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Thoughtful Monday - What Intervention Really Means for BIPOC Communities 04-04-2022

“The verb “intervene” is a strong word, suggesting a range of actions which are supposed to be lifesaving. The assumption is that authorities are expected to “intervene” in order to interrupt an action that is dangerous to the public. But in much of the government intervention endeavors to save people from fires which are started by racism what we see is that instead of putting out the fire, these interventions can place victims directly into the frying pan. For example, Canada’s long-standing practice of apprehending BIPOC children from their homes claiming that their biological parents are unfit and neglectful. Yet these same children who’ve been taken to live with strangers are the ones who end up as missing and murdered victims of human trafficking and other violence. Police call these kids runaways, and do not investigate. Police have never been good at investigating police. Particularly good at labelling us, but they have a blind spot in recognizing our children are victims.

Human beings stripped of human rights are rarely recognized as victims. Merely as low-class, dispensable people. But each missing and murdered Black and Indigenous woman is my sister, and every unarmed man beaten, or shot and killed by police is my long-lost brother or son. This is the painful, inconsolable process of genocide. So-called unfit parents are caught in this trap of economic genocide; being shut out of higher paying jobs, steered into unemployment, or into lower paying jobs designed to exploit human labour. Their progeny are the ones specifically vulnerable to abuse. They need actual life-saving intervention. Yet they are taken out of capitalist fires of neglect and placed into worse situations with no protection. All the careful government records are based on high level secrecy protecting the privacy of whom?

My personal experience with “intervention”, as a Black foster child, comes under the banner of “child protection”. Disguised under that banner are accepted norms of colonial practices used to erase certain cultures and effectively divide families. I discovered in my fifth decade that a biological brother had lived not only in the same town as me when we were children but lived in a house beside the school and church I attended. Yet we never met or even had the chance to glimpse each other, then or to this day. As a youngster he was deliberately sent to a French school on the other side of town; and his other foster siblings were not.

It's all about the uncontested authority of colonialist institutions plus strict privacy rules. The process that separated my bio family strictly ensured we would remain individual strangers. They went to great lengths to ensure two Black children ‘in care’ never bumped into each other. My case had the exact same timelines as the ‘60s Scoop. Indigenous children were also being removed in large numbers from their homes with no way of connecting or making it back to their rightful families.

Authorities paint anyone who questions illogical rules of institutions as subversive troublemakers or worse. But in reality, child welfare was used as a tool to divide and destabilize BIPOC families and uphold colonialized racism. It’s well past time to stop these harmful intervention practices which are clearly the opposite of child welfare and child protection.”

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