino believed in a real objective Satan. Aquino eventually led a major rebellion against LaVey. People backed their Satanism by the Book of Satan, which is said to have a “survival of the fittest” Social Darwinist influence. In the 1970’s, members of these Satanist churches grew vastly. Between 1967 and 1970 the church population was reported to have grown by two thousand people. Major tools used in this religion were pentagons, black candles, and spells. Like all other Aryan denominations, Nazi Satanism believes in the Jew conspiracy and their plan for a New World Order. Their main goal was to murder in hopes of ushering in a new aeon of imperialism. David Myatt was a big influence in recruiting Nazi Satanists through his publishing’s throughout the 1990’s.

            Throughout Black Sun, all of these groups contain myths and conspiracies, which guided the Aryan groups’ actions. A whole chapter is even dedicated to Nazi myths. The popular myth that divine demonic forces possessed Hitler led many to idolize him as the Messiah. A former friend reporting his turning point in which Hitler’s face grew pale and he dropped his once-favored artwork and began isolating himself. He said it was as if it was not him anymore, as if someone took a hold of his body. Others claimed Hitler once possessed the Spear of Destiny, the spear that stabbed Jesus’ side. It is said that whoever possesses is has the power to control the world. Another popular myth was that Nazis have a secret connection with a hidden solar system known as Aldebaran and that the black sun of that solar system feeds Aryans their superior power. The invention of UFO’s proved this myth even further. Circa 1950, people began to report sightings of UFO’s. The UFO’s connections to the Nazis came when a German engineer reported that he constructed a blueprint for an aircraft exactly like the ones being sighted. However, his blueprint got into the hands of someone else when he ditched his work because of an invasion in Germany. From there Russians got hold of his doings and carried out his work claiming it as theirs. Majority of the populations was led to believe that UFO’s were proof that Nazi powers were real. The media influenced their belief with the massive publishing of sci-fi books based on UFO’s and Nazi connections. The most popular Nazi sci-fi publisher was William Landig. He and many others even went on search parties to find these UFO’s that were rumored to be hidden in secret societies such as Antarctica. It was concluded that Nazis had to have advanced technology in order to construct something so ahead of their time. This advanced knowledge proved their superiority and also led many to construe that Nazis had secret connections with the aliens of Aldebaran. Also, in order to harbor something so huge with it going unnoticed, they had to have a secret society, underground in the Atlantic. The Atlantic was always known as the homeland of the Aryans as expressed in the Indo-Aryan tales of the Ice Age. The invention of these UFO’s only provided even more concrete evidence of Nazi theorists. Nazis concluded that only an advanced superhuman race could invent such a thing at a time when technology was not advanced enough to do so.  UFO mythology even identifies Germans as the master race. The main factor driving Nazis against the Jews was the Jew conspiracy theory that they have planned to take over the world and force a New World Order. This belief was mainly derived from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Believers claim that Jews are secretly running the U.S. government, which is why equal rights were enacted, as well as other historical occurrences. To Nazis everywhere, Jews have the notoriety of being the “Spawn of Satan”.

            From my point of view, Nazism’s main cause was their identity crisis paired with their paranoia. Nazis developed insane beliefs, which have become deeply rooted in their society. This is especially evident during the post-war era. After the civil war many immigrants poured into predominately white areas causing confusion and surprise. The majority of the population felt invaded and marginalized, especially when immigrants began to occupy their jobs. These people were not used to change and therefore became resistant. I believe their superegos were dominating their personality and, in turn, they felt justified in carrying out their violent acts. Aryans around the world banded together forming Aryan denominations with similar goals but different ways of achieving them based on their cultural background. In attempt to protect their territory and ward off the unwanted, they responded in extreme measures and expressing the significance importance of their race. They used basic ideas from their leading examples, Adolf Hitler and Savitri Devi. A major basic belief was the caste system, which placed Aryans at the top. They used Darwinism and their Ice Age theory to prove their superiority. So many ideas were fashioned after Hitler, their first major active leader to defend the Aryan race. People began to see him as righteous and divine, along with his self-expression that he was the chosen one. The main drive of Nazism was to exterminate all other races. Jews had priority in this exterminating process because of the increasing power they were gaining over the world. The paranoia of such Nazi conspiracy myths gave way to even more myths such as underground worlds, cosmic power, and Hitler’s resurrection. Paranoia drove Nazis main leaders to insanity whose outlets were Satanism and absurd acts. I believe Hitler was mentally ill yet genius enough to influence the masses. He became paranoid which led him to lash out violently against invisible enemies in order to ensure his protection. He even saw himself as God so eventually he would turn against all thinking he was the only divine one. Others wanting to maintain Aryan progression saw Hitler’s fight for the Aryan race and modeled this insanity by performing rash acts, such as bombing synagogues and performing black magic.

