Race

Children need all the love they can get

September 27, 2013

Many people look back to their glorious childhood days, but those who grew up with a parent behind bars remember only an empty seat during their elementary school parent-teacher conferences.

People connect divorce to separated parents, but the law cuffs many parents and throws them behind bars. VICE‘s Bert Burykill wrote an article that brought this under-the-bed monster into light.

He discussed a children’s book author Anthony Curcio, who left behind two daughters when he almost robbed $400,000 off an armored Brinks truck. One of his books titled “My Daddy’s in Jail” focuses on his (and many others’) situation.

The Pew Charitable Trusts funded a study that says more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers are locked up, leaving behind their youngsters. Black fathers make up more than 40 percent of the incarcerated parent population, which isn’t a surprise seeing that one in nine black males aged 20 to 34 are sitting in a cell.

The issue surrounding police’s racist arrest tactics is a whole other issue I can ramble for hours about, but it directly affects social inequality with black and Hispanic children. One in 36 Hispanic men older than 18 years is incarcerated, according to another study The Pew Charitable Trusts published in 2008.

Police prefer to arrest the brown mother or father. While I understand any party – regardless of race – should be jailed for breaking the law, I also understand how the system keeps its eyes peeled for America’s minorities.

It’s unfair and sickening. I’ve talked about New York City’s particular fetish with arresting black and Hispanics in a previous blog post

Kids need both parents. My dad never went to jail, but he left my family when I was in middle school. It sucks when life’s discrepancies take away a parent — no matter the situation.

However, Curcio’s time away from home changed him for the best. He’s warming children’s hearts with his cute Honeytown series that uses adorable bears to depict colorful and even interactive stories.

Burykill commends Curcio’s efforts and quoted him in his article saying:

“I can never change my past and the crimes I committed, but the worst crime of all would be if I remained the same person I was. Today, I can look myself in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I am a good father and a loving husband, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for being given a second chance.”

Well-written, the article jumped off an interesting and unique angle. The author uses the pseudonym Burykill because his own prison experiences have made him VICE’s prison correspondent. He uses his life’s negative experiences to give readers an exclusive sneak peek into a “criminal” mind. Journalists should take advantage of their one-of-a-kind lives and enrich their stories with them.

Burykill’s doing it right. Curcio isn’t far behind, either.

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