Shanesha Taylor And The Peculiar Prosecution Of Black Women In This Country

March 24, 2014  |  


The mere fact that there is not a single petition or Twitter hashtag aimed at freeing Shanesha Taylor tells me how little regard we place on how racism affects black women.

If the name doesn’t sound familiar, her story just might ring a bell. From the CBS affiliate in Scottsdale Arizona, this is Taylor’s story:

It’s unclear if an Arizona mom got the job she was interviewing for, but after a witness found her children, ages 2 years and 6 months in a hot car outside, she now faces child abuse charges.

Scottsdale police said a witness heard a crying child inside a Dodge Durango parked in an office complex parking lot at 9700 N. 91st St. in Scottsdale about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. The woman reported to police the two young children were inside the vehicle parked directly in the sun, with the engine off, the doors closed and each of the four windows were just slightly open.

The mother, Shanesha Taylor, 35, returned to the vehicle about 45 minutes later and told the officer she had just finished a job interview and did not have anyone to watch her children.

“She was upset. This is a sad situation all around. She said she was homeless. She needed the job. Obviously not getting the job. So it’s just a sad situation,” said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark. 

She was arrested and booked into jail for child abuse.

Her children are now in CPS custody.”

Yes, it is extremely sad – and desperately dangerous – for a mother to leave her two small children alone in a vehicle. It’s even more sad and just as dangerous that we lock up a woman, whose sole crime is being homeless with children.

And Shanesha Taylor is not alone. I read stories daily of black women being mistreated by law enforcement and jailed for peculiar reasons. From the trivial, including the unbelievably silly stories of black women being arrested and jailed for wearing thongs on the beach, to the more heartbreakingly sad story of the black mother who was arrested and even incarcerated for sending her child to the wrong school district, and other odd reasons in between. In very few of those occasions do these stories ever occupy the national black conscious beyond casual expressions of sympathy (i.e. “that’s so sad…”). In many instances, these peculiarly-arrested black women are likely to be vilified and implicated in their own miscarriage of justice by the community-at-large.

Honestly, I feel that if not for the Marissa Alexander case being in such close proximity to the Trayvon Martin case – both in locale and in timing – would we really care about her story at all? Honestly?

Missing from most conversations around incarcerations are the statistics, which show how black women are the fastest growing prison population in the country and how the lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for black women is 1 in 19; compare that with 1 in 118 for white women. Also missing is how young black girls are “disproportionately affected by punitive, zero-tolerance policies,” which contribute to the much discussed (but never in terms of female children) school-to-prison pipeline. In this report entitled “Race, Gender and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Expanding Our Discussion to Include Black Girls,” Monique W. Morris cites research, which found that teachers perceived black girls as being ‘loud, defiant, and precocious’ and that black girls were more likely to be reprimanded for being “unladylike” (including behavior described as loud, defiant and precocious) than their white or Latina peers.

Likewise, there is little talk about our current welfare policies and practices, particularly how the Department of Human Services and the justice system often work together to strip mostly black and poor women of their autonomies and rights as mothers – and it happens all in the name of protecting the welfare of children. According to this Frontline report, black children in the child welfare system are placed in foster care at twice the rate for white children. In this UCLA Law Review article entitled “Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers” Dorothy E. Roberts poignantly points outs this:

As neoliberal policies strip poor African American neighborhoods of needed services, poor and low-income black mothers tend to receive child welfare support only when they have been charged with child maltreatment. An African American woman I interviewed in a black Chicago neighborhood poignantly captured this fundamental problem with U.S. child welfare philosophy:

[T]he advertisement [for the child abuse hotline], it just says abuse. If you being abused, this is the number you call, this is the only way you gonna get help. It doesn’t say if I’m in need of counseling, or if . . . my children don’t have shoes, if I just can’t provide groceries even though I may have seven kids, but I only get a hundred something dollars food stamps. And my work check only goes to bills. I can’t feed eight of us all off a hundred something dollar food stamps . . . I don’t want to lose my children, so I’m not going to call [Department of Children and Family Services] for help because I only see them take away children.”

When I read about the Shanesha Taylor case, I can’t help but to think how she, as a homeless mother trying to land employment, felt in that moment about relying on the system for help? And with all the talk from Washington about cuts to welfare, was the system even an available option? I also wonder how prosecuting her actually serves in the best interest of these children? What could be gained from turning their mother into a criminal, which will now pretty much guarantee that she will never hold a job again? How does traumatically ripping them from their mother’s arms and placing them into the unpredictable foster care system act in their welfare? In this peculiar justice system, which seems to punish poor women for the crime of being poor and of few options, we have contributed to the overall economic and familial instability of the most vulnerable members of society: the children we are supposed to be protecting.

Another statistic to note comes from the American Civil Liberties Union website, which says that girls of color who are victims of abuse are more likely to be processed by the criminal justice system and labeled as offenders than white girls, who are more likely to be treated as victims and referred to child welfare and mental health systems. There is no denying that race too plays a part in how we view black women and their encounters with the justice system. Even more of a reason why Shanesha Taylor deserves our support and the benefit of the doubt.

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  • LarryH

    This whole story was based on making people feel sorry for this women because of her circumstances and that she is black.
    It would be understandable if she arrested for wearing thongs on the beach
    or some other stupid thing along that line. In this case race is not the
    question nor is it an excuse for her actions and poor decisions. When it comes
    to putting children in harms way it’s the function of the brain that makes the
    decision not the color of a persons skin.

