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.

A Cult I Can Believe In!

The Teabagger Convention is taking place this weekend in Nashville. Whoopdedoo. I hope they enjoy their Freedom Coffee and teabag necklaces.

But the opening speaker said something in his very predictably angry rant on Obama and socialism that I want to focus on for a moment. In his ire over the way liberals are ruining America, he denounced the "cult of multiculturalism".

I'm taking Intro to Sociology this semester, and just this past Wednesday we discussed the concept of multiculturalism. Let me pull out my textbook and see what it says...

Multiculturalism: The coexistence of several cultures in the same geographic area, without any one culture dominating another. (SOC, Nijole V. Benokraitis, 2009-2010 ed, p. 53)

This is somehow a cult? If so, where do I sign up???

Looking at the definition, it becomes easy to see which part of the definition of multiculturalism has teabagger types freaking the fuck out. It's that little caveat, "without any one culture dominating". They are grudgingly willing to let other cultures exist, sort of, sometimes. But their culture must always be the one on top! It's the same mindset that has certain types of Christians screaming persecution anytime a minority faith or the nonreligious manage to pry one of their clenched little fingers off of some position of de facto superiority. In their minds, failure to acknowledge their culture/religion/w'ev as Teh Bestest Evar is tantamount to persecution. It's also the same reason men's rights activists - aka misogynists - whine that feminism is about hurting men. To them, rights and power are a zero-sum game. If someone else gains access to the same rights they have, their rights are diminished by it. Which logically makes no sense, but look at the groups we're talking about here - teabaggers, hard-right Christians, and MRAs. Not the most logical bunch at the best of times.

Listen, you people clinging tightly to your pedestals: I know the idea of being simply normal scares you. I know you don't want to be just one more in the sea. I know you like feeling Super Speshul. But you're fighting a losing battle. Multiculturalism is a horse long done bolted, and here you are slamming the barn door and screaming at it. It's been said of Gavin Newsom's "whether you like it or not!" comment regarding the legalizing of same-sex marriage, that it was impolitic. But it was also true. Equality is coming, whether you like it or not. The only question now is, will you accept the elevation of the formerly oppressed masses to stand freely at your side gracefully? Or will you be dragged kicking and screaming to eventually sulk in a corner, muttering about the good ol' days when all these people knew their place, darnit?


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