Tag Archives: youth

Youth of Color Think Stupak is the Pitts Too!

by Latoya Peterson

On Wednesday, I went to check out the National Day of Action to Stop Stupak up on Capitol Hill. Running late and plagued by a persistent and annoying rain, I stumbled upon two other pro-choicers (easily identified by their hot pink signage) and ended up tagging along with them. I found myself in the perfect place – the basement of the Church of the Reformation was also the site of a pro-choice youth meet up. Since my goal was to talk to a diverse group of young activists who have picked up the mantle of fighting for reproductive justice, there was no where better – free food brings everyone out. I’m still working on pulling together the videos and text, but here’s the original (read: rough and unedited) cut from a young activist that epitomizes why so many of us are involved in the fight for Reproductive Justice.

Tishana – Pro-Choicers on Stupak from Latoya Peterson on Vimeo.

(Transcript after the jump.) Continue reading

Prisons: The New Asylum for Youth

By Guest Contributor Leticia Miranda, originally published at RaceWire

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A New York Times article reports that more and more courts are ordering mentally ill youth to jail as community mental health programs are facing bigger cuts and thinning resources.

“We’re seeing more and more mentally ill kids who couldn’t find community programs that were intensive enough to treat them,” said Joseph Penn, a child psychiatrist at the Texas Youth Commission. “Jails and juvenile justice facilities are the new asylums.”

Some judges say they’ll get the help they need in prison. However several lawsuits and federal civil rights investigations in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio and Texas say these prisons neglect and abuse incarcerated youth, a majority of which are youth of color, with mental illnesses, sometimes body slamming them and breaking their bones. While across the country, many of them are over prescribed with drugs sometimes just to help them sleep. But there seems to be little other recourse for some families.

From the article:

According to a Government Accountability Office report, in 2001, families relinquished custody of 9,000 children to juvenile justice systems so they could receive mental health services.Donald has been in and out of mental health programs since he attacked a schoolteacher at age 5. As he grew older, he became more violent until he was eventually committed to the Department of Youth Services.

“I’ve begged D.Y.S. to get him into a mental facility where they’re trained to deal with people like him,” said his grandmother, who asked not to be identified because of the stigma of having a grandson who is mentally ill. “I don’t think a lockup situation is where he should be, although I don’t think he should be on the street either.”

I’m not an expert on prisons or a psychiatrist, but a prison system that thinks about mental illness as a crime is most definitely not any path towards mental health and personal healing.

The Maddening Case of Anthony Harris

by G.D., originally published at PostBourgie

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One of the (many) reasons I oppose the death penalty is because of the shitty track record the criminal justice system has not just in the prosecution of capital offense but also for routinely botching non-capital felony cases. Why should we have faith in the system when it comes to deciding whether people should live or die?

This stance was affirmed when quadmoniker put me on to the case of Anthony Harris earlier today.

On the afternoon of June 27, 1998, Lori Duniver discovered that her five-year-old daughter, Devan, was missing from her home in New Philadelphia, Ohio. The following day, Devan’s body was found in a wooded area near her home. She had been stabbed seven times in the neck. Captain Jeffrey Urban (“Urban”) of the New Philadelphia Police Department led the investigation into Devan’s murder. Urban identified several “persons of interest” who might have killed Devan, including Devan’s mother, Lori, who had recently called a suicide hotline to report that she was depressed and considering harming herself and her children; Lori’s boyfriend, Jaimie Redmond, a drug addict and felon of whomDevan was afraid, who had previously kidnapped Devan for three days and beaten her with a belt, who may have been in the neighborhood of Devan’s house at the time of her disappearance, who was later found in possession of an unexplained pack of children’s playing cards, and whose alibi witness was later discovered to have given a false name and Social Security number to the police; Devan’s father, Richard, a violent alcoholic who had recently complained about having to pay child support for Devan and who refused to help Lori search for Devan after Devan’s disappearance, claiming to be too drunk to drive; Devan’s brother, Dylan, who was described by several individuals as violent and who had recently stabbed a cat; and Harris, a twelve-year-old, African-American neighbor of the (Caucasian) Duniver family.

Some background real quick. Both Anthony Harris and Devan Duniver lived in the same apartment complex in New Philadelphia, Ohio, which was 97% white as of the 2000 census. Anthony and Devan played together, and had once got into a scuffle when the little girl threw a brick at him.

Continue reading

What are kids entertainment execs doing for girls and racial diversity?

by Guest Contributor Rachell Arteaga, originally published at The Majority Post

A member of Women in Children’s Media, I recently had the privilege of attending this year’s 10th annual KidScreen Summit. With just over 1000 attendees and hundreds of speakers from across the country and all over the world, this truly was a Mecca for all those who are in the business of creating kid’s media. I, however, attended as an observer absorbing what I could from workshops that really delved into the inner workings of the content and production of children’s media. I arrived at this three-day extravaganza with one question – what is the kids’ media industry doing to serve girls and children of color?