  • lolwut?

    I bet complaining about what she did with the money given to her was “Racism” also right?

  • pippet

    first this. F the world monitors. mind your own fekkin business its a crime keeping her from her kids for 2 months.
    second this. why you people gotta ring the race bell every time a black person gets
    arrested do your research. in the last 3 years in la, 4 white people
    arrested for same thing.

  • BritneyG

    White, black, brown or purple, it was a very bad and illegal decision she made. This as a very poor example to cry race on.

  • Martin Von Tray

    If this woman is homeless and jobless, why is she still having kids? Couldn’t the father(s) watch the kids when she went on the interview? The race card has been played so much it has no meaning anymore.

  • Charlene Basden

    It’s not racism! She wasn’t arrested for going to an interview! She was arrested for leaving two little kids in a hot car!

  • Kristy

    She’s got over $80,000.00 now, does that make you feel better about people not sympathizing with the woman?

  • Sly Fox

    I’m sorry but this is not about a woman of color being mistreated(?) by police..or jailed for “peculiar reasons” it is about COMMON SENSE,MORALS and ETHICS. Her crime wasn’t being homeless…it is being a moron who neglected her children for OVER 45 minutes in a hot car without water, food or AIR. Parked directly in the sun..she couldn’t find shade..seriously?? This article however is peculiar. There is no way this piece should have been given the green light as far as professional journalism goes and really takes credibility away from this site, sorry to say.By the way for those of you unfamiliar with Arizona..North Scottsdale is one of the wealthy areas…This is all BS and she ought to be think people are actually DONATING money to this beast?

  • Bea Houseoffashion

    One thing blacks folks know how to do is judge and do nothing for others.

    Some of these comments are heartbreaking to say the least.

  • JJ

    This story makes me incredibly sad. For all those saying that she “coulda, shoula, woulda…done something else”. You don’t know how hard it really is to get help. Shelters are filled to capacity, social service agencies are out of funding and a host of other issues that are inherently wrong with the system. All this woman needed was a job, so she could provide for her children. Was it right to leave her children in the car? No. Should she get felony charges for it? Hell No. She made a mistake and now she’s in jail and her kids are going to be traumatized by going through the very broken and often horrendous foster care system. How is this good for them? Even if they were living in a car, they had the comfort of having a Mother who loves them, now they will be put into the care of strangers who probably care more about the nice tax break they’re going to get.

  • Deacon_Sam1

    In this circumstance, a white woman would have gotten the same treatment. Society is very unsympathetic to those who put small children at risk, regardless of circumstances and race of the parent.

  • ray

    it’s funny when women get abortions because they wont be able to care for a kid every and the mammy judges ro tries to stop her fromlegally doing so…then whenshe has the kid..falls on tuff times aint nobody tryna help. smh.

    we should be collecting money to give to this lady to get back on her feet. she was obviously TRYING. who knows how many damn job interviews she she went to and didn’t get the job.

  • A

    If this society is going to spend money locking up the mother, persecuting her and placing the children in foster care, why not spend that money upfront by offering the mother child care so she can go and get that job and not be on the public system. What good does it do to throw all the resources into persecuting this woman when those resources could have been used upfront? From a purely economic standpoint, I don’t see the point.

  • Salina

    Have any of you who are saying she is wrong been homeless or atleast raised by a single parent who struggled? Do you know what the world feels like without the help or presence of family? Do you know what it feels like to look at your children the loves of your life and see them hungry. I highly doubt it. I also highly doubt the children were completely unable to get out of the car. There was no report that the children were not left with water or what they needed. There was no report of the children suffering heat stroke or injury. For all we know the child was crying for any number of reasons children cry. The point of this article is to highlight that the woman was yes arrested but more importantly Charged. There is a big difference. The point is that rather than the powers that be offering some type of assistance to an obvious desperate situation they simply throw her in jail and put her children in the system to deal with gods knows what. She isn’t a criminal she is alone. And after reading many of your comments more articles like this need to be written because the profound ignorance is astonishing. If she was found buying drugs or at a liquor store I can see how she could be completely wrong. The woman was trying to get a damn job.

  • John Schmidt

    Every time a black person wants to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, its racism. Its not there fault. They don’t like black people. This lady is at fault no pity here.

    • Salina

      The woman didn’t site racism, the writer is highlighting a broken system. Do you find it interesting you have just generalized a whole population of people?

