"Black Genocide"
March 2, 2010 9:52 AM   Subscribe

In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities. Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter-arguments.

From the ABC link:
To the surprise of many, the anti-abortionists behind the billboards are black themselves and say they were motivated by a record number of abortions among black women. Of the 36,094 women in Georgia who had abortions in 2008, nearly 21,000 were African-American, more than twice the number of white women. Nationally, the CDC says black women are still three times more likely than white women to get an abortion.
YouTube version of the ABC World News segment is here.
posted by zarq (151 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The last thorough nationwide study conducted by the CDC on abortion is from 2006.

Trailer from the Maafa 21 film mentioned in the New York Times article is here.

And the title of this post is a reference to a comment made by the Reverend Jesse Jackson 33 years ago. More context can be found in this article.
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2010


Well, it's certainly good they're calling black children a 'species'
posted by delmoi at 10:00 AM on March 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


From the same folks who brought us Willie Horton, Welfare Queens, campaign material featuring Obama laden with watermelon and ribs, and voter literacy tests.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 AM on March 2, 2010 [27 favorites]


Shame on you, black women!!

Sincerely,

A couple of wealthy black men
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:02 AM on March 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


Apparantly anti-abortion protestors have been camped outside Guelph General hosptial for the last four days or so, campaigning against abortion. Despite the fact that Guelph General does not perform abortions, and they have been told this fact.
This says nothing about the 'genocide angle' being used by protestors in the US, but for me illustrates the level of critical thinking these groups are at. Which is to say, so far below sea level they're drowning in stupid.
posted by sandraregina at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


god, there's just nothing good about this.
posted by shmegegge at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2010


How 'bout preventing the need for abortions to begin with? Are these neo-cons for birth control pills and other contraceptives being free and available in the black community?
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 10:05 AM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Interesting how advocates of this campaign so nonchalantly state that one of their goals is to show how Latinos are out-breeding African-Americans. Wouldn't it make more sense for them to hide their overt political goals by shrouding them in self-righteous morality? Isn't that how this sort of thing is usually done?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:06 AM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyway, there certainly were eugenicists in the past, and in fact 65,000 people were sterilized by force in the U.S in the 20th century. California's System was actually an inspiration for Hitler, and a model the Nazis used to show that widespread sterilization was possible. After WWII it became much less popular, for obvious reasons, but the last sterilization in the U.S. didn't happen until 1978.

These programs weren't racially targeted, but it's certainly something that happened that's kind of been glossed over. It's not something I ever learned about in school, for example.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 AM on March 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I can't get past this weird feeling that maybe if black men, women, and children had the same opportunities as their white counterparts in the USA, the rates of poverty, crime, disease, drug abuse, and even abortion among black people would be very similar to those of white people.

I say we test this hypothesis.
posted by Mister_A at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2010 [46 favorites]


In 2008, Lila Rose, a college student at U.C.L.A. and the founder of an anti-abortion group called Live Action, released four audio recordings of a man trying to make donations to Planned Parenthood clinics to pay for black women’s abortions. In one, the caller, played by James O’Keefe III, the provocateur recently arrested on charges that he tried to tamper with the telephones of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said, “You know, we just think, the less black kids out there, the better,” to which the Planned Parenthood employee replies, “Understandable, understandable.”

Given Mr. O'Keefe's difficulties with releasing undoctored, undubbed footage along with an accurate description of the manner in which it was obtained, why is the New York Times still taking anything he is involved in at face value?
posted by uri at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2010 [19 favorites]


well this is definitely not a wedge campaign no sirree
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2010


How 'bout preventing the need for abortions to begin with? Are these neo-cons for birth control pills and other contraceptives being free and available in the black community?

