Pathologizing Latinas

Racialized Girlhood, Behavioral Diagnosis, and California's Foster Care System

in Girlhood Studies
Author:
Isabella C. Restrepo University of California, Santa Barbara icrestrepo@ucsb.edu

Search for other papers by Isabella C. Restrepo in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9502-9724
Restricted access

Abstract

Scholars of the welfare system have explored the racialized criminalization of mothers of color who are punished by the foster care system, through control of their children, when they are unable to meet the ideals of middle-class motherhood but have yet to fully articulate a language to understand the ways in which this criminalization and punishment extends to youth once they are placed in the foster care system. Using ethnographic interviews with agents of the care system, I explore the ways in which the system pathologizes Latinas’ quotidian acts of resistance and survival like their use of silences through the behavioral diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). I argue that California's foster care system is an arm of the transcarceral continuum, marking girls of color and their strategies of resistance as pathological, thereby criminalizing them through the diagnosis of behavioral disorders.

Contributor Notes

Isabella Restrepo (ORCID: 0000-0002-9502-9724) is a doctoral candidate in the department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation explores the criminalization of California's Latina girls in foster care. Restrepo earned her master's degree from Rutgers University in Women's and Gender Studies where she used semiotics to analyze ubiquitous Chicanx cultural iconography like La Virgen de Guadalupe, La Llorona, and Lotería. She recharges by being outside and working with girls on probation or in foster care. Email: icrestrepo@ucsb.edu

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Allspach, Anke. 2010. “Landscapes of (Neo-) Liberal Control: The Transcarceral Spaces of Federally Sentenced Women in Canada.” Gender, Place and Culture 17 (6): 705723. doi 10.1080/0966369X.2010.517021

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Annamma, Subini. 2017. The Pedagogy of Pathologization: Dis/abled Girls of Color in the School-prison Nexus. New York: Routledge.

  • American Psychiatric Association. 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Washington. DC: American Psychiatric Association.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baynes-Dunning, Karen, and Karen Worthington. 2012. “Responding to the Needs of Adolescent Girls in Foster Care.” Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy 20 (2): 321349.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bernstein, Robin. 2011. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood and Race from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York: New York University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brace, Charles Loring. (1872)1880. The Dangerous Classes of New York, and Twenty Years’ Work Among Them. New York: Wynkoop & Hallenbeck.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bronson, Jennifer, and Ann Carson. 2019. “Prisoners in 2017.” Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p17.pdf (accessed 20 February 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, Ruth Nicole. 2009. Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward a Hip-hop Feminist Pedagogy. New York: Peter Lang.

  • Campt, Tina. 2017. Listening to Images. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Carson, Ann. 2016. “Prisoners in 2016.” Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6187 (accessed 20 February 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Lisa Pasko. 2013. The Female Offender: Girls, Women, and Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Randall Shelden. 2013. Girls, Delinquency, and Juvenile Justice. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Nikki Jones, eds. 2010. Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Katherine Irwin. 2013. Beyond Bad Girls: Gender, Violence and Hype. New York: Routledge.

  • Children's Welfare League of America. 2017. “California's Children 2017.” http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/CALIFORNIA.pdf (accessed 12 January 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway. 2015. “Healthcare Coverage for Youth in Foster Care—and After.” Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, 2015. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/health_care_foster.pdf (accessed January 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2002. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.

  • Cox, Aimee. 2015. Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Priscilla Ocen, and Jyoti Nanda. 2015. Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected. New York: Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, Columbia University. doi 10.1163/2210-7975_HRD-9978-2015002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davis, Angela. 2000. “Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex.” Indigenous Law Bulletin 4 (27): 47.

  • Davis, Angela. 1998. “Race and Criminalization: Black Americans and the Punishment Industry.” In The Angela Davis Reader, ed. Joy James, 6173. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davis, Angela. (2003) 2011. Are Prisons Obsolete? New York: Seven Stories Press.

  • de Finney, Sandrina, Lena Palacios, Mandeep Kaur Mucina, Anna Chadwick, and John MacDonald. 2018. “Refusing Band-Aids: Un-settling ’Care’ Under the Carceral Settler State.” CYC-Online September 2018. https://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/sep2018.pdf (accessed 17 February 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dillon, Stephen. 2018. Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Flores, Jerry. 2016. Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration. Oakland: University of California Press.

  • Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Oakland: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Griffin, Christine. 2004. “Good Girls, Bad Girls: Anglocentrism and Diversity in the Constitution of Contemporary Girlhood.” In All about the Girl: Culture, Power and Identity, ed. Anita Harris, 2944.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haley, Sarah. 2016. No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hughes, Karissa. 2015. Literature Review: Psychotropic Medication and Foster Youth. School of Social Work, San Diego State University. https://theacademy.sdsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/SACHS_Research_Psychotropic_Meds_2_26_15_rev.pdf (accessed 20 October 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. 2013. “Toolkit: For Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Initiative Sites.” St Louis: Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. https://www.issuelab.org/resources/25628/25628.pdf (accessed 10 August 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, Nikki. 2009. Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

  • Jones, Reece. 2012. “Spaces of Refusal: Rethinking Sovereign Sower and Resistance at the Border.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102 (3): 685699. doi 10.1080/00045608.2011.600193

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Juvenile Law Center. “What Is the Foster Care-to-Prison Pipeline?26 May 2018. https://jlc.org/news/what-foster-care-prison-pipeline.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kaba, Mariame. 2016. “Criminalizing Bresha Meadows – A Teach-In.”https://noselves2defend.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/criminalizing-bresha-teach-in.pdf (accessed 21 February 2018).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lira, Natalie, and Alexandra Minna Stern. 2014. “Mexican Americans and Eugenic Sterilization: Resisting Reproductive Injustice in California, 1920–1950.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 39 (2): 934.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Molina, Natalia. 2006. Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939. Oakland: University of California Press.

  • Morris, Monique W. 2015. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. New York: The New Press.

  • Palacios, Lena. 2016. “‘Ain't No Justice … It's Just Us’: Girls Organizing against Sexual and Carceral Violence.” In Girlhood and the Politics of Place, ed. Claudia Mitchell and Carrie Rentschler, 279295. New York: Berghahn Books. 10.26530/OAPEN_606216

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pecora, Peter, Peter Jensen, Lisa Romanelli, Lovie Jackson, and Abel Ortiz. 2009. “Mental Health Services for Children Placed in Foster Care: An Overview of Current Challenges.” Child Welfare 88 (1): 526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Projansky, Sarah. 2014. Spectacular Girls: Media Fascination and Celebrity Culture. New York: New York University Press.

  • Ramírez, Catherine. 2010. The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Restrepo, Isabella. 2018. “Resistance Derailed: Oppositional Defiant Disorder and the Racialization of Girlhood.” Paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association, Atlanta, Georgia. 8–11 November.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Richie, Beth. 2005. “Queering Antiprison Work: African American Lesbians in the Juvenile Justice System.” In Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex, ed. Julia Sadbury, 7385. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rios, Victor. 2011. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York: New York University Press.

  • Roberts, Dorothy. 1997. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. New York: Pantheon Books.

  • Roberts, Dorothy. 2012. “Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers.” UCLA Law Review 59: 14741810.

  • Roberts, Dorothy. 2002. Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. New York: Basic Books.

  • Saar, Malika, Rebecca Epstein, Lindsay Rosenthal, and Yasmin Vafa. 2015. The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Poverty, Georgetown University Law Center.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.

  • Sawyer, Wendy. 2018. “The Gender Divide: Tracking Women's State Prison Growth.” Prison Policy Initiative, 9 January. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/women_overtime.html (accessed 10 February 2019).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stern, Alexandra. 2016. Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. Oakland: Univ of California Press.

  • Sudbury, Julia. 2014. Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex. New York: Routledge.

  • Trotter, Fiona. 2017. “Pathologizing Trauma: A Discourse Analysis of Diagnosis in Adoption.” PhD diss., City University of Seattle.

  • Walkerdine, Valerie. 1998. “Popular Culture and the Eroticization of Little Girls.” In The Children's Culture Reader, ed. Henry Jenkins, 254264.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1338 555 86
Full Text Views 101 17 7
PDF Downloads 170 25 9