  • Stephen Brooks

    Really?! I’m a black
    male, and the last time I looked, black women seemed to be doing just fine.
    Extremely well, in fact, I’d say- just looking from a popular, cultural perspective.
    Let’s see; they’re winning Oscars; the lot of black actresses making extreme
    inroads in Hollywood these last few years has been something to marvel at, for
    those that have been paying attention (just look at Kim K?); they’re staring on
    acclaimed (or not) television shows (on ABC/Disney); they’re ‘pulling bank’ on
    dopey, daytime talk shows (and believe me, they ‘talk,’ though, much of what
    they say deserves to be left unheard, but that’s beside the point); there’s been
    one in the White House for the last six years- currently, on her 19th.,
    tax-payer funded vacation at this point in the year, last I looked). Oprah
    Winfrey’s massive checks write and cash themselves they’re so happy to be in
    the same air space as her. Black women own major sports franchises (well,
    ‘major’ might not be the right descriptive when talking about the WNBA, but
    again, beside the point); they’re on, practically every cable network reality
    TV show possible, helping to exude just about every negative stereotype
    attributed to them as both an ethnic group and as a gender one could imagine (while
    on some- VH-1 for instance- denigrating black men in the process; though,
    ignorance is bliss when it is doubled, which puts the rest of us who look like
    them, regardless of gender, in the same negative light in the minds of the
    viewers who watch them). I live in DC, so let’s not even talk about the numbers
    upon numbers of black women with Federal and Local government ‘jobs’ (i.e. DC),
    compared to black men? Remember, Edward Snowden was hired by that same
    government without a GED as a requirement. Where’s the ‘brother’ this has
    happened to, because I’m still lookin’ for just half of him? How many people know who Neil deGrasse Tyson
    is?… Dr. Benjamin Carson- before the National Prayer Breakfast episode in
    2013? Now, who can name of all of T.I.
    and Tiny’s children?… Can tell me the names of every ‘ballers’ ex-girlfriend
    and former wife on “Basketball Wives?” For those of you ‘out of the
    know,’ my point exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m bashing on Black women in
    particular- my mother’s one. I love her dearly, so why would I do that. For
    that to be the case, by extension, I’d have to hate myself, and believe me, I
    do not. I’m railing against this false social premise that (as the author of
    this article attempts to purport) that black women don’t endure racism by
    extension of being genetically and societally attached to the black man; but
    that they’re the focus and targets of it. That premise could be further from
    the truth. The reasons for this, I’ll let the readers of this post ponder that
    for themselves. The particular brand of racism that has deliberately persisted
    in this country for so long- mainly because of politics- is a direct result of
    the black male having persisted just as long in spite of it. It also grows
    stronger from a societal standpoint because we, as Americans, have decided that
    a real and public conversation on “Race” makes us uncomfortable.
    Therefore, any intellectual, honest and open discourse is quelled by shouts of
    indignation for daring to speak on it, and calls of demagoguery-
    “Racist!” “Homophobe!”
    And a lot worse- against those willing to engage in an honest
    conversation about it. But, as far as this article is concerned, form the
    author’s point of view, I don’t see it. Just as I have yet to see a ‘Trayvette
    Martin’ on that scale. But I do remember Tawana Brawley… and Bill Cosby, and
    ‘The Reverend’ Al Sharpton, from back in the day, helping to push the lie even
    then; it’s the one thing conspicuously missing form Mr. Cosby’s rhetoric on the
    ‘state of the black community’ today? Something he hasn’t really talked about
    these last few years on as wide a scale- say, six; along with his own major
    failings as a father- not the one he played on TV, either. Stay Independent-

  • justsaynotosocialism

    She was just trying to perform a postpartum abortion, like her hero, obama supports.

    • fujoshifanatic

      Shouldn’t you be on the Fox News website, drooling on your keyboard as you type your hate messages? You are not wanted here, so go.

  • Michelle Foster

    While I do agree that there is injustice everywhere when it comes to particular races, this story is NOT a good example of that. The fact of the matter is, there ARE resources available to help out in situations like this. And it was her job as the parent to look into and exhaust all of those remedies. I live in Arizona, and it is HOT. I won’t even leave my babies in the hot car to run in the gas station for 5 to 10 minutes. It is in the upper 80’s right now, which means it is at least 90+ degrees inside that vehicle. Now as far as assistance goes they do provide childcare assistance out here, as well as listings of childcare providers that accept that assistance. I know because I utilized that assistance when I was a young single mother making barely minimum wage, couldn’t afford child care on my own, and didn’t have the family resources since all my family is in California. As long as you are either going to work or looking for work, the help is there. Now based on how I’ve seen the system work out here, I doubt she will actually lose her children. They will very likely give her a stern warning and give her the resources to get the kids in the right place. Despite what most think CPS isn’t about ripping families apart, especially where they see potential for improvement…

  • Truth0312

    This makes me so sad. I hate that she was so desperate that she had to leave her children. I hope she gets out and has them returned soon.

  • SheDevilsRule

    I also don’t see any racism here. Arizona is mostly dessert and the heat can be unbearable. 45 min’s is a long time for those babies to be sitting in a locked car. Hell, I not too long ago read of a white woman get locked up for leaving her dog in the car while she was shopping. Thank God the babies were OK.

  • Anesha Johnson

    I’m missing something, because why pull the race card??? Why turn this story out to be more than what it is? It’s clearly about a single mother who for whatever reason missed out in life. She made some decisions in which she came up short, but just STOP with putting the children in harms way. There is no excuse for being that irresponsible. The vehicle was parked in the sun, windows cracked, in Arizona heat, leaving those poor kids to suffer, I’m glad someone looked out and the kids were rescued. I don’t think she get her kids back until she gets proper help mentally, emotionally, and financially, even spiritually. It can be done.

  • Guestest

    Aww the tears in her eyes, however you do not leave children in a vehicle unattended, period. I think she has mental issues because i could never !! This is sad all around.

  • God-lessFulaniYiraX

    MadameNoire, this woman left her children in the car unattended, which is against the law if caught. She was caught. That has nothing to do with race. White women have done it, Hispanic women have done it, etc. and they were arrested, had their children taken from them, served their time, admitted their wrong, got their children back or not, but moved on with their life. Race is a nonfactor. I recommend revising the article and taking race out of it. Focus instead on the psychology of the actions and behavior of this mother. There was no logical reason, not even homelessness should make a parent leave their children in a car with out an adult caretaker, looking for a job, in the hot Sun or cold winter. There is no excuse. She broke a social contract to not do this to their children, which is a public offence since these children where lucky. They could have been kidnapped or died from over-heating (Cooking) in a hot car.