These people are adamantly pro-natal, not just anti-abortion.
posted by phrontist at 10:11 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


To understand this, you might want to read David Aaronovitch's Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. I'm reading it now and highly recommend it.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:11 AM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


When the Christian conservatives decide to aggressively go after black voters on religious issues, the democrats in this country are going to be in a lot of trouble.
posted by flarbuse at 10:12 AM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I saw "last rallying cry against abortion" I thought, "You mean it's almost over? Is this the last one? They're gonna stop?" But it actually says "latest".
posted by amethysts at 10:13 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I saw "last rallying cry against abortion" I thought, "You mean it's almost over? Is this the last one? They're gonna stop?" But it actually says "latest".

If only. :(
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on March 2, 2010


flarbuse, the thing is that they've always tried to court religious black voters, but (my interpretation, grain of salt) those voters won't switch sides so quickly based on a single issue like this.
posted by Mister_A at 10:16 AM on March 2, 2010


(From the FPP) Of the 36,094 women in Georgia who had abortions in 2008, nearly 21,000 were African-American, more than twice the number of white women. Nationally, the CDC says black women are still three times more likely than white women to get an abortion.

(ExitPursuedByBear) How 'bout preventing the need for abortions to begin with? Are these neo-cons for birth control pills and other contraceptives being free and available in the black community?

Agreed. The Georgia statistic seems to be written as base numbers, and when I do some research into unplanned pregnancies, it appears that black women and teens have the significantly higher numbers of unplanned pregnancies. I am having some trouble finding and, more pointedly, interpreting data on race and contraceptive access. I am very concerned that what these numbers really might indicate is that we need to work to expand contraceptive access for groups that are high risk for future use of abortion services. Of course, I know many anti-abortion groups are also anti-contraception, so I'm not sure that kind of analysis would be of interest to them.
posted by bunnycup at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2010


When the Christian conservatives decide to aggressively go after black voters on religious issues, the democrats in this country are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Why, because African-Americans are dumb and cannot see the fact that these people are unreconstructed segregationists?

I think not.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


How 'bout preventing the need for abortions to begin with? Are these neo-cons for birth control pills and other contraceptives being free and available in the black community?

Ummm.... yes? I doubt neo-cons care one way or the other. You do know the difference between neo-cons and social conservatives, right?
posted by gyc at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So this is what "divide and conquer" looks like when waged politically.
posted by quin at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not really buying all of this "these are the same people who have oppressed black people for ages." Not only because many of these people ARE black themselves, but because this movement is, at least in their minds, a pro-black charge. Through their eyes, they are acting in an attempt to strengthen the African-American community, not undermine or oppress it.

What this IS though, and what the abortion debate ALWAYS seems to be, is a bunch of dudes (regardless of race) playing political football over whether or not women should be able to make their own personal health decisions. So in that regard, this movement is nothing new.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


In 2008, Lila Rose, a college student at U.C.L.A. and the founder of an anti-abortion group called Live Action, released four audio recordings of a man trying to make donations to Planned Parenthood clinics to pay for black women’s abortions. In one, the caller, played by James O’Keefe III, the provocateur recently arrested on charges that he tried to tamper with the telephones of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said, “You know, we just think, the less black kids out there, the better,” to which the Planned Parenthood employee replies, “Understandable, understandable.”

Sure they did. Sure they did. How do we know it was Planned Parenthood? This guy was caught red-handed in criminal activity at the office of an elected public representative. I think we best take any of these claims with a grain of salt the size of Rhode Island.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not really buying all of this "these are the same people who have oppressed black people for ages." Not only because many of these people ARE black themselves, but because this movement is, at least in their minds, a pro-black charge. Through their eyes, they are acting in an attempt to strengthen the African-American community, not undermine or oppress it.

Really? You have access to their minds? OK, how many of them would let a Black man marry their daughter?

Yep, didn't think so.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2010


I think that while they'll get some "traction" on this, it won't do much to make a dent in the perceptions of your average black American woman that she has things hard enough as it is, thank you, and that if she thinks she doesn't need another child (or any child), she's probably right.

