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Subject:Abortion itself is not reproductive freedom, adventures at dailykos...
Time:07:40 pm
Abortion itself is not reproductive freedom, abortion is one of many technologies that can help make reproductive freedom a reality. Some other technologies are other types of contraception and methods that increase fertility. If we mistake abortions themselves for "freedom" we could incorrectly conclude that black women, who have more abortions per capita than white women, must be more "free" when it comes to control of our wombs.

The reality is, in fact, the reverse of this.

This diary is, in part a response to this attempted exoneration of planned parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, from accusations of racism and supporting eugenics. (I think there is strong evidence that she did support some kinds of eugenics. Moreover, white people who were not racist in that time period were very rare. I do think, nonetheless, that she cared about black people and wanted to "help." But, she can do both of those things and still be racist. And her being racist dosen't mean planned parenthood is a bad organization.) And, we could spill a lot more ink arguing about if she was racist or not, if she supported eugenics or not, but really this would miss the point.

Because even if she is not connected to the eugenics movement other people were, it was a real thing it was related to abortion access for poor and minority women, and it isn't totally dead.

So, what we really need to talk about are the reasons why so many black people have deeply ambivalent feelings about the "success" (as it is sometimes called) of falling birth rates among black women in the US. This very sudden and drastic decline in black babies being born has happened mostly through increased rates of abortion among black women to the point that black women make of 30% of all women who get abortions every year despite being 12% of the overall population. True success would look more like falling birth rates and falling abortion rates. Abortion is an important tool, but it is not without costs.

Part of this is because many pro-life groups have ignored black women in their quest to "save" the unborn from abortion. I remember a few years back there were some ads on the train from a pro-life group (one of the more sinister ones that pose as family planning clinics that try to convert women who know they want an abortion in to their way of seeing things) these adds advertised "free help for pregnant women" and pictures of sullen-looking white teen girls. Often, it'd say something like "I just didn't know what to do but ____ clinic helped!" A quick phone call on my part confirmed that they did not do abortions, rather they would do an ultra-sound then show the young mother her "baby" -- show manipulative films and generally make women feel like abortion was very wrong and very bad. They didn't provide any real pre-natal care either not so much as a packet of folic acid tablets. (what a scam)

The thing is these ads that only showed white women were in a city where only 35% of the population is white, and moreover, the young people in the worst economic circumstances are almost universally black and Latino. (the ones who'd nee "help") So, most organizations from churches to free clinics feature very diverse advertisements in this city.

But, no, not these pro-life people.

Now, I don't think that they were sitting there rubbing their hands in a dark room saying "muahahaha we'll only save the white babies!" In fact, I know of a few black women who were bamboozled by them. So, they take all comers. But, I do think that the images that they choose say something about their world view. And it's a reflection of broader social values not just those of pro-lifers. Like the way that missing white children get so much more attention in media than missing black and Latino kids. It is part of the cultural mirror that shows us our values. (and the flaws in those values)

What the cultural mirror shows is this endless destructive drumbeat of a simple message "you are not valuable or important. you are not worth saving." And it's not universally coming from "the right" either.

For example, health care providers can be insensitive about the way that they present options to black women. It can be quiet hard to get help if you are having fertility issues as a black women. I have experienced this indifference myself. Many doctors think the only fertility problem black woman have is having too many kids.



I first found out about this issue reading Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts. It's a really great book that brings out statistics and ethnographic studies to add missing dimensions to this issue.



The fundamental thing however is that black lives (black children) have not been valued in the same way as white children. So some of us wince when the high number of black women having abortions comes up. Too often, black children are seen as a problem. A black woman who is pregnant faces a lot of pressure to have an abortion (along with messages that she is a bad person for having and abortion it's a no win situation, very much like the slut/prude divide women of all colors face.) --This pressure comes from poverty, it comes from media, it comes from health care providers. And a single black mother will encounter outright disdain. What images has media linked to the phrase "single black mother" in your mind? Are any of them positive or beautiful? Most likely not. How dare she have a child! --I have had to work hard to rebuild those image in my own mind. Now I think of all of the wonderful "single black mothers" that I know and their amazing cute kids.