  • Shantel R Mayes

    They were too young to be left alone for that amount of time. Someone or the police were obviously waiting for the parent (s) to come back and they didn’t for 45 minutes.

  • Queen2Cent

    …and had she got the job, then what. Where will the kids go?

  • Matt

    I find this petty to associate this with some sort of racism or sexism. Where is the accountability? Excuses in the end only hinder a cause. I agree with a previous comment, this story makes the author and website lose credibility.

  • Nisha

    I feel no sympathy for people who leave their kids in the car. No matter the reason. YOur kids safety should be more important than that.

  • Mark S

    “Yes, it is extremely sad – and desperately dangerous – for a mother to leave her two small children alone in a vehicle. It’s even more sad and just as dangerous that we lock up a woman, whose sole crime is being homeless with children.”

    Leaving her kids in the car was sad and her sole crime was being homeless? I think you have that backwards. The sole crime was leaving the children in the car. Literally. Leaving your children in the car like she did is a crime. Punishable by law. Her being homeless is sad and there should have been help available to her. Rather than arrest her and take her children away, they should got her help so it wouldn’t happen again.

    But her sole crime was leaving the children in the car. Period.

  • luvmie4

    You cant leave your kids, especially that young, alone in your parked car. Its neglect no matter what the circumstances are. What she should have done is apply for ACCCHS since she has kids and no money. Then she would have gotten health care ALONG with child care when you have a job interview. They provide those kinds of things.

  • Guest

    I do not consider her arrest to be racism. It’s too bad that her mistake may cost her children the chance to be with her. I can empathize with being a single mom and not having reliable childcare. However, if it were me, I would have admitted that I had a childcare emergency and asked the interviewer if I could bring my children into the interview room for a lack of other available resources. It wouldn’t have hurt to ask.

  • Fair and Balanced

    There is no doubt that Black women are under attack whether its Black women attacking Black women, Caucasian women attacking Black women, Black men attacking Black women, Law enforcement or those in education we are constantly under attack by anyone and everyone it seems like.

    However, we have to remember her situation speaks to desperation, she is homeless and trying to do right by her children right or wrong. She probably should have brought them in with her but then again that would not have worked for her, she has no place to turn and no one to help her what was she supposed to do?

    I know many will they have been in that situation at one time or another, while that may be true it seems they may have had other options it is clear this woman did not. Taking her children away and putting her behind bars is not the thing to do, helping her get into a training program and then referring her to a job agency that works with that program would be much more productive.

    Perhaps the readers who read this post can recommend something. I know its hard out here, I hold dual graduate degrees in high qualifying fields but have not worked in 3 years. I have applied everywhere my resume has changed each time to meet the need even down to a cleaning job just to survive.

    I cannot imagine what it is like for those with little or no education pass high school. Let’s not trash her or anyone for making a mistake because but for the grace of God there goes you or I. Things are hard for many of us right now but those who are against this woman and others out there like her should count their blessings perhaps someone came to your rescue no one has come to hers. Let’s pray for her and the many others out there struggling.

    • guest

      I have been in the exact same situation as you with the degrees, years of unemployment and all. That last paragraph you wrote is everything…If I was struggling, I can only imagine what she’s going through right now. She needs compassion more than anything else right now.

  • Prince Campbell III

    I understand how everyone feels. But woman was homeless, some of y’all are saying you are sure she could have found someone to watch her kids. If she could have found a person to watch her kids, I don’t think she would have been homeless. I’m not knocking what anyone is saying, but if it finding someone to watch her kids was so easy she wouldn’t be out on the street.

    • kiki j

      Very true. But unsafe is unsafe. They could’ve died from heat stroke. Could’ve been kidnapped. If she couldn’t find a sitter for a 30 min interview, how will she find a sitter for everyday 4-8 hours a day? Even public assistance takes 30 days to approve childcare. She could’ve asked a neighbor, paid a teenager 20 dollars, or rescheduled. You can be homeless and have someone willing to watch your children for a few hours. Obviously that wasn’t her situation but man. I can see if it was a nice cool shady day. I still wouldn’t do it. It’s just sad the way the system is set up for people who don’t have the right resources to fail.

  • kiki j

    This specific situation isn’t racism. She left her very small children in a hot car while at an interview. I sympathize with her situation. Once upon of time I’ve been there. But at the end of the day, that interview would’ve had to be rescheduled. They could’ve died! No one is seeing that? She left a 2 year old responsible for a 6 month old in a hot car, parked directly in the sun for an interview that could’ve taken anywhere from 30mins-an hour and a half! How were they being racist? She took that risk.

    • Bea Houseoffashion

      omg are you serious? She is homeless and trying to get on her feet and you are saying she need to RESCHEDULE her interview? I guess you didn’t read the part where she is HOMELESS? SMH.

      • kiki j

        Yes I read it. And I’ve also read just recently that every 10 days a kid DIES OF HEAT STROKE FROM BEING LEFT IN A HOT CAR!!! I guarantee God forbid something happened to those babies she’d be saying how she should’ve rescheduled her interview because the job wasn’t worth that kind of sacrifice. Period! Here in Ohio someone stole a woman’s car while she was in the gas station. Her 2 kids were in the back seat and he drove off and through them out the car alone! Wandering the streets crying. At a certain point you have to make an unfortunate decision to put your kids life FIRST!

