Thursday, April 29, 2010

Notes on how the PIC impacts youth

Thanks Naomi!

How does the “War on Drugs” impact young people’s daily lives?
  • Young people are entered into cycle
  • Takes from them—mom, dad, hope
  • Street sweeps
  • Mandatory minimums
  • No financial aid for college with a drug conviction
  • “street culture” is more appealing than school (i.e. school to prison piplining system
  • racial profiling—police state—no hope, apathy
  • no real information about effects of drugs/harm reduction
  • way on drugs—the system’s legal ways to prison
  • border cartels killing whole families
  • what counts as (bad) drugs?
  • $$ spent on enforcing drug laws, lack of funding for education
  • labels young people as bad, dangerous
  • takes away opportunities and resources
  • find other ways to survive under the radar
  • zero tolerance policy

What are some examples of “Quality of life” policing and how does it impact young people?
  • Making parents responsible for $$ for what their children do
  • Accountability: parents
  • Media and how youth are portrayed—young black men are dangerous
  • Hyper surveillance by punitive structures
  • “child protection” = no lights
  • lower quality of life (low Socioeconomic status, racialized bodies, etc)= greater policing and restriction of rightsàtreated as second class citizens àculture of poverty pathology àinternalized hatred and diminished integrity
  • Curfews
  • Gang loitering laws
  • Quality of life when there is no quality

What is the street economy?
  • All of the different ways for youth who are shut out of “legitimate’ ways of making money to survive
  • Social capital—incarceration as credential/rite of passage
  • Age 15—64 arrests--what the F*%# is that? (related to a story about a young trans woman who had been arrested, booked, and then released by the police onto the same corner without connecting her to supports)
  • Selling cigarettes and other drugs
  • Helping each other stay alive
  • Necessity for some
  • Empowering/demoralizing
  • Not a secret to cops, authorities
  • Making money to take care of family
  • Getting money any way possible
  • Criminalized
  • Selling and making DVDs and CDs
  • A method for folks with limited access to resources to live and survive
  • Survival economy
  • Doing/getting what you need to survive

What is Zero Tolerance?
  • External control vs. internal
  • Bad idea
  • Military discipline
  • No second chances
  • Not looking at the whole person
  • Weapons=expulsion (this includes fake weapons)
  • False “public safety”
  • Parents may feel it is the only thing keeping their children safe
  • Population control of black/brown youth, who are the moral ills of the society, the “crack babies”
  • Applied to things like “disobeying authority”, cursing, etc. –vague definitions of what this means but youth are still punished
  • No chance for correction or development
  • A way not to deal with inequalities
  • No difference between the recipient of violence and the perpetrator
  • Divisive
  • The implication that people of color are criminals and should be dealt with to assure public safety

How is the school to prison pipeline playing out in Chicago Schools?
  • “special education” pathologication
  • zero tolerance still visible
  • criminalization of behavior
  • high stakes testing
  • no privacy (searches)
  • assumption that students need constant policing
  • removing students from school by suspensions, expulsions, arrests
  • suspensions are mostly handled by legal department of CPS not principal
  • funding surveillance rather than education
  • youth being labeled “bad” “lazy” and “unmotivated” and then that is internalized—youth starts calling other youth these labels
  • police stations inside schools
  • In Phila: at the start of 2009 school year…(sorry…I couldn’t read it--nm)
  • Requirements to call police for certain kinds of misbehavior
  • Metal detectors
  • No social promotion
  • Lack of resources for students with mental health and disabilities, replicated in prisons
  • The next step from school to prison or jail

  • Unfairly enforced, students of color, LGBTQ students targeted
  • Not considering child development or personal history when defining or trying to change behavior

How can young people organize to combat the PIC?
  • Communicate, dialogue with each other. First many youth may not feel included or aware of how to organize/mobilize
  • Blocks Together security guard organizing campaign
  • YWAT—Suspension Stories
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Youth from around the country come together
  • Youth help get their teachers involved and engaged in dialogue and action
  • Southwest Youth Collaborative—Audy Home Campaign
  • Young Women’s Empowerment Project—Bad Encounter Line
  • Political popular peer education
  • Empowerment pipeline
  • Early prevention workshops, clubs, programs,
  • Knowing their rights. Solidarity; union (students) presence in schools
  • Student Bill of Rights

What is Institutionalization?
  • Intertwined (inextricably) with knowledge (who holds it, who gets to say what is/is not legitimate)
  • Public funding of private corporations
  • Making people conform/fit in to systems, even if those systems are unjust
  • Defining based on assumptions
  • The normalization of behaviors, perspectives, language, etc (even if oppressive)
  • Inability to function without structure coming/being dictated from above
  • Changing culture
  • Systemically deriving agency (police officers, social workers, case workers, corrections officers, teachers, foster care, etc)
  • State intervention
  • Disguises responsibility/accountability
  • Being caught up in the fears of society

How does the PIC impact young people in their daily lives?
  • Fear
  • Hypermasculinity and hegemonic masculinity for MEN of color that perpetuates misogyny and (men’s) violence against women and other gender nonconforming bodies
    • Delusions of manhood!
  • Separates families—children from parents
  • Internalized self hatred
  • Limits beliefs about future and opportunities
  • Trauma
  • Hatred of other youth—talking each other down
  • Climate of violence in schools (verbal, physical, etc)—stressful on mind and body
  • Low self-esteem
  • Creates victims
  • Demonizes young people, their families and their communities and creates severe cycles of internalized oppression

What are some alternatives to calling the police or social service?
  • Project Nia—peace circles, community responsibility to our youth and solidarity, grandmothers group
  • Creative interventions—try something! Organize collectively, center survivor (if desired)
  • The first step should always be to call the youth to the side of you’re comfortable with that and outline how his behavior is disrespectful and impacting you
  • Ask those harmed what they need
  • Involve youth in more processes that directly effect/affect them (communicate) so as to hold all accountable and responsible
  • Get communities to hold people accountable/call people out
  • Call the families—create a school community

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