Do You Have An Exploitative, Neglectful, and/or Abusive Parent or Guardian?By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder
I have been a child advocate ever since I can remember. Many of my school days were spent defending the innocent from unjust bullying. I have an AA degree in English Literature, a BA degree with a double major of History and Philosophy, and I attended law school for some time. I've studied art, activism, drama, music, and much more. I passed the Washington state Educator Skills Test (WEST-B) and spent a brief time teaching in public schools. I've been organizing and campaigning primarily for teen liberty. And, I've met thousands of people who have been unjustly institutionalized by exploitative, neglectful, and abusive parents and guardians. How do you identify such a parent or guardian?
First, we shall examine exploitation of children by parents and/or guardians. One might argue exploitation comes with neglect and abuse. Merriam-Webster defines "exploitation" as "an act or instance of exploiting". When you click on "exploiting" the site takes you to the definition for "exploit" which is defined as a "deed, act; especially: notable or heroic act." Then, Merriam-Webster provides an example of "exploit" that states, "Once famed as an actor, John Wilkes Booth is now remembered for a single exploit, his assassination of Lincoln." Now, Dictionary.com defines "exploitation" as "use or utilization, especially for profit", "selfish utilization", and "the combined, often varied, use of public-relations and advertising techniques to promote a person, movie, product, etc." Exploitation can come in the form of wannabe starlets in West Hollywood, who wishing they had a bigger piggybank, decide to cling on (or is it Klingon) to and exploit legitimate talent like Verne Troyer and Sean Stone. However, we are focusing on how parents and guardians exploit their children and wards, so, let's continue...
It appears to me that "exploitation" may be too vague a word with too many varying interpretations to be useful in effectively communicating the issues with modern slavery and human trafficking. Is exploitation murder? In some instances, according to the example provided by Merriam-Webster.com, the answer is yes. I don't care to draw a Venn diagram to explain how you can hold varying positions and contain multiple qualities between various sources at this time. If you do not understand basic logic and reason, please discontinue reading this article. Now, Merriam-Webster.com defines "slavery" as "drudgery, toil", "submission to a dominating influence", "the state of a person who is a chattel of another", and/or "the practice of slaveholding".
It is my hope we can all agree that slavery is a form of selfish utilization of others for profit. Merriam-Webster.com defines "profit" as "a valuable return, gain", the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions; especially : the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost", "net income usually for a given period of time", "the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales," and/or "the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent." So, when examining modern slavery it would be fair to say that the current US economic system itself is the "dominating influence" to which all US citizens have been unfairly subjugated to modern slavery through a debt-based economy in which private bankers at the Federal Reserve manufacture means of trade which they then distribute based on who is the best slave to the system.
Given the state of affairs, many parents feel they are doing their children a service by exploiting them, enslaving them, locking them in private prisons, and preparing them for life in the so-called "real world" by treating them like garbage while trying to make a living selling their children and/or their child's talent. One example of a victim of this form of exploitation is Gary Coleman. There are many more.
Personally and professionally, I do not believe in slavery of any kind and I am an abolitionist. Therefore, I do not indoctrinate my loved ones into the "slavery-lifestyle" and try to save those around me who have been clearly treated like chattel as if they exist solely for the amusement of those higher on the "food chain". Some may disagree with my position. And, I think they are evil and stupid to do so.
When you train your child like a horse or a dog through a rewards and consequence system of basic needs and trauma, you are using what modern scientists call "behaviorism" and "behavior modification". Behavior modification is a euphemism for brainwashing and mind control. (See Congressional Record Here: http://www.healreport.tv/1974congressbehaviormod.pdf) So, whether or not you yourself were programmed, doing it to your children is tantamount to the worst form of child abuse. In addition, you are training your child to be a slave when his/her only reward for a day of "drudgery and toil" is a "gold star" on a poster board or a 5-minute phone call with a disinterested father. Using violence, deprivation of basic needs, and other inherently disrespectful methods for "training" result in acting out because people don't like being disrespected, abused, and enslaved regardless of their age group. So, if you treated others (including your children) as you would wish to be treated (assuming you wish to be treated with respect, free from abuse and exploitation), then you might not have to deal with a "struggling teen".
Unfortunately, social services in the United States takes children from loving homes and places them in institutions that farm them out as maid service at hotels, farmhands, construction crews, and more while the institutions (a.k.a. modern slaveholders) take any earnings to cover "program expenses" not covered by the state. Some parents are stupid and/or evil enough to pay to have their children abducted and taken to a modern slave camp where they are treated as poorly as those coming from more unfortunate backgrounds. However, the wealthier kids are trained to become overseers of the less fortunate so they can adopt the "Samuel L. Jackson" position from "Django Unchained" instead of being at the bottom of the "food pyramid". But, they always claim it is "for the child's own good". And, I think that is complete bullshit.
I personally and professional refuse to participate in such a system to any degree beyond basic necessity. You may be afraid to join me in fighting to stop modern slavery. If so, I understand. However, I agree with Emiliano Zapata who said, "I'd prefer to die standing, than to live always on my knees." I will not kneel before anyone. God understands I was tortured and getting on my knees is too painful. He doesn't want me to suffer. So, I pray "indian style". The point of knowing suffering is to learn compassion, if you are compassionate and empathetic, you no longer need suffering.
I've taught children of all age groups, including pre-school. All my pre-schoolers were adorable, sweet, curious, and creative. I found something to love and cherish about each of their budding personalities. So, I don't think the kids are born assholes. Maybe a couple have some weird karmic issues, but, overall they start out good and well-meaning. So, I believe it is the environment not the individual that is primarily responsible for modern "mental illness" and "behavioral health diagnoses". And, that psychiatric or behavioral labels are simply another tool used by "dominating influence" to force the people into "submission". If the United States of America is to be a free country, we must turn the Federal Reserve into a public utility and immediately outlaw all forms of behavior modification and slavery regardless of what euphemisms may be used to describe the current state of affairs.
If your parent or guardian has exploited your labor, abused you, or neglected you, please consider filing a complaint with the Attorney General of your home-state. You can find reporting resources at http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm. You may also wish to contact an attorney to see under what laws (contract and tort) you can sue for full compensation for your work and any injuries sustained. David Taylor v. Provo Canyon School is one case in which you will find a youth sued both his mother and the program for tortious misconduct. The courts found the parent was 75% liable for all damages because they "knew or should have known" that Provo Canyon School is an abusive facility and it was the parent/guardian's responsibility to protect the child from that abuse. In failing to do so, the parent was liable for the damages. Similar court cases can be found against government agencies who have entrusted youth to the care of private, for-profit segregated congregate care facilities (i.e. ranches, farms, The Hershey School, group homes, boarding schools, detention centers, treatment centers, etc.). Exercise your rights, file complaints, and demand justice!