There is a long ugly history:


The U.S began to heavily support population control policies abroad, arguing that population control was vital in the fight against communism. Domestically, the success of the Civil Rights movement in challenging segregation caused many politicians to become increasingly fearful of African American political power. Instead of offering a political argument, they coded their concerns by claiming that Black ghettos would continue to grow, and that a growing welfare class predominately concentrated in inner cities would cause crime rates to skyrocket.

As a result, conservative support for federally-supported family planning grew. Former president Richard Nixon said in 1970, “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” He established the Office of Economic Opportunity to fund family planning programs, particularly in Latino and African American communities, arguing that such programs would reduce health and welfare costs.

The establishment of family planning programs in mainly Black and Latino urban areas in the South caused a division between white conservatives. On one hand, some whites wanted programs that implemented eugenical ideas about reducing the populations of people of color. On the other hand, a strong portion of the conservative white American population was threatened by the idea of all women controlling their fertility. They were especially concerned that white women would have access to family planning intended for women of color. In clinics throughout the South, white women were actively discouraged from using these services, such as in Louisiana and Arkansas. This split among conservatives over family planning was not healed until after Nixon, when Ronald Reagan helped launched the “Moral Majority” to put conservatives back in power in 1980.

(source A Short History of African American Women and Abortion, Muna Abdullahi)



At the same, time too many black women do not feel empowered enough to insist on contraception with their partners. And access to health care makes contraception such as the pill harder to get as well. This goes right back to a total failure to teach black girls that they are beautiful, special unique and valuable. That their bodies matter. It is very hard for parents to fight the tide of negative images and messages girls encounter.


So, rather than trying to cover up our countries history of eugenics and its decedent modern racism we really need to talk openly about what real reproductive freedom would be.

Real reproductive freedom means never feeling bad about asking your partner to wear a condom. It means easy and affordable acces to birth control such as the pill. It means choosing to have an abortion of you need one. It means having a child if you want to and are ready to care for that child. It means equal access to fertility treatment, and doctors not questioning your desire to have a child. It means no more women who think about what might have been if they had the baby or if they didn't have the baby because they subverted their will to avoid being a "single black" statistic-- or to avoid being a "sinning selfish slut."
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Time:06:19 pm
Here's a situation that I'm dealing with right now:

Racism, drug rehab, age, class, and more goodies along the wayCollapse )

So...advice anybody? What would any of you guys do in this situation?

xposted to my journal, the community 'sobriety' and the community 'feminist.'
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Current Music:Easy Star All Stars - With A Little Help From My Friends
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Subject:Fascists March On Parliament
Time:08:12 pm
Current Mood:annoyedannoyed
Around 300 fascist supporters of the EDL & BNP marched on Parliament today. Police not only allowed them to do so but physically manhandled anti-racist protesters who had blocked the road to prevent them from reaching their goal. Dogs and Horses were also used to clear the streets for the racist thugs. We asked the police why they were attacking the anti-racist protest through and were told that "their march is legal - yours isnt." The fact that incitement to racial or religious hatred is also illegal didnt carry much weight with the police on the day who were after all "only following orders."
After several hours of successfully blocking the road the anti-racists were cleared away by the police ad the fascists were allowed to take up their position opposite parliament. The first thing they did after gloating on their success was to hurl racist abuse at a black construction worker who was working on a scaffold on a nearby building. The thugs then took up the chant "Are you watching from the front?" Im not 100% sure what that means but my guess is that it was a challenge to members of the National Front who used to organise this sort of racist march but whose organisation has fallen into decline in recent years (not least because of the success of the anti-racist counter-marches).
The next step is a National demonstration in Bolton on March 20th in the hope that we can stop the racists rioting their in the way that they did in Stoke a few weeks ago. This fight isnt going away any time soon.
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Current Music:Gorillaz - Dare
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Subject:Fighting Fascism In London - A History
Time:12:08 pm
Current Mood:awakeawake
Good link here:

http://www.naar.org.uk/larag/thefightgoeson/page-1.html
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Current Music:Ali Farka Toure - Timbarma
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Subject:Fascists Humiliated In Harrow - Again!
Time:11:59 pm
Current Mood:pleasedpleased
The braindead thugs of S.I.O.E. and E.D.L. planned another racist protest against the new mosque in Harrow today. After they were thoroughly routed by an amazing anti-fascist protest back in September Im surprised they wanted to try. They bragged beforehand that they would be bringing 1,500 supporters to the protest but managed a total of about 15. Many of these had to huddle "for protection" in a police van until their protest started. Hundreds of protesters reflecting the true diversity of Harrow kept them penned in a small corner of the Civic Centre car park well away from their intended protest - again they received heavy police protection as they exercised their democratic right to be racist. Eventually they were sent on their way. I hope this is the last time that they bother coming here. How many hints do they need that they are not welcome?
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Current Music:Jerry Lee Lewis - What'd I Say?
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Subject:Fascists Again
Time:10:48 pm
Current Mood:annoyedannoyed
Around 3,000 people held off a fascist protest in Glasgow city centre today. This is excellent news and particularly timely for me. Despite being chased out of Harrow by thousands of anti-racists back in September, the "English Defence League" are planning another attack on the mosque in my current hometown on December 13th.
Naturally I will be joining other anti-racists in the community to arrange a similar welcome for them but after the defeat they suffered last time you have to wonder what the hell the fascists are thinking of by planning to come back.
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Current Music:Timo Mass - To Get Down
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Subject:Great News For Anti-Racists!
Time:11:34 pm
Current Mood:hopefulhopeful
The nazis in the WDL (Welsh Defence League) were due to hold another protest today, this time in my hometown of Newport in Wales. After meeting massive strident opposition in Harrow, Swansea and anywhere they have tried to raise their heads lately they became demoralised and called todays event off.
This blog entry was really useful (and cheered me up no end!):

http://welshramblings.blogspot.com/2009/10/newport-racist-protest-cancelled.html

T
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Current Music:Marlena Shaw - Woman Of The Ghetto
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Subject:BNP on the BBC
Time:11:51 pm
Current Mood:energeticenergetic
Tonight the BBC turned over their flagship political debate programme to a despicable one-eyed figure of hate - not 'Pudsey' the children in need bear, but Nick Griffen, leader of the fascist BNP. I was proud to be part of the thousands strong demonstration outside the BBC headquarters in West london tonight, protesting his appearance on Question Time. There are so many entrances to the BBC and the police pressence was so massive we never really stood a realistic chance of stopping his appearance but I honestly believe that opposing it was the right thing to do.
The British media for the past week has been full of this debate. One side says that every political voice has a right to be heard. The liberal counter argument has mostly agreed with this but has questioned whether this particular programme is the appropriate forum. My argument is that there is nothing wrong with censoring fascists!
Oswald Mosley and the British Union of fascists may have had every legal right to march where they wanted in the East-end of London, but it was right to organise to stop them at the battle of Cable Street. Every time the fascists are allowed to get their message out the following happens:
1. Their politics reaches a wider audience
2. They increase the perception that they are a "normal" part of our society.
3. Those who sympathise with their views are given encouragement to voice them, even through violence and murder
4. They spread further intimidation into the communities who would be their victims.
This is why thousands of us protested outside the BBC and why the BNP should never have been allowed on air. We failed to stop the show, but we did bring together thousands of anti-fascists, many of whom had never taken part in a protest before and who now are more likely to become involved in future events. We also set the signal to whoever was watching - the BBC may treat the BNP as if they are any other mainstream party but there are those of us who can and will continue to oppose them wherever they show themselves. Their lies and hate should not go unchallenged.
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Current Music:James Brown - Get Up On The Good Foot
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Subject:Nazi Leader to appear on BBC Question Time
Time:09:37 pm
Current Mood:angryangry
The BBC are shamefully allowing nazi leader Nick Griffin on their flagship political programme 'Question Time'. This will assist the fascist in portraying himself as 'just another politician'. There will be a mass protest outside the BBC in Wood Lane, London on the evening of 22nd October, when the programme is being recorded.
If anyone can make it to the protest you will be more than welcome.
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Current Music:The Sundays - Wild Horses
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Subject:Upcomming protests
Time:01:08 am
Current Mood:angryangry
The same thugs that tried to March in Harrow last week are now threatening to march in my old home town of Newport next month. I hope all the places they plan to spread their hate in give them a Harrow style welcome!


http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=147321109392
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