And also, I would think a Democratic candidate of any brains whatsoever (a species in smaller supply than it should be, I admit) would have no trouble pointing out just how Republicans talk about black women who DO have children, i.e, "welfare queens."
posted by emjaybee at 10:22 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


how many of them would let a Black man marry their daughter?

Mic check. Mic check. Read the articles. Much of this is coming from the black community. If you're asking me how many of the black people erecting these billboards would allow a black man to marry their black daughter? Probably many of them.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:22 AM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow, this is rich. Seems to be in the same vein as "The Republican Party -- The Party of Abraham Lincoln" -- by which I mean completely ignoring all historical context and reality.
posted by graventy at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates : I'm not really buying all of this "these are the same people who have oppressed black people for ages." Not only because many of these people ARE black themselves, but because this movement is, at least in their minds, a pro-black charge. Through their eyes, they are acting in an attempt to strengthen the African-American community, not undermine or oppress it.

Interesting how advocates of this campaign so nonchalantly state that one of their goals is to show how Latinos are out-breeding African-Americans.

I guess I'm having some real trouble reconciling these two statements of yours. Because any time I see talk of one race "outbreeding" another, I sure as hell see a bunch of motherfucking racists. The very race-concsious aspect of their approach belies any sort of "we're in it for the Blacks" mentaility.

Look at this quote: “Black children are an endangered species,”

They can't bring themselves to use the words "African-American." Why the fuck not?

Don't be fooled by these wolves in sheeps clothing.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2010


Why, because African-Americans are dumb and cannot see the fact that these people are unreconstructed segregationists?

They don't have to be dumb, just human enough to not mind a little segregation themselves, and religious enough to believe that what happens on Earth isn't all that important anyhow.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2010


except abortion, of course; that's important
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2010


Are these neo-cons for birth control pills and other contraceptives being free and available in the black community?

Birth Control Causes Abortions.

So, no.
posted by cereselle at 10:30 AM on March 2, 2010


I guess I'm having some real trouble reconciling these two statements of yours. Because any time I see talk of one race "outbreeding" another, I sure as hell see a bunch of motherfucking racists. The very race-concsious aspect of their approach belies any sort of "we're in it for the Blacks" mentaility.

I really, really, really, really, really strongly urge you to read the articles or watch the video or something. White conservative evangelicals telling black people that they should not have abortions has been around for decades and is not an interesting story. The reason why this is becoming a national story is the recent and very enthusiastic adoption of the idea of a "black genocide" by the black community. Black leaders (mostly men) are urging black women not to have abortions - one of their reasons being that Latinos are outbreeding them and that they are losing Minority #1 status in the US. By increasing their population, they will therefore increase their political clout.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm having some real trouble reconciling these two statements of yours. Because any time I see talk of one race "outbreeding" another, I sure as hell see a bunch of motherfucking racists. The very race-concsious aspect of their approach belies any sort of "we're in it for the Blacks" mentaility.

Look at this quote: “Black children are an endangered species,”

They can't bring themselves to use the words "African-American." Why the fuck not?

Don't be fooled by these wolves in sheeps clothing.


I'm pretty confused by this argument Ironmouth. Maybe they are racist, if they're talking about outbreeding other races, it seems likely that they are. The point was that the people who put up this billboard ARE BLACK. They might be racist blacks, but they're black.

The problem with saying "From the same folks who brought us Willie Horton, Welfare Queens, campaign material featuring Obama laden with watermelon and ribs, and voter literacy tests" is that the people who brought you those things were white people, the people behind this billboard are not.

Also, the fact that they don't say African American means basically nothing, plenty of people self identify as black.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


They can't bring themselves to use the words "African-American." Why the fuck not?

Perhaps because many who could self-identify as "African-American" don't care enough about the term to do so.

It's interesting to see how the term is used here in NY. We have large Black immigrant communities here who are neither of African descent nor Americans. I've been corrected by people who were originally from the Caribbean when I've used the term in their company.

This is why I used both terms in the FPP, and didn't restrict myself to either one.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Much of this is coming from the black community.

