The 'Adoption and Safe Families Act' and the Clinton's Legacy of Screwing Over African American and Poor Families
While Bill Clinton was President of the United States, his wife Hillary Clinton was influential in getting some bills passed into law, as she personally pushed for them to become law. Democrats get a lot of the black vote, and Democrats "love" the black community for it. It would seem to reason that they would be doing things in favor of African American families, not screwing them over.
Black politicians and pastors line up to support the Clintons, both Bill and recently Hillary. When Hillary was running for president, the usual courting of the black community was in effect, trying to win over their hearts and minds to win the election. Improving the conditions of black people's lives is an important part of politics for the Democrats. Playing the black card is a way to a win in many cases. But the black community has been played over and over by the Clintons.
Bill Clinton won many hearts with his saxophone playing in the Arsenio Hall show. Toni Morrison, a Noble Prize winning author, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University dubbed President Clinton the "first black president". Black voters became loyal to the Democrats over the Republicans, and especially the Clintons. Even when Bernie Sanders was competing with Hillary and campaigning for similar goals as Martin Luther King Jr. with an end to the vast prison system, end to greed, universal healthcare, the black community overall was sticking to the Clintons.
Bill Clinton was supposed to be fighting for an end to racial divide on the campaign trail, but instead chose to play into the right wing against civil rights to embrace a Regan-like agenda on race, crime, welfare and taxes. This was as the black community was losing jobs to outsourced factory work that was disappearing overseas, leaving them unemployed and trapped in racially segregated jobless ghettos.
Unemployments quadrupled and crime rates spiked. To win over the Republican voters to his side, he decided to be tougher on crime, and made sure the black community felt it. After the execution of a mental impaired black man who wanted his last meal's dessert saved for later, Clinton said: " can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime."
The Democrats won the next election with Bill Clinton in the lead, having revamped the economy, but the black community was losing. More blacks were going to jail during his presidency. He may not have started the war of crime or war on drugs -- which was really a war on people, mostly the poor and blacks by extension -- but he made sure the keep those wars going strong. The "three strikes" rule was ramped up in 1994 as he signed a $30 billion crime bill, creating dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for many 3-time offenses, and granted more than $16 billion in grants for state prisons and police expansion.
By 2001 when Clinton was replaced on the way out to be replaced by Republican George H. W. Bush, the U.S. had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. African Americans composed 80-90% of the convictions for drug offense in seven states. Drug offenses were 26 times higher in 2000 for African Americans than they were in 1983. Clinton was the worst contributor to mass incarceration out of all the presidents since 1980.
Hillary Clinton also lobbied for the crime bill of 1994 that hit blacks harder than whites. Statistics of the time tried to say that the Clinton's policies were goof in helping the black unemployment rate, but they didn't include incarcerated people. Harvard sociologist Bruce Western noted:
"Much of the optimism about declines in racial inequality and the power of the US model of economic growth is misplaced once we account for the invisible poor, behind the walls of America's prisons and jails."
Instead of unemployments falling as the media reported, they neglected to mention how the statistics ignored the increase in black men going to jail for new "crimes" that Bill and Hillary pushed for. Crime and welfare policies that the Clinton's pushed for were part of an agenda to appeal to Republicans again, to reduce big government and save taxpayers dollars.
Prisons as the New Federally Funded Home
Instead of helping American's blacks, the funds for public-housing and child-welfare were slashed by billions, and then transfered to law enforcement and prison system. Public-housing funding went down by 61% and the prisons system was boosted by 171%. Sociologist Loïc Wacquant aptly puts it as "effectively making the construction of prisons the nation's main housing program for the urban poor."
Instead of ending cycles of crime and poverty, the Clintons helped keep millions of Americans locked there. Pell grants for higher education while in prison were eliminated. Students with drug convictions were denied federal financial aid. Anyone who had a felony conviction was denied food stamps or welfare.
A "one strike and you're out" became popular, as families with a member who had committed even a minor offense were being targeted for eviction from public housing. People getting out of prison were not welcome home to their poor families, as that would risk them all being on the street. Many urban areas developed a second-class of citizens who were "subject to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, access to education, and basic public benefits". Many families have been torn apart by the end of Clinton's presidency, with generations moving from impoverished homes and schools into high tech prisons.
Hilary Clinton, as First Lady during her husband's presidency, had a large part to play in the reform of the adoption and foster care system, saying"
"I worked with Tom DeLay, one of the most partisan of Republicans, to reform the adoption and foster care system."
The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA)
The reforms came through the law called Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). But, contrary to the name, it's not about adoption or making families safe, as is often the case for the Orwellian newspeak of politicians. The target of this new law was the same as the previous crime and welfare laws: the poor and impoverished, especially women and black women. The goal was to help take children way from their mothers.
The ASFA and child welfare was the justification used to enact a policy of "take-the-child-and-run". Poor, and especially black families, were the most affected, destroying thousands of families through wrongful removal of children which continues to this day.
Families were not made safer. Instead, the foster care system grew as a result of the ASFA. Thousands of children were trapped in a growing foster care population. When the middle-class families didn't take in the drove of kidnapped children, a new generation of "legal orphans" came about. If the ASFA didn't become a law, there would probably have been 100,000 less of these "legal orphans" and more families would still be together.
Just as the crime bill encouraged mass incarceration, the ASFA encouraged a massive foster care system. Both hurt the poor and communities of color. Breaking up Black families resulted in a disruption of the Black community and reinforced stereotypes to excuse and justify further taking children from families.
The appearance of delinquent parents grew. The ASFA had false premises to justify taking children. If you lose a child to foster care, it automatically means you're "a sadist, a brute, or a hopeless addict who puts drugs ahead of the children." Poverty was confused with neglect. Two studies of more than 15,000 cases showed that families that stayed together did better for children than children who were torn away and ended up being mistreated in foster care.
To increase breaking up families of the poor and the black community, an effort was underway to put poor children into orphanages, but that was an unpopular word. Instead, in 1995 Republican polling guru Frank Luntz send a memo to stop using the "o" word. The issue then turned into one of "adoption". Who is against adoption, when you're told there are millions of childless Americans who need adopting? They don't tell you that their authoritarian laws are the ones that created these lonely children. An author of the ASFA, Richard Gelles, remarked on this manipulation, stating:
"The adoption component was a way of sanitizing the bill, to make it more appealing to a broader group of people. Adoption is a very popular concept in the country right now."
States were funded with thousands of dollars per child to reach adoption numbers. That means they needed to take children way from their families to reach quotas and get that sweet dough. Child abuse was already declining, but the foster care system kept growing.
Hillary Clinton was the Democrat that did the most to push ASFA through Congress. But she still held favor with the black community and poor, since that's who Democrats purport to help. If the Clinton's never held power, poor American families would have likely had a better outcome. The abuse in foster care would have been reduced, as less children would have been kidnapped. CPS would likely not have grown so much in power, and families everywhere would be safer for it. Children are being legally stolen from families where they would be better off. The "Adoption and Safe Families Act" is an Orwellian sick joke being played upon American families and children.
Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.
- Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote
- What Hillary Clinton’s terrible foster care law did to poor children of color
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