Excellent article at The Black Love Speak Column. Although I am sharing it here, I encourage comments to be made also at the original article.
If you live in Atlanta, Macon, or Augusta GA, you may have come across one of these signs.
Black & Unwanted billboards are springing up in various areas of Georgia. The Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage have joined forces to encourage Black women to stop having abortions and to encourage Black couples to adopt black children. When I first heard about the website toomanyaborted.com, I had my own opinions. I am a strong advocate for women’s rights. And I have to admit, I didn’t really give their initiative the time of day. It infuriated me. The billboards along Georgia highways upset me even more. However, upon putting my frustration aside, I realized that they may have a few points to their argument.
Let me first say that I believe in woman’s right to decide what to do with her body. Yet, the fact that there has been a historical attack on Black life for the past few hundred years is ever present. The Eugenics movement is very real. There are those out there that are trying to create a prototype for the “perfect” human gene pool and for many, Black isn’t a part of it. Scientists, corporations, and governments have attempted/ are attempting to increase particular human characteristics while decreasing others. How can this be accomplished? By reproducing more of what is “wanted” and discarding more of what is “unwanted”. As a result, Black women have been sterilized unknowingly. Black men have been castrated. Black babies have been killed in the name of science. All of this is true. I do believe there is a movement to eradicate Black people, especially when we stand in the way of capitalist gain.
For example, Africa has been swarming with NGOs advocating safe sex through the usage of condoms. While condoms may protect against HIV/AIDS, it could also affect population growth. This is interesting, because the conversation then turns to the “Africa is over populated” rhetoric. This is completely untrue but it’s being said in an effort (I believe but could be wrong) to decrease the amount of children born to African mothers. Africa is the richest continent on the planet in terms of natural resources. Yet, many of these natural resources such as oil, gold, cocoa, fish, diamonds, tanzanite, coltane, and much more, are controlled by European countries/corporations and world powers (the U.S. included). Even though there is enough food in all of Africa to feed all the people of Africa and more, the capitalist mode of production within this neocolonial era has made it so that these resources are unattainable to many African people. This control was obtained through slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism. African people are fighting to gain back the control over their natural resources. Wouldn’t you think that this fight would be easier for global corporations if less Africans were in the world? This is why I question the theories behind the beginning of HIV/AIDS.
What does this have to do with Black women and Abortions?
Well, if you are Black, even if the world calls you Latino or American, the African descent or DNA that runs through your veins is often the ultimate prevailer in determining your socioeconomic status in the world. If you look around, you will find that almost everywhere you go in the world Black/African lives are secondary to others in society. We are often the ones that suffer the most and die first. Many times these are needless, easily preventable deaths or illnesses. Yet, somehow, there is always a mysterious issue in solving these problems. This, I think, is not a coincidence. Indeed Black is unwanted except when Black life is used for hard labor or for entertainment purposes. Ironically, in both fields Black life is used, exploited, and then discarded after use.
Therefore, because of the history of Eugenics in the U.S. and abroad, I do not completely disagree with the sentiments of the Radiance Foundation. There are people out there that do not want Black life to grow and prosper. However, I do not believe that attacking the reproductive rights of Black women is the answer to fighting Eugenics. This is because there are many factors that surround any Black woman’s discussion to get an abortion. The reason why there is a higher rate of abortion among Black women than other races is because of higher poverty rates. Maybe we should be looking more into poverty and trying to alleviate poverty in black communities. The fight then becomes against the true source of higher abortions rates instead of against Black women.
Black women also face a lot of scrutiny when we become pregnant that other races do not face. If we become pregnant out of wedlock we are the dreaded “baby mama”. If we have a baby that we cannot financially take care of without government assistance, we are labeled as “irresponsible lazy welfare Queens”. If we take the father of the child to court for child support, we are “bringing a brotha down.” If we get pregnant by different men, we are a “Whore/Ho”. If we give the child up for adoption, we are uncaring mothers. If we choose not to go through with the pregnancy, we are labeled as abortion sluts.
We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t!
Furthermore, a woman’s body may not be ready to handle the effects of another pregnancy. She may not have the financial ability to take care of a child (in which case adoption could be an option). She may not be mentally stable enough to go through with a pregnancy. Some of you may be thinking, “Well she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant”. This is the sentiment of some Black women. And I understand where you’re coming from. But this is a decision that you should have to make for your own body. If I were to come along and force you to give birth without your consent, how would you feel? This is the experience of our Great Great Grandmothers.