But where's the money coming from?

Not only that, but the fact that some African-Americans are on the other side of the abortion divide and are speaking up about it does not mean they are coming from the "Black Community."

Because it isn't just this one article, dude.

Let's look closer.

This hit the big time this week because of comments made by Republican Rep. Trent Franks last week in an interview with Mike Stark. NYT is just jumping on the bandwagon and adding "balance" quotes from a few African Americans.

So, is Stark an African-American?

Nope. White bread GOP Christian Conservative.

And why are African-Americans having more abortions? Because they are made poor by the economic policies of the GOP and therefore cannot afford to raise children.

This is transparent bullshit. Perhaps in their own minds these people pat themselves on the back for their alleged concerns for African-Americans, but they sure as hell won't lift a finger to cure the real issues at the heart of this.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2010


flarbuse, the thing is that they've always tried to court religious black voters, but (my interpretation, grain of salt) those voters won't switch sides so quickly based on a single issue like this.

Yes. For at least the last 20 years or so the GOP has tried to recruit minority voters with these kinds of issues. It hasn't worked at all, with the one exception of the Cuban-American population of South Florida. (A rather important one, as it may have gotten Bush elected. But really it was more about perceiving Repubs as more anti-Castro, and Al Gore's involvement in the Elian Gonzalez fiasco.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:34 AM on March 2, 2010


gyc: "Ummm.... yes? I doubt neo-cons care one way or the other. You do know the difference between neo-cons and social conservatives, right?"

Theoretically there's a difference but since 9 times out out of 10, neo-cons and social-cons vote for the same Republican, it doesn't really make a practical difference. And they may have different focuses but both groups are all about enforcing control on other people.
posted by octothorpe at 10:35 AM on March 2, 2010


Bush tried to pose as a moderate on immigration and play up his Latino family connections, and it never worked very well to get Latino votes. The really funny part is, because of changing demographics, Texas is going to be in play nationally, soon. If not in 2012, then by 2016 or 2020 for sure.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:36 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


SisterSong (mentioned in the NYT link) is doing great work speaking out against the billboards' message.
posted by box at 10:36 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really, really, really, really, really strongly urge you to read the articles or watch the video or something... The reason why this is becoming a national story is the recent and very enthusiastic adoption of the idea of a "black genocide" by the black community.

Who are doing this with the aid and encouragement of white, conservative evangelicals, e.g.:

For years the largely white staff of Georgia Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, tried to tackle the disproportionately high number of black women who undergo abortions. But, staff members said, they found it difficult to make inroads with black audiences.

So in 2009, the group took money that it normally used for advertising a pregnancy hot line and hired a black woman, Catherine Davis, to be its minority outreach coordinator.


Come on, this is from the first linked article.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:36 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why, because African-Americans are dumb and cannot see the fact that these people are unreconstructed segregationists?

Black people aren't any dumber or smarter than white people, and just as some lower-class white people will fall for right-wing propaganda and vote for wealthy Republican candidates who despise them, so will some black people fall for right-wing propaganda and vote for racist Republican candidates who despise them.

More to the point, this campaign is just another example of the despicable depths to which those who oppose abortion rights will sink. There is no lie too despicable that they will not tell it, no truth so plain that they will not twist it, no deception they will not carry out. Their decades-long war on truth puts the lie to their claims of moral superiority- how strange that such a moral and loving goal as they claim to have can only be achieved by violence, rage, and lies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:37 AM on March 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


I've been corrected by people who were originally from the Caribbean

Uh, those people are also of African origin. Its not like the African race got there any other way than in the belly of slave ships owned by whites. Perhaps these persons would rather not be identified with those who were brought directly to America, it is their right to define themselves any way they want, but the historical reality is this--they come from African origin, mixed in with some small numbers of Native Americans and other races in the Caribbean.

Unless you propose to argue that somehow a separate "black" race arose in the Caribbean, in which case, I'd love to see that evidence.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2010


OK, how many of them would let a Black man marry their daughter?

