Session Description: Examining the factors that influence how boys and men of color are perceived across the lifespan and the impact of those perceptions on their life options. Discussion included micro aggressions and brain development that increase vulnerabilities and its impact on the health and juvenile justice system.
Panelists: Kimberly Papillon, Esq; James Bell, JD; Dr. Michael Lindsey
Before we get started download this! Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children.
First thing first. Someone is going to have to explain to me why and how does not some of this work ever make it down to the non profits, school systems and juvenile offices that is doing this work on the ground level. Before going any further, I am jumping the shark right now, research has to find a way to integrate their work into the ground level where the work is getting done. If not it will continue to sit in APA publications, presented and conferences and continued to be seen as things we need to do but have not done.
Ok that said…
Kimberly Papillon presented on the power of Neuroscience and Decision Making
So much was said in her presentation but to sum it up the power of racism and the negative view in which Blacks are seen in society actually negatively impact the health of males as part of their life span. Mental biases towards Black youth play a role in not perceiving them and their actions as children but as adults which results in the disparity of disciplinary issues with not only Black boys but Black girls as well. This view impact individuals in all social service sector and systems.
One of the biggest issues she pointed out is how there is direct evidence regarding skin color and how the darker the child the more punitive the punishment was against him.
Her work pointed out one major thing. We need to be doing far more retraining of those who interact with young people of color in making them aware of the internal biases. Secondly we need to put in specific interventions that can mitigate some of the punitive measures pressed upon Black youth in the school systems and juvenile justice programs.
Speaking of juvenile justice…
James Bell, JD the Founder and Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute http://www.burnsinstitute.org/ spoke directly on the issue and challenge of how the research does not make it down to the ground level. He stated that the juvenile justice system will not improve unless the departments of child welfare, mental health, education and juvenile justice are all at the table working together.
He went on to further express how detention of Black youth does not work and that taking an “inhumane” approach to humanize Black youth through the justice systems. Ultimately he strongly suggested that research must get to practitioners to help change the system if things are indeed going to improve. For that I agree…