I couldn’t help but feel frustrated by the answer. While programming aimed at children in preschool and ages 5-7 seem to do their part with shows like Dora the Explorer, Maya and Miguel and Little Bill, ‘tween audiences (ages 8-12) seem to be left in a vast cultural wasteland with a dearth of empowering female role models and an even greater absence of featured children of color. This hole in representation is glaringly more apparent in animation. Dr. Maya Götz, head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI), conducted a study which surveyed television shows throughout the globe. In it, IZI found that “Only 32% of all main characters in children’s television are female. The ratio of male to female characters in animation programmes, especially if the main character is an animal, monster, etc., is as disparate as 87% male to 13% female.” The same study found that “72% of all main characters in children’s television [around the world] are Caucasian.” Continue reading

Slumdog Explotasian Scandal: Fake, Real or Something In-Between

by Guest Contributor Jen, originally published at DISGRASIAN

There’s a new Slumdog Millionaire scandal a-brewing, with the families of two of its child stars claiming exploitasian. The parents of 8 year-olds Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, who play young Latika and Salim in the film, respectively, and are both still living in Mumbai slums, have accused the film’s producers of underpaying their children. (The families also appear to be in the direst of straits: Rubina’s father broke his leg during filming and has been out of work since, and Azharuddin’s father has TB.)

The movie’s distributor, Fox Searchlight, responded by saying that the children were paid three times the average wage of adults in their neighborhoods. Considering their neighborhoods are slums and the average annual income in India is $941, this sounds like a raw deal for the kids. Apparently, a trust fund has also been set up for the child actors that they will be able to access when they are 18, provided they stay in school. Which sounds slightly better, until you start to wonder: Isn’t it pretty fucking impossible to stay in school until you’re 18 when you’re living in a slum in India? The drop-out rate is 30% in America and higher in lower-income areas, so what must it be like in India, where ONE-THIRD of ALL the world’s poor live? This may be a noble plan in theory, but is it even tenable?

Maybe Fox Searchlight and Danny Boyle and Slumdog’s producers have done right by those kids, relatively speaking, but would it be any skin off their noses to do, for lack of a better phrase, more right? What would it cost, a few thousand dollars? That’s nothing to a movie that’s already grossed $62 million.

Entertainment Weekly asked its readers to weigh in on this controversy, and there’s an array of thoughtful ideas on the situation, like how the movie’s overrated, or how the media’s making all of this up, or how these child actors–hell, all of India–is to blame for…um…outsourcing:

And some of you wonder why we don’t allow comments.

[UPDATE: Some backpedaling.]

Poncea, Pokemones, Poncea!

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published at Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

Last week The New York Times reported on the Chilean youth parties known as Poncea Parties (a.k.a. lets make out and dry hump on the dance floor parties). The New York Times is surprisingly late uncovering the Poncea Parties. Even the less cool Newsweek covered the Poncea phenomenon in March! Come on NY Times, step up your journalistic game!

There has been a lot of recent American media coverage about the about this Chilean youth subculture and their (often public) sexual exploration (despite the NY Times’ late discovery). Drawing inspiration from anime, the young Chileans refer to themselves as “Pokemones” and don piercings and flat ironed asymmetrical haircuts. Mostly the American coverage is scandalized to the point of careless reporting.

While the sexual repression of the Pinnochet dictatorship is mentioned in passing as a cause for this sexual awakening and experimentation, the focus seems to be on the perceived sexual deviance of the youth. They are not monogamous, same-sex hook-ups are commonplace, and they are actively breaking down the boundaries between public and private that dictate sexual normativity. I think the American media coverage through coded language is pointing the finger at stereotypical beliefs about Latin American licentiousness and queerness (and please believe they threw in the fact that the kids were grinding to reggaeton) as reasons for the youth’s “bad behavior.” Cast into a national phenomenon, the media has ignored important issues of race and class in participation in the poncea parties. For instance, who has the ability, economically and otherwise, to actually partake in these activities? Whose bodies aren’t policed and survailed? Even if its deemed naughty by the mainstream, it is still dictated by issues of access so not acknowledging that is careless journalism.

Also, by isolating this particular issue of “deviant” youth sex to a Chilean context the American media doesn’t have to face the fact that similar sexual activity happens regularly in schools and suburbs across the U.S. (remember the whole oral sex bracelets a few years ago?). By focusing on youth sexuality and the need for effective sexual education “over there,” we excuse ourselves from doing the work around youth sexuality and education that needs to happen here.

I’m not condoning 14 year-olds giving each other blowjobs on bus benches in Santiago (because that just seems unsanitary), but I am advocating for a more complex analysis of the issues behind these parties. I’m looking for more than “Chile’s disaffected ‘Pokemones’ don’t care much about politics. They’re too busy having sex.”

It’s just not that simple – so stop the simplistic journalism.

*tip of the fitted cap to Guanabee