Umm... Ironmouth? These are African-American males. Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies. That's the point. I think the complaint is that this reduces African-American women to little more than "fetal containers for the race."
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:39 AM on March 2, 2010


These are African-American males. Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies. That's the point. I think the complaint is that this reduces African-American women to little more than "fetal containers for the race."

Wha? It is your stated position that: " Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies." Your statement is that by each and every account, Black men are demanding that their daughters marry black men and make them "fetal containers" for the African-American race?

Because, you know, I thought that like every group, there was variation in the attitudes of the persons within the group. What evidence do you have of the idea that all black males require their daughters to marry black men.

And before you accuse me of pedantry, let me point out that it is not my responsiblity to apply intellectual rigor to categorical statements you've made. That's your responsiblity.

And if you return to qualify, let's start getting into actual numbers then.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:45 AM on March 2, 2010


Uh, those people are also of African origin. Its not like the African race got there any other way than in the belly of slave ships owned by whites. Perhaps these persons would rather not be identified with those who were brought directly to America, it is their right to define themselves any way they want, but the historical reality is this--they come from African origin, mixed in with some small numbers of Native Americans and other races in the Caribbean.

I misspoke slightly. They don't self-identify as African-anything, was my point. If they don't self-identify as African-something, then why should I or anyone else presume to impose such a classification upon them?

Unless you propose to argue that somehow a separate "black" race arose in the Caribbean, in which case, I'd love to see that evidence.

I'm not arguing anything. I merely pointed out something I had observed, and a poll that I was aware of. But you certainly seem to be taking on all comers in this thread. Would you like me to make a MeTa for you?
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Would you like me to make a MeTa for you?

huh? I don't get what you are saying? Are you saying you're going to tell on me? All I'm saying these jokers are the same racist conservative fucks that have been at the core of every issue facing the African-American community for the last 200 years and that their approach drips with insincerity.

I've been following this particular category of Republican fool for a long, long time.

For the most egregious example, see The Black Republican, run by two white guys.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2010


Let's create a law that bans african-americans from getting abortions. That'll fix everything.
posted by ruthsarian at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2010


huh? I don't get what you are saying? Are you saying you're going to tell on me?

I'm saying that you're being unnecessarily fighty and aggressive. MeTa isn't used exclusively for callouts, as you know. It's also a place where people can let off steam without derailing threads.

While making this FPP, (and now as well,) I have been concerned that this thread covers several topics which Don't Go Well here: Racism. Conservatism and Politics. Abortion. I am mindful that it is folly to try to moderate one's own thread, but at the same time it would be nice if this thread didn't completely derail because you happened to be pissed off over its content.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2010


And to be clear, I'm not asking you not to contribute. I'm saying I would appreciate it if you would calm down a little.
posted by zarq at 11:01 AM on March 2, 2010


Blazecock Pileon:

I don't necessarily disagree with you and I think we may be talking past each other.

You post from the article:

For years the largely white staff of Georgia Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, tried to tackle the disproportionately high number of black women who undergo abortions. But, staff members said, they found it difficult to make inroads with black audiences.

So in 2009, the group took money that it normally used for advertising a pregnancy hot line and hired a black woman, Catherine Davis, to be its minority outreach coordinator.


My point, as I have expressed earlier, is that yes, of course, for years the people trying to raise awareness about the abortion rate in the black community were white conservative evangelicals. But nobody really cared. It wasn't catching on. So they changed tactics.

Now we see that they are finally making inroads in the black community. And this is the story. This is what has caught the eye of the national media. Finally their ideas have been embraced by some members and some leaders of various black communities. I'm not so much interested in the specific paths that led there. What I am interested in what this entails going forward. And what I'm particularly interested in is the fact that one of the main selling points to black leaders - the "this is why you should be interested" pitch - was not necessarily about the value of human life or the sin of "killing babies" or whatever religious/moral nonsense abortion foes usually use - no, the hook was, "if you get black women to stop having more abortions, then the black community will get larger and you will have greater political power."

