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What Happens When Low-Income Mothers Call the Police


What Happens When Low-Income Mothers Call the Police

Monica Bell

Amid the national discourse on policing, it is easy to lose sight of the day-to-day functions that police are expected to perform—the noise reduction, the carrying of groceries, the stopgap plumbing, the parenting support. But so much of their work is that mundane.


Ms. Bell aptly scopes in on "the microcosm." But the macrocosm's structural problems filter down the line.

One of the problems direct from "the macrocosm" is the way wealth is distributed and which programs gain priority as opposed to which ones are trashed.

Another problem is the general punitive tone of too much of society. Rather than open opportunities that would minimize crime and help to alleviate aggressive behaviors (since these are largely a response to no actual alternatives to lives of not exactly quiet desperation), the Prison-Plantation System erected under Shock Doctrine metrics (of Disaster Capitalism) sets up bait and is designed to trap unfortunate souls.

Until the financial priorities are in place that support persons who face major structural challenges and the mood shifts from punitive to supportive measures, those mothers remain caught between a rock and a hard place.

The police may, by nature, be more aggressive than average citizens; but the way they take aim at the inner city "underprivileged" communities is a means of conscientiously feeding warm bodies into a preexisting infrastructure (led by deep pocket prison-building lobbyist firms).

A few decent cops won't change this nexus.


Sioxrose1 As you so often do you've gotten to "the bigger picture" however, no one I know that's working on police accountability (including myself who;'s worked on this issue since 1978 in TX & MN), thinks that "a few decent cops changes" anything! Usually, we're so busy working on the latest murder by cops or getting legal help to someone beaten up (& charges are almost always put on the brutalized person to DISCREDIT them) that WE NEVER GET TO the issues of impoverished communities facing all kinds of issues where they NEED police protection (such as gun violence or violence against women) or the many issues the article raises. While I;m VERY glad to see BLM emerge, we need to make a POSITIVE case too for SOLUTIONS (some IMMEDIATE, some SYSTEMIC) to the challenges these low-income mothers face. For some time, Ive thought that low-income communities should make a movement to demand that the public schools in their neighborhood be the HUB for addressing many of the gaps in unfulfilled needs. Some examples: Every school in these neighborhoods should have a WEEKLY FOOD, SHELF, an urgent care clinic & wellness programs, a social worker to help families connect with drug treatment & counseling, AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS that go until 6pm (majority of juvenile crime happens from 3pm to 6pm) that include a snack, arts, cultural enrichment as well as atheltics & homework time/help. These buildings are paid for by taxes but only really operate Mon,. thru Fri. mostly school hours. They could be EXPANDED to 6 days a week until 8pm for services (with perhaps being made available for Community Events on Sunday. People have to get up and fight for what they need and want. afternoons). They have to demand that "traditional" organizations like NAACP or United Way HELP them in these fights as well as create their own organizations. As I see it, one of the BIGGEST obstacles to low-income communities becoming a lot more ACTIVIST is an attitude I;'ve noticed in the last 10 to 15 years: 1. is the "Will I get PAID to come to that meeting/go to that protest/do anything"? 2. Academics saying "anyone who's an activist is a PRIVILEGED person". The MONETIZING of EVERYTHING as tricked down to street-level. I think of the Montgomery bus boycott where LOW-INCOME WORKERS took a stand for OVER A YEAR.....or sharecropper FANNIE LOU HAMER (who was NOT privileged in ANY sense)...but, the values of MONEY OVER EVERYTHING else has permeated most people. We just had a SHOOTING outside a sale of the new Air Jordan sneakers here in Minneapolis area (luckily no one was seriously hurt or killed). That tells you how far we've fallen. Before I'm told how I'm so privileged: I've been part of the working poor since I left home 40 years ago. People will have to FIGHT for what they need---& you don't get paid for that. Never have, never will,.