America’s most recent attempt to reckon with racism, a reckoning that began with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and shifted into high gear with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, has forced the nation to come to grips with two of the three major racist laws passed by Congress in the 1990s.
Ugly, racist stereotypes about Black youth would lead to passage of draconian anti-crime legislation in 1994. The First Step Act took a first step back from that approach.
Ugly racist stereotypes about “welfare queens” would lead to draconian cuts in welfare benefits in 1996. The expanded child tax credits in the COVID relief bill represent a welcome change in course.
But when it comes to fighting racism, child welfare always lags behind. After all, what other field has an entire “caucus of denial” running around claiming that it is immune from the racism that infects every other aspect of American life?