And, to repeat what I said earlier, this to me is just another example of powerful men conspiring for political power playing political games with the health choices of women.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:03 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Abortion is immoral" is an honest argument, if misguided. "It would be good to increase the African-American birthrate" is an honest argument, if racist.

"Abortion is wrong because it's part of a systematic eugenics campaign" is not an honest argument. These people oppose abortion, period. They're just using this argument because they can't win with "abortion is wrong."
posted by callmejay at 11:06 AM on March 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Whether this group is honestly some kind of grassroots or similar good-faith African American initiative or whether it is backed by white, GOP strategizing money is interesting and relevant, Ironmouth, and you've brought some good info into the thread on that point. I for one am interested and would love to see that discussion flush out and go further, and that is so much more likely to happen if we can calm the aggressive tone a bit. I'm really hesitant to post this because I am getting the impression from the tone of your comments that you wanna fight someone (anyone) about something (anything), and I really don't want to be that person. I just want to see a good discussion happen here, including the contributions of the thoughts you've brought in.
posted by bunnycup at 11:07 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have been concerned that this thread covers several topics which Don't Go Well here: Racism. Conservatism and Politics. Abortion.

Uh, you know that you just posted an FPP about those things, right?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2010


"Abortion is wrong because it's part of a systematic eugenics campaign" is not an honest argument. These people oppose abortion, period. They're just using this argument because they can't win with "abortion is wrong."

This is a good point and sort of overlooked in this thread as we take on other issues. But really that's the heart of the issue and you've summed it up well.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2010


My point, as I have expressed earlier, is that yes, of course, for years the people trying to raise awareness about the abortion rate in the black community were white conservative evangelicals. But nobody really cared. It wasn't catching on. So they changed tactics.

Well... most of them were white evangelicals. Not all. LEARN's been around since 1993. Jesse Jackson made the 'Abortion is Black Genocide' comment in 1977. He's since changed his mind.
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth, do you really need a third party to tell you that you are being unusually fighty in this thread? Fine. You are being unusually fighty.
posted by ryanrs at 11:13 AM on March 2, 2010


Uh, you know that you just posted an FPP about those things, right?

Yes. In fact, I said so twice in my comment to you.

Here's what I said, in its entirety: "While making this FPP, (and now as well,) I have been concerned that this thread covers several topics which Don't Go Well here: Racism. Conservatism and Politics. Abortion. I am mindful that it is folly to try to moderate one's own thread, but at the same time it would be nice if this thread didn't completely derail because you happened to be pissed off over its content."

If you're going to quote me to make a point, giving the full context would be nice.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on March 2, 2010


Thank you, ryanrs.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2010


You can't necessarily dismiss anti-abortion sentiment in the black community as the work of self-hating Uncle Toms. There is a strain of black nationalist ideology that is very anti-abortion and anti-contraception, based on the belief that higher black birth rates would get blacks more political power.
posted by jonp72 at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2010


I totally do not have the time right now to dig up my comment from like three years ago explaining the deeply conservative streak based on fundamentalist, Biblical literalist teachings that pervades most urban black churches today, but I see that just like then people here still don't understand that the black church community doesn't really give a shit about what middle class white liberals think they should be believing, they do their own thing and it's often in contradiction with outdated notions of what the black church community was during the civil rights era. Saying that this is "a couple of wealthy black men" demonstrates to me how little exposure people here have to urban black faith communities. I can't think of one in Philly that's pro-choice, I know that much. Shit, I work on a team of social workers that is 80% black and Latino and none of them are pro-choice.
posted by The Straightener at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


These are African-American males. Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies. That's the point. I think the complaint is that this reduces African-American women to little more than "fetal containers for the race."