On plantations, many of them were raped and forced to give birth over and over again against their will. These rapes, along with the forced child births, wreaked havoc on their bodies and spirits. We know live under different circumstances. Fortunately, we can now determine for ourselves. This is why I am reluctant to fully support the efforts of the Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage. I do not wish to teeter between the lines of force and choice. I will always be for choice.
However, I do agree with them in that choices should always be made in conjunction with full knowledge of what we are doing, so that we make the correct decisions for our lives. Abortion is not always the best choice. There are black women experiencing medical problems, mental anxiety, and depression in conjunction with the abortion/s they had. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and should be accompanied with knowledge in order to prevent this from happening.
I also support their efforts to encourage adoption in the Black community. I find that we get upset about white people adopting black children yet we do not take on the obligation to take care of these children ourselves.
Whew…that was a lot of writing! What do you think? Should black women stop getting abortions? Do you agree or disagree with the Radiance Foundation?
1. I’ve been periodically checking out Shay’s commentary, over at the Black moderate/conservative blog Booker’s Rising, on the Republican National Convention. She is blogging from the convention with her experiences, views and insights.
2. Another blog that has recently captured my attention has been Hip Hop Republican. They also have a couple of bloggers at the Republican convention who are doing a spot for TheRoot called “We Down with GOP”.
3. Speaking of TheRoot, I really like the eclectic mix of opinions and editorials that are featured on this site. There is an interesting article on the (East) Indian American, Republican Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, entitled “From Piyush to Bobby”.
4. The African Executive have what I consider a must read article on the African continent’s (unrealistic) expectation of President Barack Obama: “Obama’s Nomination: Impact on Africa”. There is also this scathing commentary on the eurocentric bias of the International Criminal Court in it’s prosecution of “Black” African leaders for war crimes, while those “White” leaders of former colonial regimes go unpunished: “Africa Must Have its Own International Criminal Court”.
5. Finally a truly touching and inspiring personal story by Sonskystar: “A Personal Story of Forgiveness”. Nuff said.
I watched a fascinating discussion on Sunday afternoon on a program on BBC World called “The World Debate”. The panel, which was made up of Carl Bernstein, the award winning journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal; Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of the internet giant Google; Dan Gilbert, a Harvard Psychologist; Queen Noor of Jordan and the Ugandan journalist and broadcaster, Andrew Mwenda, discussed the role and influence of the “New Media”, via the IT revolution, specifically the dissemination of information and the pros and cons associated with this democratization of journalism.
What I found interesting was how the old guard and protectors of the status quo, embodied by the views of Bernstein and Gilbert, were openly condescending and somewhat alarmist in their opinions concerning what they referred to as the “citizen journalism” via the internet. Berin, Queen Noor and Mwenda were more understanding and supportive of the value and need of alternative voices, who aren’t “trained or schooled” at some recognized institution for journalism and therefore don’t hold the standard eurocentric prejudices, but in many ways provide a more realistic, personal and honest view of events in their environment.
As I listened to the discussion I came to realise once again the power of the internet in sharing information (especially real time events), views, beliefs and opinions among people throughout the round corners of the world. We have all heard the adages: “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword and Knowledge is Power”. This is truer today than any time in the history of humankind and whomever controls knowledge, and more importantly the access to knowledge, as well as controls the pen (or today the keystrokes), is the master (or chief manipulator) of reality. This is why regimes such as China and Myanmar have such strict controls on their populations access to the information highway. This is why during periods of civil strife and unrest in countries such as Pakistan and Kenya, access to certain sites such as Youtube by their citizens, which may show videos of the brutality of the regime against those protesting for their political and human rights, are shut down. This is why the Bernsteins and Gilberts are fearful of the “New Media”, because the power to shape ideas, beliefs, values (and henceforth culture)… and the power to control (and restrict) information and knowledge, are no longer in the hands of the elite or a select few with common interests to maintain and perpetuate the status quo. This rise of the “New Media” is much more than a democratization of information sharing, it is more of a revolution in “people participation”.
It is this participation, or the potential of the power of this participation, which makes the blogosphere in general and the “Afrosphere” in particular such a potent force. It brings people together who would have never had the opportunity to connect before and through these relationships, we have the ability to expand our focus, influence and experiences. Through blogging, I have been able to communicate with many people throughout the world. People I have never met face to face and most likely, never will. People from different countries, as well as a variety of political, religious, economic, cultural and social backgrounds, beliefs, values and opinions.
