Racism

“Do not. Kill. Your children’s. Dreams.”

Spike Lee’s grandmother was an art teacher who, for 50 years, taught only black students because of Jim Crow. She put him through college and funded She’s Gotta Have It.

Reconsider the story of Columbus

I sent Ruby off to school this morning having completely forgotten that it is Columbus Day. Now that I’ve been reminded,  I’m wondering what standardized fable she is being spoon fed at this very moment. Something tells me it is the Eurocentric-person truth, and not the truth-truth. But you can bet over dinner tonight, there will be some re-education that I will refer to as Part Three of How We Do It Without Figurines (part one is here, part two hasn’t been posted yet, but that lesson plan has already taken place and will be forthcoming).

There is a comprehensive, enlightening and inherently scathing bit about Columbus at the DailyKos. It’s long, but it’s worth a gander.

It’s breathtaking to me, that gap between the comfortable fantasies we’re all taught—in so many subjects—and the unpleasant realities from which we look away.

People I wouldn’t invite to dinner: The Mr. Heald Edition

It is going to take decades and probably many revisions of history before we have a full assessment of the kind of President Barack Obama has been. I count myself among the disappointed and disillusioned. And yet, everyday I’m reminded of what I consider to be one of the greatest byproducts of his presidency: The outing, right into our streets, of racists, bigots, and xenophobes. They are like cockroaches, scurrying around under the blinding force of the Obama Klieg Light, unashamed—proud, even—to announce their bigotry on their cars. Even when that car happens to be a vehicle advertising a business.

Today, I had the pleasure of watching this gentleman weave at high speeds in and out of traffic in my neighborhood, along a road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. I can only surmise that he was late for a cracked sprinkler head or a kinked hose, because Mr. Heald of Heald Irrigation Systems, LLC, tried desperately to make it through this intersection before cutting me off just in time to slam on his brakes for the stop light. An excruciatingly long stop light on a tremendously hot day. But not to worry! He thoughtfully provided me with plenty of reading material.

According to Mr. Heald of Heald Irrigation Systems, LLC, I am an asshole because I voted for Obama, who—by the way—is a socialist (I don’t think this guy’s been watching the news lately), and who was at one time a village idiot in Kenya. I would bet a tank of Toyota Tundra gasoline and a set of new brake pads that Mr. Heald of Heald Irrigation Systems, LLC, couldn’t find Kenya on a map if he were provided both the hemisphere and name of the continent on which Kenya is located. Village idiot, indeed.

I would wager that he extra-especially couldn’t locate it if he were asked to find it in Spanish.

You see, Señor Heald of Heald Irrigation Systems, LLC obviously doesn’t speak Spanish because if he did, his sign would read “Hablo Inglés!”*

The greatest thing about this public display of intolerance of, and general name calling toward, people who might otherwise hire Mr. Heald of Heald Irrigation Systems, LLC, is that we can choose to never to hire him. Call me an idiot, but putting off potential customers seems sort of counterproductive to the efforts of a guy who has also plastered his phone and state licensing numbers over three-fourths of his car. This seems a like a severe case of pooping-where-you-eat syndrome.

Whatever his shortcomings, thanks to our black president, today we have a much better idea where the Mr. Heald’s are, enabling us to steer ourselves away from their business offerings and their rage, both road and otherwise.

*Je parle un peu le français. Thanks to regular reader, Maybelline, for pointing out my error.

“Racist is the new nigger”

Shortly after BlogHer, a friend cyber-introduced me Kelly of Mocha Momma. I don’t know how long she’s been writing in-depth about race, but after a the cake brouhaha at a BlogHer party, she’s been digging in. This, at the same time I began to write more frequently here, with a more pointed focus on race. I scoot over to Kelly’s site each week to get caught up on what she’s talking about, and we are very much on the same wavelength. Yesterday, she posted a brilliant quote by Riz Rollins, a Seattle based writer, DJ, and radio-personality:

Racist is the new nigger. For white people, the only word that begins to approximate the emotional violence a person of color experiences being called a nigger from a white person is ‘racist.’ It’s a trigger for white people that immediately conjures pain, anger, defensiveness—even for white people who are clearly racist. ‘Racist’ is now a conversation stopper almost like that device where you can skew a conversation by comparing someone to Hitler. It’s an automatic slur. And only the sickest racists will own up to the description.

Thought provoking, isn’t it? H/t and deep curtsy to my new friend for turning me on to this one.

