The Criminalization of Black Motherhood, Again

[Content Note: Misogynoir; choice policing.]

Shaker NineOfCups emails, which I am publishing with permission:
Thought you'd be interested in this story out of PA, which touches on criminalizing the decisions impoverished parents make, esp. WOC: A Pennsylvania woman [named Tiffany Cherry] drove her ill infant to the hospital near her family in Boston rather than the local ER - is now facing child endangerment charges and has lost custody of all three of her children because Pennsylvania issued an Amber Alert on her when she didn't go to the suggested ER.

But wait, there's more great reporting here about how she has a lot of unpaid motor vehicle violations and how she once threw her trash into a public housing dumpster. Knowing what we now know about how municipalities use poor people as a major source of funding via traffic citations, the way it ties into this story to paint this mother as a scofflaw is really vile.
Not only is this a reprehensible criminalization of need—as we've seen in public targeting of other black mothers such as Shanesha Taylor, Moina Lucious, Debra Harrell, and Laura Browder, among many others—but it's a gross abuse of the Amber Alert, a system designed to locate missing children, not to punish mothers who exercise their agency to make their own best choices for their children.

And then, with the assist of the media, the state justifies its heavy-handed, cruel, and profoundly racist pursuit of Tiffany Cherry by disclosing her past (minor) criminal violations, which are themselves the products of a heavy-handed, cruel, and profoundly racist system that disproportionately exploits poor people of color.

I cannot state this any more plainly: If a middle-class white mother had taken her child to an emergency room in the town she was from and to which she was soon returning, there is no goddamn way an Amber Alert would have been issued to find that child, nor would her other children be taken away, nor would she be facing charges, nor would there be news articles about whether she had overdue books from the library or whatthefuckever.

This is the criminalization of black motherhood. Again.

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