  • phillstrawberry

    This story is sad to say the least. The mother did make the wrong choice by choosing to leave her children in the car alone. What bothers me most is why don’t our states have something in place to aid a parent that is seeking employment and needs to have someone look after their kids while the go on an interview. Our law makers demand that a parent on the system attend certain classes etc. Daycare assistance is even offered once the person gets the job. However there is nothing in place to assist someone that is going on an interview. Some people don’t have the luxury of being able to drop kids of to another family member so that they will watch them. Then you have those that will not watch your kids unless you can pay some outrageous amount like $20.00 hour per child. My heart goes out to this mother and I hope and pray that things work out for her. I really pray that her children are returned to her. Hopefully she can learn from her mistakes and move pass this. I can’t help but wonder how her future potential employer would feel when they see this charge on her background. Do you think that they would still employ her? Do you think that this charge would limit her income potential for the rest of her live? In my opinion this is another sure fire way to keep this women at the poverty level.

    • Niki

      Wow. You are truly on to something with the state offering daycare assistance for job interviews only. EVERY STATE should pick up on this asap. Proof of job interview or penalty. This would prevent a lot of unfortunate situations. Gives opportunities to the homeless, single, or people who do not have family members to watch their children. Humans have to be born everyday in order for the world to continue, meaning we all once started out as a baby and someone had to care for us to allow for the elders to get work done, right? What happened?

    • Mo

      There is already a system in place. Low income families can apply for and receive a child care voucher (I believe this also goes along with receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits).

  • Guest

    I can’t judge her, all she was doing is looking for a job so she can provide for kids the right way. Yes she was wrong for leaving her kids in the car in the sun but I pray nothing but the best for this woman and her kids. I don’t see any racism at all, just a mother who made a bad decision.

  • I fail to see the racism either.

  • Sianna

    Although she made the wrong decision by leaving her babies in a hot vehicle, now she has to deal with her babies being put in the system, which is even worse, Without a job to get them back and support them, she is caught between a rock and a very big hard place. My prayers go out to her. Where were the father of her kids? The lady needs help, not incarceration.

  • Leslie Taylor

    Sad situation to be in….keep your faith hunni I know you feel like you can’t win right now, but you will God won’t put nothing on you that you can’t handle….Stay in Prayer and keep your Faith!

    • Fair and Balanced

      Amen! If he brings you to it he will bring you through it! Prayer is powerful, she will be in mine!

  • Roblyn Gravitt

    P.S. I don’t think it was racist she was charged. She was wrong. But! She was being watched from the time she hit Scottsdale city limits. The racism is going to come as she goes through the system and there is definitely a system designed for blacks and another for non-blacks. The racism will surface it’s obvious face! She may not get her kids back or they will be 10 years old.

  • Roblyn Gravitt

    I am a black and mexican woman who lived in Arizona for years! OMG …. she was in Scottsdale! OMG! All of AZ has become racists as heck since OBama won the first election. The only race that gets it harder than a Mexican/Hispanic are the blacks. I am from Detroit. I am black woman that is mixed. I have been to Scottsdale many times and they are outright bold with their feelings against blacks. I have a huge issue with her leaving kids in a car in AZ. It gets hot as he!! quick no matter the time of year. Especially kids that young that cannot open a door or lower a window! She just did not know where she was apparently! I now live in Hawaii because I could no longer stand the racism and heat in AZ. I lived in AZ 16 years! I truly hope she fights to get her children back and get the heck out of AZ!

  • AbigailTea

    There is no such thing as personal accountability. It is always racism’s fault. Smh. Our community will never advance as long as we keep up with the victim mentality. There are plenty of non black women in jail/prison who left their kids in a car.

  • Tamira Bennett Volk

    Probation and parenting classes

  • Sammie K

    You have to understand that racism is institutional. The laws and social service programs are applied and dispensed disproportionately in relation to people of color.

  • Meandmybish

    I get the article even if others don’t. I used to work for DCFS and watched how hard the state works to give white women back their kids while they work harder to remove children out of Black households especially if they lived in the inner city. I saw it with my own eyes. They would make up treatments for certain parents. Give them free child care, counseling, housing and jobs.

    • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

      I worked for the system too and saw first hand how manipulative and extreme it can be.

    • Sammie K

      Exactly. And they dismiss and excuse behavior for them. Completely biased. Completely abhorrent.

  • omi

    I think the author was trying to say she should have been charged with a lesser crime. There is a difference between child abuse and child neglect. Her charge should have been child neglect and then when you take into account why she was neglectful, hopefully the judge will be leniant with her sentence. She should be released on probation and have to go through parenting classes and get her financial situation together before she gets her children back. At the end of the day, her children should be in her custody because she seems like a mother who will do anything to provide for her children.

  • Sammie K

    The racism and the point is…if she had been a white mother, with this same story and circumstances, they’d have used resources to try to assist her andher children as opposed to locking her up, putting her children through further trauma & possibly subjecting them to mistreatment in state custody… now her kids will be in the system and she will have a permanent mark on her record…which will further hinder her ability to provide for her kids or even get them back… thus keeping them apart. They have shelters for situations like this. One more family callously destroyed when intervention could have been more useful. Not saying that it wasn’t dangerous, but…social services should also be a vehicle for assistance not just destruction. I’ve seen drug addicts be sent to rehab as opposed to prosecution. The system views black families as unredeemable and therefore are quick to pass out harsher and less equitable punishments. How is this good for the children or even society at large? The cost to house all 3 of them indefinitely will be more expensive than some form of intervention and work program would’ve been.

    • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

      The prison system which is supposedly a reform system does the complete opposite. The prison system systematically makes sure that you can never be self-reliant. Though some crimes are unreprehensible like murder other less violent crimes cause the offenders to pay for their crimes even after their sentence. Look at people who are arrested for marijuana. Yes it is illegal, I understand that. But they can never live in public housing, get loans, or any governement assistance. So only option? Going back to selling or using marijuana. I am happy for the decriminalizing of black drugs ie crack and marijuana though. Anyways, the same will happen for her. When an employer sees that she was charged with child endangerment how hirable(excuse my word) will she be? Homesless and in the same predicament she was before her arrest. Now that she has a record and cant find a job do you think she’ll get her kids back? And now theyre trapped in a system that possibly leave them damaged and spit them out as soon as they hit 18 with $32 to their name. These are the discussions we need. If you disagree or feel otherwise discuss it. Conversations like these are very much needed. Especially as women of color we have strikes against us even before we make it to bat.

      • Sammie K

        Right. And thus the cycle continues. More black lives destroyed.

    • Lisa

      There is so much mistreatment the children experience once the state gains custody of the children. And most folks KNOW this. Its not a secret. Overkill is what black folks experience when dealing with the courts… and also the public.

  • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

    I see this article and the discussion the author was trying to have has completely went over many readers head. I was at two schools where I went for Political science and sociology and I talk openly about topics as such because they are very important to me. There are so many factors and systematic games being played that most people will never realize. We need to start playing chess!

    • Lisa

      There really is a crab in the barrel mentality that run rampant through our communities.

  • Lisa

    Wonderful article Charing Ball. These are the very factors that speaks to the black women’s worth in America. We say or think as we do but the cold hearted reality is that Shanesha Taylor, a black woman wasn’t able to access the vast resources America has for its citizens. Then she decides to pull herself up by her bootstraps despite the fact she clearly don’t have a support system. And she ends up losing her children and her freedom.. I love that you gave voice to her struggle, its suppose to ignored, silence, regarded as unimportant. Black women should care but we are often the coldest to one another. And every other group of people exploit that about us as people. That we have compassion for everybody else, except us. Our own worst enemy. If she didn’t leave the kids in car, she would be attacked for not doing it to get the job. If she leaves the kids in the car she would be attack for leaving them in the car and risking their safety. Hate no matter which door the sister pick.

    • Beffa

      “If she didn’t leave the kids in car, she would be attacked for not doing it to get the job”

      I’m sorry but no one in their right mind thinks leaving children locked in a hot car is a viable option ever! So no she would not be attacked for doing so at least not by people who have some sense.

      • Lisa

        Clearly her back was against the wall. And I most certainly don’t agree with leaving the children in the car however in her circumstances it is excusable. Grow up and stop hating.

        • Beffa

          Sweetie don’t get angry with me because your point is invalid…

          • Lisa

            Now you assume I’m angry..

            • Guest..

              I think what she meant by her statement was that obviously this woman does not have a job, although she is trying. But in our society today, it’s either you do or you don’t. You don’t get much help when you don’t have a job, and you definitely don’t get help for “almost” getting a job. Therefore, when she needs to reach out for help, everyone asks why she doesn’t have a job, or accuses her of being a deadbeat mom who is too lazy to get a job, also denying her help.

        • kenya

          Hope your not a parent. I will not excuse leaving children that young in car alone….u grow up.

          • Lisa

            Kenya you are being unnecessarily ugly and trifling. I hope you are not parent. Seems like you are full of hate. Just because I wouldn’t leave anyone’s children in a car — even in that circumstance. Doesn’t mean that I don’t understand her back was hard against the wall. She was between a rock and hard place. It was a damned if you do and damned don’t. I tired of certain types of people that throw the book at woman if she is black then adopt compassionate tones when dealing with a woman if she is white. I’m so tired of your type.

    • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

      She will be condemned as a mother because who would leae their children? Many people say that all you can do is play the hand your dealt and that life will get better. The reality of it is thats not how it works. There is a much bigger picture about socioeconomics and the feminization of poverty/homelessness. They like to tell us that education is the way out of poverty but what happens when the education you get is 2nd hand or when you have no resources to get an education.

    • Chey

      I’d seriously like to know who would attack a person, of any race, for not leaving their children in a hot car while they went to their job interview??? There’s no way.

      • jean Washington

        She no what she was doing she could of took here kids to the crisis shelter on 24st and Roosevelt and told them she homeless and she had a job interview they would of watch them and made sure that she made it to her job interview she made a bad decision now the children have to suffer very sad story.

        • Lisa

          The fact is the children don’t have to suffer. There isn’t any reason to separate that woman and the children. I know for certain that sometimes the city wont help a black woman until she gets rid of her car. Or something stupid like that.

        • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

          Shelters can be absolutely horrible. Nobody leaves kids in shelters. If you ever notice most people in shelters pair up. It can be a very scary place.

          • activist1

            I don’t know. I’ve been volunteering at a family shelter for a year now and the child care facilities are very beneficial for the mothers and fathers who are out during the day looking for work. The child care facilities are the same as any daycare complete with properly trained and licensed child care personnel, volunteers such as myself have to undergo a long, extensive background check before you get anywhere near the front door of the shelter. It is a safe space. Granted, the adult shelters, yes you must be careful but most shelters that specialize in assisting families are well equipped to help a homeless parent trying to find work. Perhaps there was such a facility in her town?? I understand your point I’m just speaking from my own experience.

            • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

              True there are some that are good. Most arent though. They are underfunded and understaffed. I know the hardest part of a shelter is the time constraints. They arent really beneficial in that sense. It truly boggles me though. And most shelters only allow so many people in at a time. The facility that youre describing are ones that get a certain type of grant. Its a grant similar to the one that some daycares get. Thats why they have to do extensive background checks. Did you get a federal background check and have to submit your fingerprints?

          • Angie

            Junkies, alcoholic’s, child molesters, mentally ill ALL live in homeless shelters. I don’t THINK a CHURCH would have turned her down to watch the kids for a couple hours. They prolly would have gave her clothing and gas money to get there. She made a VERY bad mistake!

      • Lisa


        • Chey

          Yes, really. That’s crazy.

    • omi

      I agree. should she have left them ina hot car? Heck no. Should she be in jail? No. I know alot of strong black women who went through trials and tribulations such as this case and not everyone have a village. I always babysit for single moms who need to go on an interview, internship, or to work when I can. I think she should get probation, get a job which I believe she will and work to get back custody of her children.

      • Lisa

        She left all the windows slightly open for air. She clearly wasn’t being incompetent or irresponsible, she did the best she could do. The charges should be dropped and our black community could try to be compassionate for that family’s plight. That family need resources, employment and the family should be reunited, immediately.Those children need their mother and there isn’t a reason under this sun they should be denied their mother. I lost two newborn god children (twins) because they were locked into a car during a heatwave for more than a half an hour. I’m totally against leaving children in a car however in her circumstances something had to give, she was facing extreme pressure to survive. We can’t ignore that. We should never lose sight of that. Those factor does matter. We can’t ignore the circumstance and her obvious intent to improve the circumstance of her family.

        • kenya

          Only problem is she did not improve her situation, she made it worse. We always have choices, hands down she made a dumb one. Instead of a job she needs to go to school and learn how to be a parent.

          • anonymous

            …my point exactly……

          • Lisa

            Are you slow? You are on hate overdrive.. pay attention. She was homeless, she was broke. Her children needs food, shelter and diapers. SHE WAS FACING AN EMERGENCY. She NEEDED a job desperately. Being homeless with small children is horrific. Open your heart after you get an exorcism.

        • truth hurts

          I sympathethic to this ladies issues. But I am more sympathetic to the children. She’s made her choices in life and with one careless decision, she almost took away their futures. The issue is not about enabling negligence of this mother under the guise of racism. It’s about protecting these young black children. IF you know that black folks get harsher penalty under the law, then maybe we should ponder our decisions more carefully particularly since the justice system is less likely to be lenient on us.
          While I would prefer that they not have to enter the child welfare system, I don’t know that the mother is in the best position to provide for them. And I’m sorry but I’m tired of folks being enabled to not do better. If you couldn’t afford to take care of a 2 year old why do you know have a 6 month old that you also cannot take care of. I’m responsible with my reproductive choices because I understand my financial situation. Why should she be allowed to be careless and then have the entire black community rally around her for making a mistake that could have killed two innocent children. Screw cracking the window.
          The Arizona heat at that time of the day can fry an egg. Cracking a window for air did nothing for those poor children. Why don’t you sit in a locked car with the windows cracked in 90 degree Arizona heat and let’s see how happy you’d be to have someone call the police.

          • Lisa

            Her children needed shelter, food and diapers. The system failed her. And her emergency occurred after she had her children, so why would you bring up the baby? And I hate to break it to you, you are not one bit better than she is. Because her children didn’t suffer any health problems, clearly it wasn’t 90 degrees. I don’t condone anyone leaving their children in a car, I keep repeating that. I just said if I was the judge, I would deal with her with compassion. And no, black people shouldn’t walk on a thinner line because of racism. Black people should address inequities and racism where it exist.

    • Nia

      I agree. A white woman might get probation and ordered to go to child rearing class, but a black woman will get the book thrown at her. That is the point the author is trying to make.

      • Lisa

        Its like there is one compassionate and wise justice for white women and another justice system for black women which is excessively harsh and corrupt. What is sad as that most black women don’t have enough sense to expect a compassionate justice for us. Its a crab in the barrel mentality that hurts us.

  • linda

    I think it is just a sad situation

  • Chuck

    Sorry, but I can’t fan this fire. Leaving kids in a hot, locked car is a crime. Period.

    • Sammie K

      Leaving the kids in the car is a crime, but one that they could’ve handled without criminal prosecution.

  • LaQuita Jackson

    nawl this aint about racism. due to her unfortunate circumstances, she just made one hell of a bad decision that cost her, her children!

    • anonymous

      Ppl need to stop having so many kids, before receiving an education. Also why are so many women birthing packs of fatherless children to so many useless men.

  • ambitious78

    But she left 2 babies in a hot car for god knows how long. I feel for her, I truly do; however, we have to think about what could have happened.

  • Beffa

    I don’t see how a case of a woman endangering the lives of her own children is a good example for the unfair treatment of black women in the legal system. I’m sorry Madame Noire and Charing Ball but this article needs to be removed from the site because it makes the site and the author look completely incompetent.

  • ShebaBarb

    A sad story. She was wrong for leaving the kids in the car for sure. Another thought is if she had got hired would she then been leaving the kids in the car all day while she worked? I am not trying to be mean but it is a real scary possible reality. I pray she gets her kids back and a place to live. I wonder where the father of the children is at?

