The Unspoken Word

Volume 1, Issue 1 January 2007

Child Support Stories
What can we do?
Written By: R.C. Graham
Poeticmindz Productions

A Theory of Truth
Where are we my people?
Written By: R.C. Graham
Poeticmindz Productions

We are all aware that our black men seem to be at the mercy of child support more than any other race. We are also aware that there is not much respect for “dead beat dads.” But are we slowly being transformed into that no matter what we do? It appears to me that men are crippled before they even get a chance to get up and walk. And if you are a black man than you may as well be paralyzed. We are victims and the sad part is that most of our women know this already. Threats of calling the law have become too easy for most. We are forced to be a certain type of man when most would be that anyway. Many fathers feel like they do not have to be told to take care of their child or children. However, when there is a money hungry mother around we see things differently. We are constantly being told, “I need this. The baby needs that.” And then when the money is given it is used for everything except the child. “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” This is an old statement but true. If given the chance to be fathers many men would act differently as
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After months of sitting amongst peers and close friends, it seems as if we are all somehow drawn to the same conclusion. Where are we as black people? For years we have been products and examples of the “Everyday Struggle.” We are hunted by disease, poverty, welfare, drugs, and prison. I feel as if we are somehow becoming even blinder to the road up ahead. Our children are seeing dollar signs before they can witness the work that comes behind “The Mighty Dollar.” Drugs and drug dealers are now today’s Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. “By Any Means Necessary.” This is the thought of today’s youth. While BET decides to air shows such as American Gangsters, which digs the thought into their heads even more. How are we really helping each other? Or are we using the power of suggestive thinking to persuade each other down a road of destruction. Our children are becoming too easily influenced and we know this already. As long as there is a great deal of money being made, who cares? Who plays a game of chess and gets upset over losing a couple of pawns? You expect them to be lost because they provide you, or should I say you at least set them up to earn a bigger prize. We are so wrapped up in making everyone else rich as we struggle everyday to survive. Cars are being picked while colleges and high schools are being ignored. On an average most people spend $100 on their phone bills and this may not even include paying to download ring tones and screensavers and such. This calculates roughly $1200+ a year. But how much
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Child Support Stories/ A Theory of Truth Child Support Stories (continued) Things to Think About A Theory of Truth (continued)/ The Lorraine Motel Jay-Z SUV/ Top States for Homicides by Black Males



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apposed to being told that they got someone pregnant and they are now going to HAVE to take care of their responsibilities. That is a lot of pressure, especially if the man is still young. Most men do not like to be told what to do. If we were raised properly by our mother or parents we know how to handle our responsibilities. Child support is truly an issue today but we have to realize that we are losing good people in the process. Child support has become our silent war. But with war we have to understand that good people, husbands, and fathers are constantly being lost. A couple of bad apples should not spoil the whole bunch. Society offers no type of programs that assist fathers in doing right. There are no counselors that teach us how to take care of our own together without using the system. There are no work programs that help as well. So if you don’t offer anything to help and to teach, how are we to learn? Or are we just pushed out there as they wait for us to later return in metal bracelets and shackles. Programs are offered to drug addicts, abusive men and women, alcoholics, adulterers, even rapist. But if you are a father trying to keep a job and take care of your child or children, you have to just figure that one out on your own. Just pray that you don’t fall behind or you’ll be sharing your story with the rest of the fathers who sit in jail today for the same reason. Only to come out and still be behind in child support. Fiscal Year 2005
Data Obtained from OCSE Annual Reports and Statistics

• • • • •

Overall Collection Rate (current and arrears): 17.80% (Rank = 35) Case to Caseworker Ratio: 1:389 (Rank 45) The number one ranking state (Montana) for paternity has a ratio of 1:242 The number one ranking state (South Dakota) for order establishment has a ratio of 1:405 The number one ranking state (Pennsylvania) for child support collection and arrears collection has a ratio of 1:207 FY 2000 = 1:642 FY 2001 = 1:504 FY 2002 = 1:501 FY 2003 = 1:471 FY 2004 = 1:405 FY 2005 = 1:389

The National average case to caseworker ratio is 1:266

Previous five years Illinois Case to Caseworker ratio: • • • • • •

Illinois has received 23.5 million dollars over the past three years in Federal Incentive Bonus money that is, by law, required to be reinvested back into the Child Support Enforcement system. There appears to be so much emphasis on the problem but not an attempt to fix it. You do not have to be a genius to know that if you provide the opportunity people will take it. That money can easily be given to the state. Allowing fathers to work whatever odd jobs that need to be done on a voluntary basis to make up for their either being behind or trying to get ahead. Buildings are constantly being built, which would give us a trade as well. Programs can be made to heal the relationships between fathers and their children. Instead we are put in jail, and in some states, aired on television. I am not trying to rule out women who are on child support but we are the main targets. And while child support is increasing along with inflation, we only get a small raise in minimum wage. There is not much room to better yourself when you have nothing to do it with. Willingly knowing that there is help for most crime offenders, where is the help at for this issue? What politicians speak on making things easier for us, we vote as well. Until we fall behind enough in child support to where they will want to make it a felony.**

