Lately I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of Judge Judy (JJ). Especially those that feature Black people. A couple of those episodes need to be mandatory viewing so that certain Black folks who have warped logic in their heads, can understand that legally, they don’t have a foot to stand on.
Case in point: Husband and wife divorce. They currently have joint custody of their 16-year-old son. They divorced when he was 12 and he lived with his mom. For whatever reasons, he decided he wanted to live with his father full time.
The mother gets the son every other weekend. The weekend she was supposed to get the son, it was the son’s homecoming weekend. So the son asked to stay at the dad’s house so he could go to homecoming. The mother agreed. The following week, the mother called the father to tell him she was going to pick up their son that weekend. The father told her no. Told her it wasn’t her weekend. She began to explain how she gave up her weekend, so she felt she should get the current weekend to make up for it. Needless to say, a dispute ensued when the mom came anyway. The father was arrested and put in jail.
Now they come before JJ. The way JJ went at the mother was so interesting because it all boiled down to, when the mother decided to give up her weekend, she didn’t get the next weekend in exchange. Number one reason was she didn’t expressly negotiate that. She should have advocated for the next one in its place. What the mother did was just make up in her mind that that’s what she was going to do, and she got highly upset when the father didn’t see it her way and disagreed with her.
Next, even though the father told her it wasn’t her weekend, and she wasn’t supposed to come to his home, she went anyway. Boy did JJ lambast her. And no matter how many times the judge told her she should have never gone to the house, she kept coming back with all her reasons why she did it, never acknowledging that in the end, she just should not have gone. The judge kept telling her it doesn’t matter about trying to make up for the weekend. When the father said no, the mother should have listened.
A different episode involved two teenage girls, one of whom was accused of bullying the other. The bullying girl came to court with her hands on her hip, her lip poked out and radiated attitude. When JJ asked the auntie how many times she had gone to school because of the girl getting in trouble, the aunt said about four times. She also added that the grandmother, who is the legal guardian, had also gone as many times. When JJ pointed out that nobody should have to go to a school that many times because of a child’s behavior, the auntie couldn’t get it. She was too busy trying to defend the particular incident and not once did she reflect on the continuing havoc the young girl was creating. Instead she was busy giving the young girl excuses to use in order to justify that child’s behavior. Watching the bullying girl having to listen to a responsible adult probably for the first time in her life, I suspect it was one of the few times she ever had to shut up and just listen.
Watching JJ is only a metaphor for addressing some of the ills that affect the Black community, but maybe if folks start learning some common sense responses, it can be the beginning of a new dawn!