            All in all, I believe Black Sun was an extremely informative book. It helped me become familiar with why Nazis and other denominations carry out their acts but also puts me in their shoes. By reading this book I am able to draw conclusions about the Aryan Supremacists, but not only that, but able to back my opinions with the known facts I would have not come to know without reading Black Sun. My only wish would be that the other not go into great detail about minor figures and the many different periodical, which I found insignificant, and confused me about the overall point of some chapters a bit. I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t agree with white supremacists, from those strongly opposing them to even mildly opposing them. My only suggestion would be to enter it with an open mind and let your knowledge of races diminish, yet, like a participant observation study, know your limits. By reading this book I took on the sociological perspective by keeping an open mind, ridding of my bias, and taking on the perspective of the marginalized.

Not Just Black and Blue: The Many Shades of Domestic Violence

-So interesting to look at how you’ve written in the past…

Domestic violence is a serious issue in America. It’s constantly being brought up in the tabloids with celebrities like Faizon Love and Chris Brown committing such offenses. It wasn’t really until the case with O.J. Simpson that the majority of people began to acknowledge the seriousness of such a crime. Movies like “Enough”, starring Jennifer Lopez, serve as a peephole inside the lifestyle of a domestic violence victim. However, what many don’t realize is that the experience of domestic violence is different depending on various factors, such as race and class. Various socialization factors specifically affect women of color in a harmful disproportionate way.

It’s prevalent that people that have not been involved in domestic violence must first understand the dynamics. Domestic violence isn’t just an occurrence that springs upon people. I like to think that it takes many by surprise. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate; its victims come in all shapes, shades, sexual orientation and sizes. Some are men but most are women. Its repercussions may be visible on some people while others hide behind a smile, but many never really see it coming. In revealing some of the telltale signs of an abuser, I hope that I may prevent someone from experiencing this torment in the future.

The Creative Communication’s Group provides a “wheel” that alludes to the characteristics of a potential offender. Violent persons may use intimidation to abuse their victims. They may give evil looks and break objects or hurt animals. Emotional abuse, such as putting someone down, is considered abuse also. Abusers usually isolate their victim from family and friends by monitoring and limiting the victim’s activities. Denial of actual abuse is also something that may occur. Children can be used against the abused in igniting feelings of guilt for destroying a family. Using monetary advantage can also happen to invoke feelings of helplessness. Also, threats of suicide can be used to get a victim to cooperate. These are the most common signs of a potentially violent relationship, but of course there are many others.

Being a victim of domestic violence has allowed me to learn the metaphor of this crime so that I may share it with you. A building storm is the symbol of abuse in relationships. At first, everything seems fine: the sun is shining bright. Then the clouds begin to appear as tension builds and this is the smallest sign of a storm. As the tension continues to build, more and more clouds come in. Next the full out abuse happens: the storm is here. After the storm, the abuser is apologetic and sweet as if nothing ever happened and this is known as the calm after the storm. Sooner or later, another storm will return because this is a vicious cycle.

On top of such setbacks, many believe that these women did something to deserve these circumstances. I can recall my grandmother placing the blame on my mother for ending up in a domestically violent situation. My grandmother voiced that it was because my mom associated with the wrong people, didn’t get an education, and liked getting “beat” on that she was abused. Fast forward to now, as I currently go to counseling for being in an abusive relationship, I have learned that leaving is not so simple.

Many women are trapped in these situations because of various factors. Some women are financially bonded to their partners. If they leave, they escape to nothing: they have no home, no job and no security. This is demonstrated in the movie “Enough” where Jennifer Lopez is forced to change locations, quit her job and alter her and her daughter’s identity. Upon calling a domestic violence hotline, I came to find that my only options were to quit school, leave my job, and live in a shelter. My options were very much the same as Jennifer Lopez’s in “Enough”.

In other situations, women stay because of the children. The nurturing woman doesn’t want to damage the psyche of their offspring, but little do they know that it’s already been damaged if the children have witnessed the abuse. Children who grow up in a violent household tend to grow up and be abused or become abusers. This example is greatly demonstrated in The Reckoning from This Bridge We Call Home. Joy, the victim, stays because of her hope that things will get better and because she is pregnant with his child. She in fact refers to her childhood, during which her mom was abused by her father. I can connect with her in this sense because I, too, grew up in a violent household and went on to become a victim. I never would have thought I would wind up in the same situation, but it creeps up on you. Our relationship lasted for three long years. Another main reason a woman may stay is because they think it will get better, but any counselor will tell you that’s not the case.