  • Marguerite

    This was tragic but her kids could have died. I’m looking extra hard, but I don’t see the racism here.

  • 9Boots

    I agree with the unequal treatment of BW however, her children could have died. Also you don’t know how many times she’s left the children in the car before and whether or not if she had not been caught if she would have continued to do this in the future. Priority number one is making sure her kids don’t die trapped in a car due to heat exhaustion.

  • erika

    I understand the purpose of this article but this case is a bad example to use to prove this point. Whatever her reasoning was, she was dead wrong for leaving her kids in a locked car the outside in the sun for 45 min.

    • Sunshinegirl

      Exactly. My heart goes out to her, and I truly hope she’s able to overcome her adversities, but she simply made a bad decision. Those children could’ve died.

      • faywhite

        but instead of offering counseling and other forms of assistance they are prosecuting her for child endangerment, to place her children in the system which cares very little for the black child population. that within its self seems like child endangerment….

        • Sammie K

          It is! They just about sentenced these kids to death! Spiritually, emotionally and economically.

        • sammi_lu

          Would you feel the same way had the interview lasted longer and story being reported was that of her finding these babies dead from heat exhaustion, or abducted? In my opinion, she indeed endangered her children as bad as it sounds. Hopefully a relative can come forward and intervene for the kid’s sake.

          • kenya

            A relative should have babysat.

            • Truth0312

              That’s assuming that she lives near relatives and even then they have jobs and problems, too. I don’t think we should assume she didn’t exhaust every effort before leaving them in the car on a hot day.

              • CeCe Ugonlearntaday Johnson

                Exactly. That was her very last resort I’m sure. She didn’t want to do that to her children.

                • Charlene Basden

                  The smarter and legal option would have been to take the kids inside to the interview!

            • CeCe Ugonlearntaday Johnson

              Exactly that was the problem to begin with. Her relatives won’t intervine now. They’ll just talk about her like a dog.

        • Sam

          You are a kind person. God bless you.

    • Kami k

      I agree erika, I can empathize with this lady’s situation. But I can not agree with her leaving her kids alone. If she couldn’t get some to watch her kids when she went on an interview. What is she going to do for child care if she got the job? I can never agree when someone puts there child in jeopardy no the matter the reasons.

      • kiyokomari

        She would have been in a better position to be able to make a deal with someone to pay them once she got her first pay check. People forget that. When she gets a job and has money coming in, she would be able to atleast pay for a sitter or daycare easier than when she didn’t have anything.

        • CeCe Ugonlearntaday Johnson

          The state would have given her a daycare voucher when she got a job.

    • Sumika Rodriguez

      What could she do she trying to get a job to help herself and her children u wrong

      • Mark S

        She could have taken her children in with her and explained that she’s homeless, trying to get on her feet, and that she had no one to watch the children that afternoon. She could have told them she wanted this job so bad that she brought her children with her rather than cancel the interview. (Yes, I’ve done that before.)

        She could have gone to a church and explained that she was homeless and had a job interview and just needed help finding childcare for a couple of hours.

        She could have gone to the YMCA/YWCA and explained that she was homeless and asked if she could just leave the children while she went to the interview.

        If all of that failed, she could have postponed the interview. What she did was put her children’s lives in danger.

        • ray

          LOL aint nobody hiring a woman who brings her kid into the interview… where do live..a dreamland?

          • Rachel

            It happened on teen mom actually. I was thinking the same thing originally and was shocked when the mom got the job offer.

        • Sumika Rodriguez

          Oh ok

    • Nia

      I agree. I had to scroll back up. When I saw the ages of the children, I couldn’t agree with her actions at all.

    • CeCe Ugonlearntaday Johnson

      I agree it wasn’t right but what was the alternative?

      • daquan

        How about, not have kids? Is that such a strange concept? Its very simple: condoms cost .25 cents in a gas station bathroom. So hold up a cup on a streetcorner like the meth addicts on TV, collect $132.00 in about 8 hours, take 2 of the dollars and go buy 8 condoms, go have sex up to 8 times before repeating. Wowwwwww. #thisisnothardpeople

  • Anna

    I’m very confused. I fail to see the racism here??

    • BabyBlue

      I’m with you on this. I’m like huh?

      • Glo

        Huh??? That is how you see life. Read some books about inequality in America. You are an ostrich.

        • BabyBlue

          Troll alert

    • AbigailTea


    • justsaynotosocialism

      Only hos leave their pickaninnies in the car to bake.

      • Sam

        You are evil.

    • ray

      ya’ll so damn SLOW. it’s called structual inequality. look it up

    • Rachel

      A woman broke a law, a woman got arrested.
      People are claiming without evidence that a white woman could get away with this same situation.

      • Sam

        Rach what more evidence do you need. Are high??They place white criminals on probetion all the time. First time for a white criminal selling drugs they go free,

    • Sam

      They place white criminals on probation all the time.

    • Daquan

      There is no racism. If you’re having 8 kids, you better have money like the Romneys. Stop popping out kids you cant afford then holding your hand out saying “woe is me”. thats not racist, thats factual. I dont care if you’re white trash living in the deep south or black and ghetto living in brooklyn. Keep your damn legs shut until you can afford to spread them. And that means having enough saved up in case you lose a job and can’t find another for 24 months. “No one can do that” You might say.. THEN GOOD.. no one should be having babies for a while until we get some damn jobs from the president that he promised us twice…