Dr. Bell is a retired Army veteran who traveled the world facilitating classes on treating everyone with dignity and respect. During her travels she met people of every race and ethnicity. Dr. Bell sought her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology because she saw a need to help a population that was becoming distinct, young successful black men. They were being replaced by non-violent black men with drug addictions. Growing up in a small town during the crack epidemic and mediating at the DC Superior Court made her realize that this population of young black men needed a voice. She hopes you enjoy it.
False Start- Race To Prison
"My Mom Set Me Up"
There are more black men in prison today than were enslaved in the 1850’s. Would that be the case if women would stop creating babies by men whom they do not have a committed relationship? I say no. If that particular group of women considered the possibility that one day those unborn love children could potentially become drug addicted, non-violent, black men, who are in and out of prison, they may reassess the choice of men they lay down with. These little black babies are born with a False Start and a Race to Prison, “Because Their Moms’ Set Them Up!”
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Sneak Peek at False Start:
The many trials and tribulations of growing up in a really small town in southern Virginia shaped me into the person I am today. I have always known that I wanted more out of life than what that town had to offer. Even though I was from a very loving family with a father who was extremely strict, that did not stop me from becoming a teenage mom to a baby boy. I could not imagine the plight that I would go through as a teenage mom with a little black boy in a southern Virginia town. I thought at the time that struggling was for other people in that town, but not me. I was not going to let anything hold me back and keep me from doing something with my life.
Having dreams and aspirations were one thing, but making those dreams come true takes a lot of work. One of my dear friends once told me that the only thing that comes to a sleeper is a dream and I made sure I was up, making my dreams come true. After high school I enrolled in one of the local community colleges as well as worked at the local Department of Social Services. There I was exposed to people with many hardships. Most of the people whom I serviced were African Americans. I begin to better understand the complexity of the lack of education and how economically depressed the people were.
By no means was I from a wealthy family. My parents worked incredibly hard every day to ensure we had food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. I remember it being difficult for them to make ends meet at times, especially with seven mouths to feed. My father instilled great work ethics in his children. He used to say that when his feet hit the floor in the morning, everybody in the house’s feet need to hit the floor as well. He said those of us who were not working or in school, would be up looking for work. There was no laying around being lazy in James Marshall Younger’s house, God bless his soul.
I remember as a young girl I would ask my father for a sip of his coffee. He drank his coffee black, no sugar, no cream. He would tell me that coffee makes you black. Since his skin was dark and my mother’s was light and she didn’t drink coffee, I took his advice. I don’t think any of us kids understood racism. Out of the seven children, I was the middle child. I do remember having to enter through the back door of one of the two restaurants in town. We were not allowed to sit at the main counter, but we never asked why. At the time none of us realized we were being discriminated against. Our parents never discussed discrimination or racism. As far back as I can remember, I never heard them speak negatively of white people.
We never felt threated or mistreated by white people. Now when I look back, I shake my head at how naïve we were. I do not look at it as a negative because in some cases ignorance is bliss. My first memory of actually knowing how it felt to be discriminated against was in Anniston Alabama after joining the military. I joined the military because I wanted a better life for my son and I. My parents encouraged us to make something of our lives. Even though neither were very educated, they wanted their children to have more than what that small desolate town had to offer. While in the Army, I met my husband in Germany. The military was one of the best things that ever happened to me, along with my son and my husband and not in that order.
I was afforded the opportunity to travel the world, experience things and visit places that most people, especially where I am from, could only dream of. Even though I was thousands of miles from Virginia, I never forgot how the crack epidemic back in the early 80’s destroyed the lives of so many people from my town. Some of my closest friends, went to prison because of their addiction, some are now dead and others are still addicted. Even though the epidemic affected all races and genders, African American males were most affected. Seeing so many young black lives destroyed by the crack epidemic, was life altering for me. Not only did it afflict that particular population, it impacted the entire African American race. Children were left without fathers, wives without husbands and mothers without sons.
The intent of incarceration should be used to punish, to deter and to rehabilitate, not simply to warehouse and forget. Poverty, criminality and incarceration have debilitated far too many of our African American males, which as a result has weakened our black communities. Even though incarceration plays a vital role in our judicial system, the last five decades have proven that the system has been ineffective when it comes to African American males with addictions who recidivate.