The American Bar Association Journal had an article today about a South Carolina mother who lost custody to the foster care system of her 555 pound 14 year old son.
Says the Journal:
Jerri Gray of Travelers Rest, S.C., was charged in June and her son, Alexander Draper, was put in foster care, USA Today reports.
That is very interesting. The journal also posed an interesting question: Should the parents of kids who are anorexic also lose custody? Is that the precedence the courts have set by divesting this mother of the admittedly morbidly obese son of her custody?
What do I think? Well for starters I think I eat too damn much! If I don’t watch it, I gotta tell you. It’s getting precarious! It’s like, yesterday? After a couple of days of healthy, clean nutrition that included squashes, fish and fresh organic peaches (during which time I pointedly eschewed all Haagan Daz products), I fell unceremoniously off the wagon and what did I do? I walked all the way to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (amazing locale for a romantic date, btw) and I ordered up a double scoop of peaches and creme ice-cream. And I ate it all then waddled home like a fat duckling with heavy feet. And you know what? I don’t care.
But 555 pounds on a 14 year old? I don’t know. That takes a lot more than a double scoop peaches and creme ice creme. But is it the mother’s fault? Is that parental neglect necessarily? I mean, some people just skew fatter than other people. I have admitted that I am gaining weight a lot of times on this blog, but most people who know me would tell me to shut up. They would tell me I am “thin.” But I know that I am not as thin as I could be and should be. I know how much I eat. But yea. I admit it. I also know that I am mostly fat in my head. It’s head fat mostly, okay. I feel fat therefore I say I am fat but maybe I am not really really all that fat even though I should be since I eat so much of the wrong stuff. Nature has been very kind to me. I really should be about 600 pounds and can’t take credit that I am not really really really a cherub as I like to call myself.
Likewise, should a mother take the credit because her son is 555 pounds? What if it is natural? What if he has a hormonal imbalance that predisposes him to this morbid obesity? What if he is a food addict? These are questions I ask myself. Just like I am lucky that my metabolism is still what it is despite my obvious and admitted gluttony, there are people who are unlucky that their metabolism i s very slow and does not metabolize food. So I think it is a very dangerous precedence for the court to have set by taking the child away for that reason.
And if that is the test, then absolutely, those affluent parents of anorexic kids need to lose their kids too. This is a class issue and it is a race issue to some extent, and it is a socio economic issue that has, at its root, some discriminatory subtext because it is based on certain preconceived assumptions that in the end, would have a disparate impact on certain segments of society–which, I think, is a very bad thing. What do you think?