Of course, I immediately wanted to know more about Riz Rollins, and my  search led me to Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race, a terrific article (containing said quote), written by Jen Graves of The Stranger. Hooray! Another white chick writing about race. I want to invite Jen and Riz to dinner. (If you guys are reading, the door is open and the smothered chicken is simmering on the stove.) One quick pull for you:

White people in Seattle are more likely to own rather than rent. White people are more likely to have health insurance and a job. White people are more likely to live longer. White people are less likely to be homeless. White people are less likely to hit the poverty level. White people are less likely to be in jail. White kids are nine times less likely than African Americans to be suspended from elementary school (in high school, it’s four times higher; in middle school, it’s five times, according to the district’s data). Nonwhite high-school graduation rates in Seattle are significantly below white graduation rates—even if you’re Asian, regardless of income level.

Jen Graves’ is the visual arts reporter for The Stranger, and her piece came about after she brought up racism while teaching a course at Cornish College of the Arts (I was accepted to Cornish for undergrad, but chickened out and stayed home. It’s one of my two life regrets). Her classroom discussion led one student to call for her firing. She endured a “tortured conversation” with two white administrators before the charges against her were dropped, upon which followed a stark realization:

…it suddenly hits me how alien it has become just to try to define racism, and admit to it.

Her article is a really, really, really must read. Get your coffee, find a comfy seat and check it out; it’s not short. Come back and comment, if you have it in you. I’d like to know your thoughts.

Revisiting an oldie, day two

This is the second of my vintage articles I’m re-posting.  I wrote it for CityBeat back in the spring of 2010 after a spate of racist events unfolded at UCSD.  What I wrote then is pretty pertinent to where I am right now, in my current state of mind, even if I may no longer be as interested in—or as concerned with—treating people delicately when discussing race. The lone comment on this story underscores why my attitude has shifted. Someone named “wilder” said about my piece:

take a chill pill. live and let live. not everyone is out to get everyone else. grow up.

Indeed. I will not take a chill pill. And clearly, of the two of us? wilder and me? I am the grown-up.

I’m a grown-up on a serious journey, and while I’m happy to have the serious discussions to which I refer in the text below, you’re either coming with me or you’d better get out of the way.

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As most readers know, mine is a blended family. And while skin color is not my focus when going about my day-to-day life—when I’m praising and disciplining, wiping and nagging, feeding and doting and generally loving up on my kid—it would be a lie to say I don’t see skin color. I see it every day.

Or, it’s not so much that I see it, per se, since I’m not talking about light-passing-through-retina-to-optic-nerve kind of seeing. It’s more of a perpetual existential awareness of race, in general, and of white privilege, in particular.

It’s something I’m acutely aware of when, say, I overhear a white man at my dentist’s office joke with a booming laugh, that his favorite hygienist is in danger of coming back from her African honeymoon “with a bone through her nose.”

Or when a white male college student says to a white female college student, “The reason why UCSD has low enrollment of black students is because the school doesn’t have a decent athletic program.” Or when the white female college student responds with an emphatic and confident, “I totally agree.” Which makes perfect sense, of course, since all black people are athletes, rock stars or gangsters.

In situations such as these, my cave-woman impulse is to bang on my chest with my fists while screaming, What the fuck is wrong with you, you spoiled, small-brained, advantaged diplerp, booger-wads? But I’ve found this approach doesn’t get me very far toward engaging these people in a thoughtful chat about why their expressed viewpoint is so skewed. And racist, too. There’s that.

But I’m more evolved than a prehistoric human (hopefully). If I flew off the handle every time I came up against someone who didn’t want to discuss white privilege, nobody would talk to me anymore.

Most who will talk about it will only talk about it so much before they halt conversation with the that’s-just-white-person’s-guilt defense. Even calm and respectful attempts at defending my position with irrefutable examples have a time limit that, once reached, results in eyes darting to anything but mine.

Too often, though, it’s not that white people are unwilling to continue a talk about white privilege. Rather, they cannot talk about it at all, due to their refusal to even acknowledge in the first place, the myriad privileges they enjoy, which were never earned, but which are nevertheless as inherent as any genetic trait.

But, still, like rolling a boulder up a mountain, when the subject comes up, I try.

One of the hazards of being the white parent of a black child, as a tireless advocate in the effort to eliminate racism, is the perpetual risk of alienation. Another parent once told me—as we chatted about educational paths for our daughters and I expressed my desire for a school with lots of diversity—that I’m “overly sensitive to race.”

