Black Children an "Endangered Species"

So this is all kinds of full of facepalm. Or facepaw, as the case may be. (Yes, I'm totally going to abuse this graphic. Get used to it.)

An antiabortion group has begun putting up billboards in and around Atlanta that declare "Black children are an endangered species". Via Renee at Womanist Musings, it seems the organization is basing this on the fact that while black women make up 30% of the demographic, they account for 56% of the abortions performed.

The first epic FAIL of this billboard campaign is in their phrasing. Black children are an "endangered species"? Really? Because gods know, it's not like there's a history, stretching back centuries, of African-Americans being framed as animalistic and therefore subhuman to justify white peoples' abuses of them. And it's not like that shit is the distant past, either. When even as recently as 2008 conservatives felt free to make monkey-caricatures of Obama, referring to black children the same way you would refer to some Amazonian tree frog is incredibly problematic. Black children are not some other species. They are not animals. Please do not refer to them as such.

The second epic FAIL is their statistics. Or rather, the fact that they're using those statistics without ever considering some of the potential reasons behind them. Ok, so black women are aborting at a higher rate than their white sistren. Ever wonder why that is? These people think it's a eugenics conspiracy. But consider that the poverty rate for blacks is three times higher than it is for whites (in 2008, 24.7% vs 8.6%, according to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan). Combine that with the fact that, according to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 3/4 of women obtaining abortions cite inability to afford a child as one of their reasons for aborting, and it might occur to you that black women abort more often because they're much likelier to be unable to afford a kid, hmm? I'll also point out that a third of black children live in poverty, and 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers of at least one child, and again, you might think that these factors point toward socioeconomic reasons for the higher rate of abortions among black women, rather than some evil eugenics conspiracy.

Black women deserve the right to choose when and how they will bear children. Attempting to bully them into having children they can't afford or don't want is a shitty way to deal with the real problem here. The real problem is that our society makes it damn difficult for black women to be successful mothers. There are a whole lot of well-off white people who sniff about "welfare queens" when a black woman chooses to reproduce. Bristol Palin was commended for "doing the right thing", but think about the shaming and censure a 17-year-old black girl would face in the same situation. That's a social disincentive to parenting. Of course there's the economic aspect, with poverty rates being as disproportionately high as they are among black communities in general and for black children in particular. On the day when black women face no greater difficulties in having and raising and supporting children than do white women, yet are still aborting at much higher rates, THEN you can look for evidence of a eugenics conspiracy. Until then, consider working on the REAL issues here by actually supporting black women and their children, and keep the fearmongering and bullying tactics to yourselves.


Dionne Ruff-Sloan said...

Saw this billboard and just had to shake my head...

Jadelyn said...

And this is an old campaign, too.  They've had more recent campaigns featuring Obama with the slogan "Every X minutes, our future leader is aborted" and another one with a pic similar to this which reads "The most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb" which, again, whole new levels of fuckery with that kind of black women vs black children framing.  I just...it's problematic on SO MANY levels. >.< 


Related Posts with Thumbnails