“This gathering of people of African descent — whether born in the U.S. or Africa or elsewhere, whether descendants of slaves or free men, whether rich or indigent –this gathering arises out of a need for self-determination and a history of forced subordination and removed relativity to an abstract outsider. We face each other under a banner of survivalist solidarity because regardless of our differences — whether they be our sexualities, our disabilities, our religions or our interests — we are viewed as one. What jerks at one of us sends tremors through all of us. So we need to understand each other.” From the Mission Statement of the Afrospear, written by Sylvia.
Powerful! The above statement is truly a call for those of African descent throughout the world, who have the ability to utilize the “New Media”, to come together for the advancement of our people, regardless of our “isms” ! It is a challenge to revolutionize our way of thinking, and rise to the higher and uncharted territory of focusing on the value in our different perspectives. We need to do away with the mindset that because we are all not of, and/or from, the same social or economic class, political beliefs (or affiliations), religious or spiritual sects, continent, country, tribe, ‘hood, gender, sexual orientation etc., that we can demonize, dehumanize, disrespect, define and declare who belongs to our community and who does not. We need to do away with egotistical and self-righteous declarations that those who do not think, believe or live like us… are not with us… they are against us. We need to do away with intellectual tribalism… which like Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and most recently Kenya… leads only to our communal genocide. The only requirement is that one is sincerely working for the benefit and advancement of people of African descent, whether in the local, national, international and/or virtual arena.
I am not so naive to believe that all people of African descent will agree, get along with each other or come together for the greater good of the community. It won’t happen! I am resigned to the fact that it will never happen! Selfishness and self-centered interests are chief among the reasons which makes this impossible. I have already seen it within the Afrosphere and Afrospear, how differences in beliefs and opinions, as well as self-interests, have caused very smart and committed Black people to refuse and/or decide that they cannot… will not… work with other very smart and committed Black people.
However… this does not prevent me (and others) from working to create a “new deal” among us. To be a part of, connected to and add our collective voice to the variety of other Afrocentric/Black individuals, cells, conglomerations and collectives out in the AfroSphere. I am indeed hopeful because I have also seen the potential and practice of the power of the “New Media” in the past successes of the Afrosphere surrounding the issues of the Jena 6, Kenneth Foster and Shaquanda Cotton. Furthermore. I have foreseen the potential power of the Afrosphere spurring the future successes that are to come, regarding issues such as BET, Dunbar Village, Darfur and even the election a person of African descent as the President of the United States of America.
Greetings of Love Afrospear Universe!
Truly it was a labor of love getting me hooked into this forward-thinking Think Tank. Asabagna is the MAN! I started blogging last June 2007. I was awaiting federal sentencing for a crime I committed back in 2001-03. I am a white collar felon. This alone ought to raise some eyebrows–ok maybe not. I am the mother of 4 children we adopted from foster care. I was elected to public office twice. I used to teach on the college level. I worked in entertainment public relations in NYC. Did I mention I am getting divorced(SIGH). Blogging was a way to release stress–it was certainly cheaper than therapy–I blog my soul over at Lovebabz: A Life in Transition. As I was tooting around the blogosphere I came across blogs that were really hitting on issues that I was interested in. I was amazed and impressed with the quality of information and opinions bloggers were putting out there. I was hooked baby! I immediately started lifting my voice and leaving posts all over the place…this place being one of my favorites. I started hanging out at African American Opinion participating in some pretty lively discussions, and of course following the extensive blogroll. They were rich I tell you! I couldn’t remember the last time I could sit and share my thoughts on a million different topics at my leisure. So one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was really loving the political/social agenda blogs. So what else about me–well I have a BS in marketing, a Masters in public administration and I am a culinary chef by trade–although I don’t formally cook anymore–except for my own pleasure and necessity. I am a politics junkie; so much so that I started a blog as a direct result of Afrospear. I figured I could share my spin on political issues that are of interest to me as an African American woman who used to be affluent, is well educated and knows how to throw a Fab cocktail party. So Lovebabz LoveTHINK was born..again thanks Asabagna! On the serious, serious tip, I believe myself to be a citizen of the world. I am at home anywhere there is like-minded, kind and loving people. I care deeply about foster children, abused and abandoned children. I care a great deal about women incarcerated in the federal prison system in America. I am a staunch advocate for a woman’s right to choose…anything and everything she believes will make her life better, joyous and free. I believe love settles all. I believe in God. Why should you care about me–because we are one. I am you and you are me and what happens to one happens to all. We are all connected. I have a lot to say and I look forward to saying it here.
