Racism or Not? Tale of Two Arizona Mothers [Video]



Hip-hop journalist and historian David “Davey D.” Cook posted on Facebook on April 16 two news stories of how two mothers, one white and one black, were treated after being arrested for child endangerment. By comparing both Arizona stories, this tale of two mothers could spark another debate on racism. But is there really racism as Cook claims or are the facts cherry-picked to fit into one’s beliefs based on incomplete evidence?

In the first story, 19-year-old Catalina Clouser from Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested in 2012 for leaving her 2-month-old child on top of her car while under the influence of marijuana. She drove for 12 miles with her baby on the roof of her car. By the time she realized what happened, the baby had already toppled off the car and was later found in his baby seat unharmed. According to Daily News, Clouser was sentenced to 16 months of probation and three months of deferred jail time.

In the second story, 35-year-old Shanesha Taylor from Scottsdale, Arizona, was arrested in March 2014 for leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old in her car for at least 45 minutes while going for a job interview. Taylor, who was homeless, could not find a babysitter and was charged on two accounts of child abuse after her arrest. According to Today, witnesses found the children in the Dodge Durango crying and sweating, and the car windows were opened just an inch with an interior car temperature of about 100 degrees. The children were taken by Child Protection Services (CPS) to a local hospital and were found unharmed. Taylor faces a maximum penalty of more than eight years in prison.

At first, comparing both cases may seem like Taylor had a harsher treatment and sentence than Clouser. However, comparing the tales of these two Arizona mothers may have very little or nothing to do with racism. First, Taylor is not really homeless. According to the Daily Mail, who interviewed her great-aunt, Henrietta Grant, Taylor lives with her father, Eddie Mullins, in a four-bedroom house. Police said that Taylor had “claimed she was homeless” and couldn’t find anyone to watch her kids. Grant said that she was “too proud to ask for help.” Because Taylor had served in the U.S. Air Force, according to Grant, it is quite possible that she felt “ashamed of how low she had fallen, living on food stamps.” Her pride made her refuse to ask for help.

Taylor’s bail was paid by a local church; however, if she is convicted, Taylor will face a minimum of two years of probation, according to AZ Central. Clouser will be spending three months in the can with 16 months of probation. Taylor’s children are currently with the CPS. Clouser may still be able to see her son while on probation, although this fact is not certain yet. In either scenario, no one really is better off than the other at this point.

So is comparing these two women an example of racism? Cook thinks so. Taylor’s arrest may have been unnecessary. “As far as leaving kids in the car, it’s still a discretionary call,” Cook wrote on Facebook. “There are parents all over who have done that and have not been arrested. Some do it as they run into store, house, some have forgotten. Arrests and extractions come if harm is done.” Cook also noted that Taylor’s prosecutor, Bill Montgomery, is known to “overcharge folks,” especially those of color.

Not everyone agrees and readily accepts the racism between the stories. One commentator, a black male, wrote,”This post is misleading. Both women had their kids taken away and both were charged with multiple felonies. The black mothers case is still not resolved though as its much more recent. So far though they’ve been treated exactly the same.”

Another commentator wrote that both women deserved the punishment regardless of what their reason for leaving their children in the car (or on the car). “The difference is the white woman pled guilty so she would get a lesser sentence where as the black woman wants her case to go to trial & because she refuses to plead guilty which in my opinion…stupid because I think it’s a no brainer. She deserves to be punished just like the white girl!”

Another wrote, “Although I have no doubt that racism does exist. It is a huge leap to assume racism and such a leap requires a lack of understanding of the judicial system.If you are offered a deal and you plead out you can get a lighter sentence. Also, if you plead out you have no jury to decide your fate, just the judge and DA. If you plead not guilty, you will likely contend with a jury. Even if the woman on the right had a judge trial instead of a jury trial, there is nothing here saying it was the same judge. Apples and oranges.”