To begin, African-American women struggle with being seen as a “victim of circumstance” in domestic violence situations. African-American women have a hard time being seen as victims because of the stereotypes that are placed upon them. For example, many of these victims are seen as being loud and aggressive and people instantly come to the conclusion that they can defend themselves. This is not the case with pop star Rihanna, and I believe that’s because she is well known and liked. In Lisa M. Martinson’s “An Analysis of Racism and Resources for African-American Female Victims of Domestic Violence…” the explanation is given that individuals of this demographic are viewed as the typical “strong black woman” and therefore she has to prove that she is a victim. The white female domestic violence victim, however, is known to be petite and frail and has no issue projecting her image as the victim.

To add further evidence, the television show 48 Hours did a segment on domestic violence and only one of the seven women was of African-American descent. Furthermore, all six women were given the chance to express their stories while the female of color was nameless and only had a picture of her battery as a testimony. The audience was not granted the chance to get to know her through her story and probably lost the chance to emotionally connect with this lady.

Like African-American women, Indian women experience domestic violence differently as well. Joy Harjo provides a look into the Indian life of violence to us in her essay, The Reckoning. Such issues that alter the experience of domestic violence for Indian women vary as much as any other culture’s involvement in domestic violence does. She faces pressure from the standards of other Indian tribe, for example, she tries to gain support from the women’s resource center but she is shunned by the feeling that Indian women with children weren’t welcome. I believe that all too often the Indian community becomes exposed to domestic violence. There is said to be a gene that causes Native Americans to be more susceptible to alcoholism and the American Journal of Natural Genetics backs this statement up. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reveals that when domestic violence occurs there are usually high levels of intoxication involved.

To add on to the African-American and Native-American experience, Hispanic women are no less excused from going through the experience of abuse differently than any other race. In fact, in addition to encountering the circumstances listed in the wheel, Latina women face additional barriers according to a website titled SafeHarbor.  Women of this descent face a language barrier. This can also be an issue in other cultures as well, but the thought of having this barrier, altogether, never crossed my mind. This can prohibit them from seeking help and limits their options for services to turn to. In addition, there are many immigrant victims, whose main worry is getting deported, not ending the violence in their life. Many of these women are not aware of the laws that protect them and 48 percent of this demographic noticed that this violence increased once the woman becomes an immigrant. The final, and perhaps most important, type of barrier is the cultural one. Many Hispanics have a strong sense of family and will go through amazing depth to hold their family together.

Like Hispanic women, Asian women also face many obstacles. The history of Asian people has put women at a disadvantage in violent situations. Many Asian women’s ancestors have been taught that punishment is acceptable because they received corporate punishment. This may be where the acceptance of violence stemmed and branched out from. In addition, many Asian women develop a sense of identity from being attached. For example, they take pride in being a wife and a mother. In addition the woman wants her in-laws to like her and she worries that she may lose their respect if she reports such a matter and brings shame to the family. Needless to say, the language barrier may be another factor.

Like all of the other ethnicities, Caucasian women aren’t excluded from the difficulties that consume the other races. Many people assume that the white household is perfect, the American dream. Caucasian women are known to fall under pressure in trying to live up to these standards. I doing so, they may hide their abuse. Many other women of the same race may judge the victim. Also, Caucasian women don’t want to be categorized with “them”. As mentioned before, violence doesn’t have a preference.

To further expand on the different experiences based on demographics, another perspective that people fail to look at is the homosexual person’s perspective. Some may brush off same-sex violence just because it’s a dispute between the same sexes. In 2002 Arizona has on record on death from same-sex domestic violence while New York has five, and there are just the recorded incidents (many do not get reported). Even more shocking is that, in 2003 and 2004, between 45 percent and 47 percent reported having more than 10 prior domestic violence incidents. Without need for being said, many victims continue to attach to new partners who are also violent. The U.S. Department of Justice also found in a survey that same-sex partners reported more violence in their relationships than did heterosexual couples.

Still, many people today don’t fully understand the impact of domestic violence. Domestic violence affects future generations when children witness this occurring as they grow up and they are become the victim or the aggressor. It also interferes with the workplace as this type of violence causes decreased productivity, absenteeism, turnover and more. The total cost to American companies mounts up to five billion dollars (MINCAA). Moreover, at least one person dies every week from domestic violence.

