The Cruelest Form of Racism
by LiaM on October 19, 2015 - 11:43am
In the article entitled “How Racism is Hurting Our Nation's Foster Children”, (Huffington Post, October 15, 2015), DaShanne Stokes discusses how racism is currently scarring the lives of over 400 000 American children who are in foster care. According to the Administration for Children and Families, over 50% of the children entering foster care systems in 2013 were of color. African American children are being taken from their families and put into foster care more frequently than Caucasian children. The AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) reported that in 2012 the average length that African American children stayed in foster care was 29 months. African American children’s stay is averagely 7 months (32%) longer than Caucasian children’s stay in foster care. Not only are children of color more present in foster care but they also receive a different treatment during their stay compared to the other children. Tanya Cooper, a legal scholar and child welfare specialist, states that colored children in foster care are less likely to receive mental health services, they’re less likely to have visits with their parents and siblings, they’re less likely to have services designed for them in order to reconcile with their family, and they’re less likely to have contact with the social workers dealing with their cases. Many times, foster care services reveal loving unions between parents and children from different racial and cultural backgrounds, however, that’s unfortunately not always the case.
This article greatly reminded me of Erin N. Winkler’s article “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”. Since Winkler claimed that children notice race and develop racial biases at a very young age, I started thinking that the coloured children in foster care must realize that their stay is usually much longer than the Caucasian children. It’s shocking how African American children stay in foster care for approximately 7 months more than the other children. Everyday they must see other children reuniting with their families while their case has no progress. This deeply saddens me; I can’t even begin to imagine how these children must feel. In Stokes’ article, Tanya Cooper stated that coloured children don’t receive the same treatment as the other children. This really bothers me because foster care is supposed to provide children with opportunities to be cared for by people who genuinely care. However, while technically the children are being given the same opportunities, racial biases leave the coloured children feeling unwanted and spend more time looking for families to take them in. The color of someone’s skin shouldn’t determine how they get treated and the opportunities they receive. Discrimination against children based on the color of their skin is one of the cruelest forms of racism. It’s upsetting to me because foster care is supposed to give children a safe, loving home where they can try to reconnect with their family; it should be a place where children are able to live in a stable environment. It’s very unfortunate that people aren’t treated equally in this world, because whether you’re a child or an adult racial discrimination is always a hurtful and scary thing.
Stokes, D. (2015, October 14). How Racism is Hurting Our Nation's Foster Children. The Huffington Post.