“No,” I said. “I’m not overly sensitive to race. I’m aware of it. There’s a difference.” That parent and I haven’t spoken since.

I can’t be too passionate; I have to be just-right passionate. I can’t be too outspoken; I have to be just-right outspoken. And by “just-right,” I mean the perfect amount that doesn’t make the person on the other end of the dialogue uncomfortable. Never knowing what the “just-right” amount is—though it’s usually very, very little—if I’m not careful, I quickly become that lady, the one standing in a sea of eggshells with the chip on her shoulder. And really: Be careful what you say to her.

Making sure others are comfortable makes me constantly uncomfortable, and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t what it’s like to be black in America.

Of course, talking with or confronting strangers is hardly as loaded because my investment is negligible. I’m less inclined to fret about the repercussions of speaking up (did I say too much? Did I offend him?). A checker at Smart & Final recently said to me, during what was otherwise a casual discussion about the difficult economy we’re all enduring: “Those Somali women are crooks. Every last one of them. They are ruining our race.”

“That’s an ugly thing to say and I don’t share that viewpoint,” I countered as I grabbed my stuff to leave, while she flushed and mumbled that I’d taken it the wrong way. Outside, I was calm, but inside I was raging. (As an aside, when Googling “famous white women outburst” to find a metaphorical example, the first two hits were Serena Williams and Kanye West. I’m pretty sure neither of them is a white woman. But! One is an athlete, while the other is a rock star, which reinforces what those intellectuals up there in Paragraph 3 were saying.)

The point is, strangers are easy to address because whichever tack I use, I always walk away, and it matters not what they think of me.

But the same does not go for friends and family. When a conversation with people I care about comes to an impasse, there is no grabbing my things and leaving. I have to find a way to move beyond the discomfort, accept that we don’t all see things the same way and still be true to my values. Like anyone else, I get angry when I feel like I’m not heard, like I’m misunderstood or like I’m being dismissed. But huffing around in hysterics doesn’t nurture relationships.

I try to be mindful, especially in the heated moments, that we all view the world through the lens of our own life experience. It just so happens that mine has taken me on a different path than most. And while I want those whom I care about to take it with me, forcing things isn’t going to make them want to come along.

So I don’t let frustrations keep me from trying. I will always try. I can’t not try. And this, I hope, is how things will change for my daughter and her generation.

Revisiting and oldie, day one

Thanks to an email from a reader, I went back into my archives and re-read two pieces I published in CityBeat that I’m putting here today and tomorrow, not because I don’t have fresh material (do I ever have fresh material), but because both of them still apply. And this one, as serendipity would have it, was published on this day two years ago. Which completely flummoxed me. Had anyone asked me to estimate, I would have said I wrote this six-months ago. God, I’m getting old. Did you know I used to walk ten miles to school, always in a blizzard? Uphill both ways! True story.

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The first night we met Ruby, she pooped in Sam’s hand. It was 11 p.m. in a rented apartment in Chicago. We were exhausted from an entire day of travel, preceded by two sleepless nights spent absorbing the holy-shit-we-have-a-kid realization that most people have nine months to make. Just three days earlier, we were all, I know it’s late, but do you wanna go to the movies? and I think I’ll take a nap before dinner and Forget about dinner. We’re grown-ups! Let’s have martinis and ice cream! It was like we’d slipped through a wormhole and were suddenly wandering around in a parallel universe with zero resemblance to our previous life.

And now here we were, broiling in the oppressive summer heat, two fools crouched on the floor in our underwear, brought to our knees by an 8-day-old human. “How does the diaper work?” we asked each other. We were flailing. Badly.

That’s because we didn’t front load by consuming the What to Expect series like most anticipatory parents. Noooo. Instead, we took an intellectual approach and spent months educating ourselves about raising an adopted baby. An adopted black baby, to be exact. Swaddling’s for the birds, we thought. We will know how to discuss feelings of abandonment!

So we studied about loss, identity and connection, about transracial parenting, white privilege and black history. We took classes and watched documentaries. We learned about the racial hierarchy of adopted children and listened as black adult adoptees discussed the experience of being adopted outside their race. Determined to do right by our future child, we scoured the Internet for resources. And we sifted through reams upon reams dedicated to the importance and care of black hair. We had no clue what a receiving blanket was, but we were prepared for anything.

Except, of course, the need for receiving blankets. And, too, for what we’ve come to refer to as The Soft Serve Incident when—after having been parents for an entire three hours—Sam put his hand where the diaper should have been, in an effort to save the carpet.