Whether the comparison between these two mothers is an example of racism in Arizona is not conclusive as these tales do not have a definite or satisfying ending. Before jumping to conclusions and raising the “racism” flag, check multiple sources of the same story and understand the bigger picture. Perhaps there is more to the story than just what people claim. As these cases continue to unfold, time will tell whether there is really racism or not.

Opinion by Nick Ng


AZ Central
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Daily Mail
AZ Central

26 thoughts on “Racism or Not? Tale of Two Arizona Mothers [Video]

  1. Both mothers were arrested and their children taken away at time of arrest. Catalina has had her day in court, and while I disagree with the punishment, you can’t compare it to Shanesha because she hasn’t appeared in court yet. Quit misconstruing the facts to fit your racist agenda! If Shanesha is sentenced to jail for her deeds, then yes, I agree that it is unfair. But I will wait to the sentence has been handed down before I cry out!

  2. What is the most ridiculous part of this whole story is Shanesha was rewarded in the end for putting her children at potential risk of their lives. We ended up getting over $114,000 from a fund started on the internet for her, and her children each received $10,000 scholarships. When did we start to reward this type of behavior, those could have died in that heat, and they made a hero out of her.

  3. Adam please stop pleading guilty pretty much explains taking responsibility. Looking for a job does not give you a get out of jail free card she was wrong in so many ways she could of just taken responsibility just like clauser

  4. I the guise of trying to be “reasonable” you ignore that any person living in today’s world knows it’s racial.

  5. How did clouser take responsibility ??? Taylor was trying to get a job, the unfit parent was driving high with her baby on the roof..

  6. What it boils down to is that clouser took responsibility
    For what she did instead of trying to justify it and get away with it like Taylor.

  7. I appreciate your story and the facts that you have been presented! He went on to attack me when I disagreed with his racist comparison.

    1. You’re welcome, Christina. Even with all of these evidence based on various news sources, there are still many things that not everyone knows about each case. Unless we’re in their shoes, we don’t know the whole story. Thus, we shouldn’t assume what is going in their private lives and history.

      In fact, gathering more sources from different perspectives and people could lead to a closer truth than one source. This is based on the “hive mind” theory, as described by Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford on a recorded lecture which is now on YouTube.

      The more sources you gather, the closer to the actual truth you will get. Of course, the quality of the sources do matter. Even if you may not reach the actual truth, you may be closer than when you rely on one or two sources.

  8. Arizona is SO racist. Extremely, racist. I am African-American and what I’m about to tell you is 100% true with ZERO exaggeration. First off, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and Census, there is only 5% black population and we DOUBLE the unemployment rate. That right there should tell you something. I hold 3 college degrees: B.A. in History, B.A. in English, and a Master’s degree in Education. It is EXTREMELY hard for me to find work. I’ve been out of work for almost 7 weeks now. I have submitted my resume over 200 times. My resume is chock full of experience and education. I’ve been contacted by employers and been granted a phone interview. I am always practically hired over the phone (I sound “white”), then told to come to the office to fill out my new hire paper work. I’ll get there and all of a sudden the position has been filled. White people who see me show up always have that same “look” on their faces. It’s a look of, “Oh no. You’re BLACK???” And their eyes look very, very cold and unfriendly. It is what black people know as “the look”. We will get “the look” when white people do not like us (for no reason). I’ve been turned down for jobs that I qualify for and over qualify for. Again, hired over the phone, but turned down in person. I’ve been in stores and supermarkets where the white cashiers are nice to the people in front of me, but when it is my turn to be waited on, I get NO greeting, NO smiles, and NO “Did you find everything ok?” like the previous customers in front of me get. I was in Sears a few years ago looking for underwear. I asked the cashier if she could direct me. I said, “I’m looking for cotton underwear.” She said, “Ha. You people are still in the cotton?” I was shocked to say the least. My mom has been turned down when trying to rent a house. She has had to get her white husband (at the time) to get the house. Yes. She parked around the corner and sent her white husband to inquire about the house, he was approved immediately and when my mom showed up the next day with her husband to get the keys, the white land lord had eyes of anger! She had turned down my mom the day before. My brother has been hired over the phone and denied employment once he arrived. The man gave my brother “the look” once he arrived. I can go on and on and on. Arizona is the most racist state ever. If I could move, I would. The moment I find work, I am going to some how save and get the hell out of here. If I DON’T find work and I lose the roof over my head—I will leave this state and be homeless somewhere ELSE. I will start over somewhere ELSE. It very, very sad.