Common steps to addressing domestic violence include taking legal action, going to a shelter and getting support through counseling. However, I personally know it’s not that easy. Courts can jail a person for only so long and restraining orders can only do so much. I can recall my ex waiting for me outside of my house when he got released from jail and I had a restraining order, when I tried to call the police he just threatened me out of it. Also, when going to a shelter I believe that victims shouldn’t have to sacrifice their lives to get away from violence. Upon calling a hotline I was told to leave work and school and check into a shelter. It’s like punishing the victims for being abused. Instead I think that abusers should be admitted to a rehabilitation facility. Putting these people in a detention facility does nothing but punish them, but they still come out with the same issue. I think that having them in rehab or a wrap-around facility will help.

In addition to developing new solutions, it’s also important to address common misconceptions. Many believe that drugs, alcohol and stress are the main cause of abuse, but these are just factors that go along with it. In short, they are just an excuse to resort to the violence. Others believe that this violence is an issue between a husband and wife but www.domesticviolence.org states that 40-60 percent of children in these households are abused. Moreover, 30 percent of all female murders in 1996 were due to domestic violence. It really is something that affects the whole community.

In all, this research was very educational. There are many differences of the experience of abused based on race, but in class we clarified that such issues are a result of cracks in societal structures that have not yet been addressed. I used to think that I was just another statistic in the case of domestic violence. Now, it is apparent that we are not just victims lumped together in a group. Each and every case is unique. We make up a rainbow in the spectrum of an ongoing violent fairytale and I have developed a deeper appreciation for each demographic that has been abused.

 

It’s a kind of cliché saying, but the youth is our future. They will soon grow up and occupy the jobs that we once had and their decisions will affect the outcome of our lives later on. With more and more U.S. children entering “the system” it is important to examine this niche in our population. From the outside, the system (which mainly consists of group homes) seems like a place that betters our adolescents. However, more often than not our youth become worse off.

Lets start with the psychotropic medications that are administered. 20/20 did an excellent job on uncovering the issues within this realm. Too often are these foster children prescribed high dosages of medications and have adverse affects within various aspects of their lives. I was reminded of this last night while I was working at a group home based in San Diego. One of the clients went into a hysterical cry as she sprawled out on the floor, shaking. I was at a loss for the cause of this reaction when I realized that she had made a fast switch over from Depakote to Lithium. The administrators of such homes tend to have too much going on to notice (or maybe even care) that an overuse of psychotropics has occurred.

Drugs are not the only main factor in keeping our youth and future at-risk, there’s also environment. Stable schooling and people are needed in their lives. However, with under paid childcare workers constantly opting to switch jobs it’s nearly impossible to meet that standard. Then, if it’s not the workers milling in and out then it is the movement of the child from one facility to another, which most likely gives way to halting their education and switching schools as well. The goal is to make a group home replicate a healthily functioning family home as much as possible, but you tell me what normal home closes your bed after running away for a couple of days? This happened to a 15-year-old last month and she came home to find out she had no home. Granted, there is supposed to be some type of discipline so that the child learns that such behavior isn’t acceptable, but what “normal” home would detach from the child so quickly?

Then there is the ethic. There is this unwritten rule that has been established within the home that the workers aren’t supposed to bond (or “get too close”) with the “clients”. I thought the whole purpose was to develop trust and connections while maintaining boundaries. On my first day working at a group home, I walked in the room and asked them about the music they were listening to. I noticed that my co-worker eyed me warily and the next day my boss let it be known that we are to keep our distance- as if they are some type of dangerous species. I do know that if you develop a relationship where the person sees you as a friend then there can be issues. It is always important to know the cut-off of your relationship with the adolescents.

What also needs to be taken into consideration is putting individuals with unhealthy lifestyles together. Habits of one person may rub off on another and vice-versa. The staff and counselors are to act as role-models too, however  I don’t believe our influence equally balances out the bad influence.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not some self-badgering individual who hates her job. I am not blaming the faults on the shoulders of the group home, administration or government policy alone. I have tried my way of doing things (that conforms to the rules too) as well as the official way and I’ve seen the difference. When you give a piece of your personal self to these children it establishes a trust within the relationship. Most just want to be heard and to be recognized as an individual. County therapists and mentors have noticed that the youth gravitate towards me and acknowledge that I truly care. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a rough childhood and can relate. Maybe not. I think it truly does take a village to raise a child, but that village (the staff, administrators, government, etc.) must learn to work together.

Image

Photo Credit

© 2012, AMBER MCKINNEY. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license,

(Which means you can share and repost this as long as you attribute it to muah! ;D)

Our Future: At-Risk