“Great topic – but to be honest…this takes some time to think about…you know, to try to formulate your thoughts correctly.”
This was a comment left on my blog page in response to the December Carnival topic. Does it take that much effort to think about something positive…. to share what we are thankful for and hopeful of? And is this effort and time worth expending? Well it appears the answer is a resounding “yes” and “no” respectively, as only one person submitted a post…. and it wasn’t the commentator above. But here is mine since I choose to end the year on a positive note.
There are 2 things that I want to share that I am thankful for in 2007. One of course is the birth of my son. I was told by many people that my life would change. Intellectually I thought I understood… but I didn’t realize how much of a change. I love him so much. I cannot think of my life without him in it. My priorities, values and beliefs have all shifted…. for the better no doubt.
The second is the formation of the this Afrospear Think Tank page. The collective comprising of the original six started out strong with vision, energy and great ideas. It was ground-breaking in how it galvanized the Afrosphere and Blackosphere. It was unique in it’s attempt to bring together a variety of Afrocentric voices from different countries and continents. It is disappointing that the voices have dissipated…. have gone silent. I thank and commend Adrianne for keeping my hope alive by regularly contributing to this page. I am also thankful for Francis Holland, AAPP, Mark and Bronze Trinity who worked and struggled through the ups and downs to expand the scope of the vision and brought substance to the ideas. This leads into what I am hopeful for…..
I am hopeful that this page will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. Some others will catch the vision and see the value of contributing to this collective effort.
I am also hopeful that we as people of African descent will move towards emotional and intellectual healing and clarity…. and subsequently create our own ideologies. Not based on a reflection from the opaque and broken mirror of Eurocenric values, judging others based on religious and political beliefs, as well as their materialistic and social status. I am hopeful that we will create ideologies based on integrity, accountablility, resposibility and respect. We will be an example of the beneficial returns of listening intently to those who may disagree with our beliefs and have different values…. so that we can learn through humility (and to be humble).
I am finally both thankful and hopeful because of Anika at Writeblack who took the time and effort to share the five books she is thankful to have read and why (click here).
We would like to thank everyone who participated in blogging to protect women and their families from rape. Special acknowledgements to What About Our Daughters and African American Political Pundit. The link below will take you to the submissions.
Cross posted from Black Women in Europe:
As it releases the results of a two-year investigation, which reveals for the first time the full scale of the workplace penalties faced by Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is today calling for a fundamental cultural shift in the way black and Asian women are treated at work and by public policy makers.
Moving on Up: Ethnic Minority Women at Work, the largest investigation of its kind in Great Britain, has established that Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women face significantly greater penalties than white women in the workplace. Those who want to work are finding it more difficult to get jobs, progress within them and are more likely to be segregated into certain types of work, despite leaving school with the same career aspirations as white girls and similar or better qualifications than white boys.
In areas with above average numbers of black and Asian women participating in the local labour market, BME women are entirely absent from 3 out of 10 workplaces and under-represented in almost 3 out of 5 workplaces. The EOC’s report suggests it’s not too late to set the country on a different course. 28% of employers surveyed said they intended to introduce steps to improve the recruitment and progression of black and Asian women. However, the same percentage said they were unsure what action to take.
The EOC is today urging Britain’s employers and policy makers to catch up with the diversity of modern Britain and develop ‘cultural intelligence’ – the awareness, understanding and confidence to communicate and relate positively to people from different cultural backgrounds, to get the best from them at work and design policy that meets their needs.
The EOC warns that cultural intelligence is absolutely crucial if Britain is to avoid paying a high economic and social price. Between 2001 and 2020, ethnic minority people are expected to account for over 70% of the growth in the UK population aged 16-59. With Britain’s employers facing skills shortages, it is crucial to tap into a growing and increasingly well-qualified pool of young Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women’s talent if we are to maintain economic growth.
And with access to jobs being a key ingredient of community cohesion, policy makers will fail to build stronger communities unless black and Asian women’s skills and ambitions translate into better-paid jobs in a wider range of organisations.
Read more here.
By the numbers:
Breakdown of Black Caribbean women in English cities (Sources: ONS (2004) Census 2001: CD Supplement to the National report for England and Wales; GROS (2004) Scotland’s Census 2001: CD 5 Volume 1.):