After that, we jettisoned our course of study in favor of the less compelling but more pertinent 900-page User Manual. Still, as much as our kid just needed to be fed, clothed and cuddled, all of our diligent research came in handy when faced with every looky-loo and inquisitor who crossed our paths in Target. It was a prep course for something that one cannot prepare for. Truly.

Today, after four years of public parenting and being some sort of perceived expert on All Things Black for too many sheltered people, I admit, it can be tough to remain pleasant. I want to be an advocate for adoption, a staunch ally in the fight against racism and, mostly, to model the best possible responses for my child. But I sometimes struggle to find my balance between kindly addressing curiosity and lashing out at stupidity. I want to be approachable, but I also don’t want to indulge a never-ending cascade of questions from strangers while I’m in the pool helping my kid learn to use her big alligator arms. Not that alligators have big arms, but she doesn’t know that and the imagery is working.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes I just want to hurl my fantasy responses at the too-many nosey barkers of the universe.

I understand, Woman at the Zoo, that your brother’s wife’s uncle’s third cousin’s step-daughter is thinking of adopting if she can’t get pregnant with her second baby. Nevertheless, I will not tell you how much our adoption cost. Incidentally, did you crap yourself in the delivery room? Did you have an episiotomy or did you tear? Do tell!

I know that Ruby and I don’t look alike and that to some folks, this has all the excitement of a 12-car pile-up behind a jack-knifed big rig. But do you really need to know whether I like the color of her skin? Because I’ll tell you right now, Lady at Home Depot, I’m not so much digging the pasty look of yours. Also, you have a booger hanging out of your right nostril, which I would discreetly mention, but I’m not going to, since now you need to know whether I intend to tell my child she was adopted. My answer is: Un-unh. Shhhhh! It’s a secret between you and me!

I, too, learned that black absorbs heat while white reflects it. That doesn’t mean black people get hotter when out in the sun. Last I checked, 98.6 degrees is the normal temperature of a human being who isn’t fighting an infection or in the throes of a new love affair. And to the Woman Who Just Couldn’t Drop It, UVA and UVB rays cause cancer. Sunscreen is for everybody! Oh, and I promise you, there were actual black people living in England in 1968. Don’t argue, there were. They just didn’t live in your neighborhood.

No, I’m not babysitting. No, I’m not “just like Angelina!” And, no, you may not stroke her hair in wide-eyed wonder (though, had you asked first, the answer might have been different). And not that it’s any of your business, Mrs. Electric-Scooter-Rider at Henry’s, she’s not a crack baby; nor does she have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. By the way, are you riding in that thing because you’re fat or because you’re lazy? I mean, in my opinion, you really could stand to do a little walking.

Look. I know you have questions about why my family looks the way it does. But if your question has to be prefaced with “I don’t want this to come out wrong…” or if you feel a little skeevy before you ask, it’s probably best to simply go on wondering. And if you can’t bear the not knowing, I suggest you jot a note to consult Google when you get home, and let me be just another mom parenting her child

The bad apples

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a staunch defender of teachers. I think it’s absurd to blame them for the economic woes of our country; I loathe how they are vilified by the media and politicians. I believe that most of them want to do a good job, that most of them love what they do, and—paramount to all of this—that most of them love children and have their best interests at heart.  If these things aren’t true, then why would anyone become a teacher? It certainly isn’t for the incredible salary, or the easy six-hour days, or the summer months off. Falacies, one and all. Teachers put in long hours and are frustrated daily by the demands of mandates, curriculum, children, parents, administrators, and so on.

I pretty much view teachers as saints.

But this Polyanna view was challenged this summer at Pact Camp. Willie Adams, the Dean of Middle School Life at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, and co-founder of the Excelsus Foundation, was the keynote speaker on the third morning. Adams’ work is focused on the education and support of black boys, who consistently remain on one side of the achievement gap. And part of his discussion included the bias—sometimes overt, sometimes subconscious—that teachers bring with them into the classroom, resulting in lower expectations for black students than for their white counterparts.

This isn’t new. But sometimes it takes hearing the spoken words to make it real. I began to percolate on this.

And then: Yesterday.

Yesterday, I found myself engaged with two self-proclaimed teachers in the comment section of a post (since removed) on Derfwad Manor. The post was innocuous enough: Mrs. G. offered a short intro to the audio of the Smiley/West Poverty Tour, and spoke of how she was deeply moved and inspired by it. I listened to all 48-minutes of it but not so, some of the commentors. And as it tends to go with all things funky, as Dr. West might say, the negative response was quick.