  9. According to The Sentencing Project, 40 studies between 1980 and 2005, provide research showing, “Of the estimates of the direct effect of race on sentencing at the state level, 43.2% indicated harsher sentences for blacks” http://www.sentencingproject.org . Given Arizona’s record on racist activity, I’m sure race played a role in these cases. Also, this is one more example of how our veterans are treated after they serve. Homeleas or not, there’s no way a vet should have to get food stamps to feed her children. This is wrong on so many levels: race, military service, and gender.

    1. Thanks for the information, Geoyce. Based on this evidence, there is a possibility that Taylor may be given a harsher sentence than Clouser. However, given that there are many arrests and sentences every month among all ethnicities in Arizona, comparing just these two cases wouldn’t be an accurate conclusion without taking every sentence into consideration.

      I agree that no military vet should be on food stamps, live without shelter, or with poor living conditions, but there could have been many events that happened to a vet that led to their current conditions: PTSD, severe injuries, relationship problems with family and within themselves, other mental disorders, etc.

      The link to the website shows the main page. Where is the review that you mentioned that gave the statistics on Arizona’s record on sentencing?

  10. Regardless of who’s not been sentenced yet, look at the proposed and intended sentence. It still is very much a lop sided and questionable situation. Running from the race card doesn’t make it any less playable. Especially when you’re not the one who’s usually on the short end of it.

    1. The race card is pulled by institultional racism as proven by 43.2% of 40 studies conducted hshowing that blacks are more likely to receive harsher sentences in state courts. That’s almost half of the time or half of the states un this country and Arizona is very likely to be one one of them. http://www.sentencingproject.orgy

  11. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write an unbiased report and leading to people to see the whole story by reading many articles before forming any opinion. It’s so much easier to form an opinion based off a photo or one new article that is cherry picked in order to fit an agenda but that fast judgement can, many times, lead to hate and division like this story has. It’s nice to see someone who gives the facts without pushing their own opinion.

    1. Thank you, Melissa. That’s very kind of you to say. I, too, initially thought it was a race issue by the posts I saw on Facebook. It is very easy to give in our emotions and beliefs based on our biases and experiences.

      I do have to thank the journalists and photographers from Daily Mail (UK) who investigated the story further by interviewing the great-aunt. Some commentators on the news site said that the great-aunt lied just to get “15 minutes of fame.” Others say that Taylor did not have a good relationship with her father so she didn’t leave her kids with him or any of her family members. What’s the real deal? Who knows? We’re not in their shoes.

      Without understanding the whole story, we should reserve judgment and speak our truth. If our truth is incorrect, misguided, or incomplete, we shall find ways to correct it, if possible. Cheers!

  12. this is putting the cart before the horse. screaming racism when the facts are not all in. And Shanesha Taylor has not gone to court yet. So hold your water and see what she is sentenced before you try to compare. You need two things to compare. So far you only have one. Moron. Just keep inflaming the race issue.

  13. I wish you’d cited your sources. I would like to read more from the commentators you quoted.

    1. Hi Ken. The citations are on the bottom of page under “Sources.” Most of the commentators are from Davey D.’s Facebook page. Thanks for asking.

  14. The woman on the left has not even been tried yet and it has been she lied about quite a feel things so all the facts about this dont add up

    1. Dee, wasn’t Clouser (pink hair) already sentenced? According to the Daily News, she was given the sentence. How do you know she lied?

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