Black History Month & Family Court Part I

Three years ago I wrote an article comparing US Family Court and South Africa’s now-defunct Apartheid system. I’m including it here as part one of the theme and in part two next week I’ll have a very personal essay on the relation between the two.

Family Court as the New Apartheid

Last week as I was strolling along the beach here in beautiful San Diego I wondered how many of my fellow citizens realize the origin of our state’s name.  Stumped right?  I’d guess that only a tiny percentage of Californians know that it comes from a novel “Califa”, published in Spain 600 years ago.  It was set in a mythical island in the Pacific that was populated and ruled by black women.  So, in the month after the most hyperbolic presidential election campaign by an incumbent since 1800 (one based almost entirely on the Identity Politics strategy of diving by race, gender and income), it behooves us to expand the same small percentage of people who realize the havoc wreaked by family courts, the modern day “Temple of Califa”.

While some may be offended by my comparison of these courts to South Africa’s now-defunct apartheid system, there are a couple of parallels: the most obvious being that it separates people based on gender, instead of race.  A second it that is has “court orders” in the place of the infamous “pass laws” which dictated when and where a person could be on a given day and time.

Apartheid took root in the early 20th century and many historians believe that it was an outgrowth of the Boer War of independence against the British circa 1900. It was a bitter and bloody war in which the British introduced the concept of “concentration camps” to the world.  The Boers were descendants of 17th century Dutch settlers and were put in these camps when captured by the Brits.  Once the South africans declared independence in 1908, the Boers took out their wrath on the native African population.

In much the same way, feminists harkened back to their long struggle for equal rights by taking over large parts of our governmental, educational and judicial systems.  Family Court is merely the most blatant example of one of the many systems in which the rights of males are given short shrift.  If a father decides to fight for custody of his children after a divorce he has only a 15% chance of success, a fact which would seem to fly in the face of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Apartheid finally expired in 1994 but the oppression of dads in family court looks set for a long run, given the fact that the issue is almost totally ignored by the media.  One of the most insightful media observers, Bernie Goldgerg, has a book titled “Crazies to the Left of me, Wimps on the Right” which could be a good summary itself of media’s coverage of the fathers’ rights issue, when it is covered at all.

On the left, pundits and politicians seek more and more money for governmental programs to undue the damage done by their existing programs, family court in particular.  It is as if one group of lefties is busy tossing kids into a raging river and a mile downstream another group of lefties is arguing over how to shake down more people to start a new program to rescue the few that have survived the last harrowing stretch of white water.

On the right, they lament the fact that 50% of Hispanic and 70% of black babies are born to single mothers without connecting the dots by noting that a dad may as well abandon ship early rather than face the odds of a 15% chance of gaining custody later on.  Having read dozens of books with a conservative critique of societal trends, I can only say that ironically it is a woman who has done the most for equality of parenting after a divorce.

The great Phyllis Shlafly in “The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It” states “Most of our societal problems are caused by the 40% of our nation’s children who grow up in homes without their own father: drug abuse, illicit sexual activity, unwed pregnancies, youth suicide, high school dropouts, joblessness, runaways and crime.  The best interest of the child rule, which typically eliminates both the authority and the presence of the father is now doing to the middle class what the mistaken welfare policy has already done to the welfare class.”

Just as it finally took a white man, DeClerk, to finally drive a stake through the heart of apartheid in South Africa, we look to a woman in leading us in overthrowing the new apartheid of family court.

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