The first hint of ugliness came from a former internet “colleague” of mine named Stacy, who posted using a pseudonym. The other was from a person calling herself Shawna. Both women expressed opinions about poverty that included derisive remarks about black women, castigating them for getting weaves or french manicures or a pack of cigarettes, while not providing adequately (in their opinions) for their children. They each made blanket, racist, white-privileged based statements, and I took them to task in one general remark.

Comments have since been shut down because Shawna’s retort to my retort included the n-word, which doesn’t fly at Derfwad Manor. The management drew the line in the sand there. And I get that should-I-or-should-I-not-let-that-stand inner dialogue. But at the same time, oh hell-the-fuck-no! Over here, I like to shine a bright light on exactly what kind of person this “teacher” is. Her exact words were:

Yep, just leave teachers to sweep up all the shit left behind from shitty n****r parents. (Asterisks mine.)

This from a teacher. Who is teaching.

We should all know which classroom is hers so we can request out of it immediately should our kids be so unfortunate to land there.

What a teacher is saying online should matter to every single person who has a child in school. Teachers spend seven hours or more each day, five days a week with our kids. There aren’t any other adults who are granted such an abundance of time with our babies. We are trusting them. Yet, they cannot be effectively teaching children, brown and/or impoverished included, while tamping down racial prejudices and closeting bigoted views both of which lack any sense of historical knowledge.

To call yourself a good teacher in one breath, and then vent to the internet about what imbeciles your students are—because if you didn’t, you’d have to “blow [your] brains out,” as Stacy wrote on her own site—isn’t funny or satirical. It’s sad, and indicates that perhaps she’s in the wrong profession, or in need of a good therapist, or both. And definitely, the teacher who uses the n-word in her cyber-time shouldn’t be anywhere near my kid at any time, ever.

Certainly, the frustrations of teachers are myriad. But to commiserate face-to-face with parents in one manner, and then mock them later online, is a complete and appalling violation of trust. The thought of this possibility had never occurred to me before now. But this experience has given me a lot to consider as I figure out how best to speak to my daughter’s new teacher about the things that occupy my mind these days. Because that is a conversation we will be having.

For sure, a teacher cannot be one thing in the classroom and another outside of it. James Baldwin said it best:

A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.

Neither can parents.

 

 

Pioneer Woman doesn’t know jack* about diversity or how to teach it

Back in December of 2009, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman posted a pictorial tutorial (I just made that up!) illustrating how she teaches her children about diversity. Despite the fact that I’m not a fan of the neatly packaged Drummond—she only plays at being a by-her-boot-straps kinda girl on the Internet—I’m linking to her post HERE because, really: This lesson plan is a sight to behold.

Yes, it will give her traffic when all three of my readers scramble over there to see what she’s got cookin’. But the wrongness of Ree D’s approach deserves highlighting. If you have the stomach for it, delve into the comments, because more disturbing than PW’s educational tack, is the blind agreement of her many followers. Indeed, the comment section of that post is overflowing with a disturbing number of atta-girls and excited I’m-gonna-try-thats. The enthusiasm of her fans is so powerful, you can practically see the light bulbs going on. “By George! It’s brilliant!” they might be saying to themselves as they hunker down in their dark basements, jotting down a list of supplies needed to enact the lesson plan.

“But, Aaryn?”  you may ask. “Why are you writing about this now?” And that is a good question.

The truth is, I’d intended to write about this long ago, but never made the time because this is a Very Big Topic. It is not a one-off. It is not modern-day-attention-span friendly.  It is a multi-head monster.

But this space is a-changin’. After spending four days at Pact Camp in July, I am inspired to speak out regularly, with conviction, with my trademark outrage, without apology.  I pick on Ree Drummond now, because I don’t want my daughter’s choices, opportunities, identity, sense of belonging, and self-worth—and those of her black brothers and sisters in this country—to be dictated by the pale-faced Baby Drummond’s of the world, those white folks with unearned and unacknowledged privilege who learned about diversity when their bloggy mommies decided it was sufficient to dump a bunch of “sturdy, rugged, and awesome” rainbow colored Block Play people into a fancy Le Creuset pot and stir ‘em all up.

“Because when it comes to discussing diversity with my children…” says Drummond, “I choose not to discuss diversity with my children…I figure it’s a more powerful message for the Block Play human race to coexist without a lot of fanfare and hype than if I separated them, sat my kids down and explained, ‘This is a black family. This is an Asian family…etc.‘ If they have questions, I’ll answer them as I’m doing the dishes or painting my toenails.” For fuck sake. This woman publicly refers to herself as a pioneer. I can only wonder how she would have fared on the Donner Pass.