Illinois rank = out of 50 states plus District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico (54) • • • • • • • • Children Affected by Child Support: 680,763 (Rank = 8) Paternity Establishment: Total State Percentage 63.07% (Rank = 49) Paternity Establishment: Total DCSE Percentage 59.59% (Rank = 51) Child Support Order Establishment: 59.35% (Rank = 49) Arrears (Back Child Support) Collection: 8.11% (Rank = 18) Payments Being Made on Arrears: 45.91% (Rank = 52) Cases with Collections: 35.19% (Rank = 50) Current Child Support Collection Rate: 53.29% (Rank = 43)



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T hings to T hink A bout … ….
President Bush to Spend More in Iraq; Pentagon Seeks $100 Billion More For War

does it cost to take a couple of classes at a community college?**

The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military's request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year's budget for those wars to about $170 billion.

The Lorraine Motel Written By: R.C. Graham I had the pleasure of bringing in my new year with positive thoughts and strong beliefs that someone needs to make a change. I visited the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed. Now ask yourself, “Was his death in vein?” What do you take out of the “I Have a Dream” speech or do you just see a black man talking? While we embellish what all our leaders have done, we also must realize that the fight still continues. We are still victims to hate crimes as well as police brutality. Some of us are exposed to racism and discrimination. While racial profiling haunts most with every police encounter. What has really changed from then to now? We are still behind bars and some still think drug dealing is the only way to make it. What has changed? We were flashy back then and we are still flashy now. You have to have or had the best women, cars, and jewelry. What has changed? It’s no longer what and it’s now who. We are not letting our minds get passed that image that we have always grown up seeing. From television to the movies, we are still in that same train of thought. Some would say that changing the way you think or what you are accustomed to doing is the hardest thing to change. It’s not that you smoke or drink. It’s that you can’t get you’re mind to say that’s enough. So when is enough? Enough is when I’m sitting on the porch with my children and grandchildren and they ask me, “Grand-daddy, why is the world the way it is today?”**

Oprah Winfrey Finally Opens $40 Million School for Girls in South Africa

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has opened a school for disadvantaged girls, fulfilling a promise she made to former president Nelson Mandela six years ago. The 28-building campus features computer and science laboratories, a library, a theater and a wellness center. In these two stories alone we are looking at 200 billion dollars combined. While there are so many people dying on American soil from disease, hunger, and homelessness. It seems as if it’s getting easier and easier to overlook the misfortunes here. We are taking everything to other countries, while there are so many suffering right in our own backyards. First we lose jobs to other countries and now we are losing assistance. And you wonder why we can’t afford to do better these days.**



The Jay-Z SUV by General Motors Is Ready to Roll
By The Associated Press DETROIT (AP) - Jay-Z and General Motors are teaming up to bring a stylish hue to a rugged sport utility vehicle. The music mogul emerged from a concept GMC Yukon Denali SUV on stage Saturday during a celebrity-filled party thrown by General Motors Corp. on the eve of media previews for the North American International Auto Show. Painted "Jay-Z Blue," the SUV was developed through a partnership with the rapper during the past two years. JayZ , whose real name is Shawn Carter, worked with the company's global color studio to create the reflective blue color for the SUV. "Hopefully I'll be able to drive one of them out of here tonight," he said.**

Top States for Homicide by Black Males
#1 Maryland: 69.6 % #2 Illinois: 64 % #3 Louisiana: 61.7 % #4 Mississippi: 57.1 % #5 Michigan: 57 % #6 Pennsylvania: 53.4 % #7 Georgia: 52 % #8 Wisconsin: 50.7 % #9 Missouri: 49.5 % #10 Alabama: 48.1 % #11 Virginia: 47.7 % #12 Kentucky: 47.1 % #13 Ohio: 46.9 % #14 New York: 45.8 % #15 Arkansas: 45.3 % #16 South Carolina: 44.1 % #17 New Jersey: 44 % #18 Delaware: 43.3 % #19 Connecticut: 43.2 % #20 Indiana: 43 % #21 North Carolina: 40.2 % #22 Tennessee: 38.2 % #23 Minnesota: 37.5 % #24 Massachusetts: 34.5 % #25 Rhode Island: 34.1 %



The Unspoken Word 5