Look. Teaching children about diversity with plastic figurines is like teaching a woman to have an orgasm by showing her a photograph of a dildo. The fact is—and there’s plenty of peer-reviewed research to prove it—children don’t not see diversity simply because mommies choose not to mention it, an act that in itself is proof of white privilege. Progressives, especially, are guilty of using this method. Despite the good intentions, it turns out that if you don’t talk to your kids about a topic, they will learn about it elsewhere. And all they have to do is turn on the television, open a cataloge or magazine, go out into the real world to learn about non-white people, and how they are viewed as “less than” or “other” by our society. The authors of Nurture Shock have written about it. Anderson Cooper re-proved it in his “race doll test.” And—hey, ho! just look at that!—dolls being used to teach about race! The mind reels.

You can bet that black families all across America are discussing race, all the time. And white families need to be engaging in real conversations about that elephant in the room. Or the people in the pot, as it were. White children cannot learn about diversity because they have three Native American dolls and two black ones. Moreover, they cannot learn about their abundance of privilege, something that must be acknowledged as part of a larger discussion about race. Ree Drummond’s children and the children of people who decide that oh, we’re all the same, cannot know that black people are regularly denied bank loans, car loans, promotions, jobs, and housing because they are black; that they are ignored in restaurants and department stores; that they are assumed to be guilty or incompetent or uneducated at first assessment. And it is imperative that white people know and try to understand what it is to be brown in America. Because the reality is that white grown-ups in power (and even those not in power) do, in fact, see color and then act—maybe overtly, maybe not—as if theirs is superior.

A real pioneer would ditch those Block Play people, grab her children by the hands and introduce them to people of color. Mingle with them. Share meals with them. Have friendships with them. Love them. And then she would start talking about race in an open, honest and straightforward manner. While doing the dishes or painting her toenails. Or—my preferred method—while sitting face to face, and looking into their beautiful curious eyes, and telling them the hardest truths of all.

*A kinder, gentler title for my friend Joe.

 

What I’m thinking about today. Everyday.

Abortion Redux: The Slavery Comparision

First there was Chicago. Then Los Angeles. Now, thanks to the Radiance Foundation and a subsidiary, The Issues for Life Foundation, the following billboard is being strategically plastered around Oakland and Atlanta:

The folks over at Racialicious have been covering this indefensible attack on Black women since the following billboard appeared in New York City this past winter and, it should be said, in Atlanta well over a year ago. And call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure I saw it on First and Pike in Seattle over Christmas:

It is so deeply offensive, so horrifying, I hardly know what to say. And I’m white.

Writer Stacey Patton took the Radiance Foundation to task last February in a piece for Black Voices News. After pointing out so many things that are wrong with this ad campaign, she relied on tact and precision as she pointed out a few inconsistencies:

For all the brouhaha and alleged concern about Blacks being targeted by coercive abortion doctors, the pro-lifer’s deafening silence on the problems facing Black infants is quite conspicuous. I don’t see them putting up billboards and raising cane over high infant mortality rates due to poor nutrition or inadequate healthcare. They don’t address other real threats to Black children – asthma, lead poisoning, food access, gun violence, the cradle-to-prison and school-to-prison pipelines, poverty, education discrimination and other effects of racism on life prospects. If pro-lifers are really worried about Black genocide there are plenty of other places to look besides Black women’s bellies. They’re all talk when the fetus is in the womb, but once these Black children are born, they say nothing.

That summation is more on-target than a smudge of Ash on the Pope’s brow during Lent. It’s so solid, there is hardly need to add anything.

Except.

With this latest attack comparing slavery with a woman’s legally protected right to choose an abortion, I can’t help but wonder: Do the designers of this PR scam mean to refer to the slavery that existed after the 1864 signing of the 13th amendment? Or the one that saw black men, women, and children brutalized, tortured, and murdered  despite the 14th amendment? Or is this the same slavery that continued through Reconstruction, across the turn of the 19th century, through World War I, past World War II, and deep into the 1960′s? Do they mean to equate a woman’s choice to remove a clump of cells from her body, to a woman’s lack of choice when it came to being raped by her master? Is that the slavery to which they are comparing these women?

Just wondering. Because it’s good to know what you’re talking about when making comparisons.