Wha? It is your stated position that: " Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies." Your statement is that by each and every account, Black men are demanding that their daughters marry black men and make them "fetal containers" for the African-American race?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on March 2


I think this assertion was limited to the specific black anti-abortionists in the articles.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:19 AM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth, and you've brought some good info into the thread on that point. I for one am interested and would love to see that discussion flush out and go further, and that is so much more likely to happen if we can calm the aggressive tone a bit.

Seriously, you have someone insisting that all black men want to use black women as a vessel to continue the race and you wonder why I'm fighty? Its just that on the issue of race, you see more off the cuff, I didn't think about it kinds statements. That's why I try to link to stuff. Or people insisting that they actually know that white conservative money behind all of this is driven by good motives. I'm just saying evidence-based argumentation on all of this is what needs to be done. It isn't a coincidence that anti-abortion groups in Georgia never even thought about hiring an African-American until now.

If you follow me here, you'll notice that I try as best I can to stick to evidence-based argumentation, or pointing out the logical flaws in statements people make. Sure, I make strong points, but I also argue from evidence and point out things that are just assumptions, not backed by facts.

I feel like I can be a little tough with Josh becasue (1) we are friendly and have met for drinks in the real world several times; (2) he's a professor of philosophy and can take it when someone points out a blanket statement about what black men prefer might not be the best argument out there; (3) he's not black, so he can't say he has any special insight into the African-American community; and (4) it is precisely on the issue of race where one has to be especially careful about making vast generalizations because you are working with an immutable characteristic of people.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:20 AM on March 2, 2010


This issue has been around forever. It's interesting to see it's becoming more remarked upon.

Links to books which I found useful in understanding this issue.

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty
Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement
Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare

The first book would be the best place to start, but I must say that Dorothy Roberts does not pull any punches. It is a book that will make you shout and wave your arms around, but it will definitely make you think. I'll give a sketchy summary: Dorothy Roberts, a legal scholar, argues that the right to not reproduce must necessarily be accompanied by the right to reproduce by women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and drug/health histories. Her argument is that by offering young women choices that give them greater hope for education and advancement the decision not to reproduce at a very young age will naturally be made. So the greater problem of poverty, education, and the failure of the inner cities needs to be tackled in order to lift young women out of situations where having children very young, and having children that some would say they cannot afford, is a perfectly viable and appropriate life strategy.

Given the history of sterilization in this country, much of which was targeted at women of color through putatively race-neutral means, it is perfectly natural that many people of color would be suspicious of abortion. In addition, the women's rights movement didn't make many friends along the way when they focused on access to abortion, when many civil rights activists were fighting to end sterilization. It's a complicated history that still resonants within both communities.

So this isn't just the crazy women-hating white folk tricking people. There's a genuine issue which has roots in race relations since before the civil war that underlies some of what these groups are referencing. I'm all for the right to choose: what I learned from Dorothy Roberts is that the right to choose doesn't mean that people are always going to make the decisions that I think they should, or want members of their community to make those decisions.

There's a great article about the way immigrant women in California were tricked systematically into being sterilized, but I can't remember the name right now.
posted by winna at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


you have someone insisting that all black men want to use black women as a vessel to continue the race

Ironmouth, read that comment again - nobody said that at all.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:23 AM on March 2, 2010


"Abortion is wrong because it's part of a systematic eugenics campaign" is not an honest argument. These people oppose abortion, period. They're just using this argument because they can't win with "abortion is wrong."

Yep, and they are using charged, dog-whistle language designed, ironically, to counter the very positions that they took on every other issue up to this point regarding African-Americans. This particular tactic is despicable.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:23 AM on March 2, 2010


Saying that this is "a couple of wealthy black men" demonstrates to me how little exposure people here have to urban black faith communities.

Point taken, but to be fair, I wasn't trying to paint the entire black community with that one broad brush. I was merely pointing out the people who purchased the billboards in Atlanta were two wealthy black men - the reason why I identified them as such is because I'm guessing the people the ads are directed at are poor black women.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:23 AM on March 2, 2010


I think the folks behind the ads can make this case all they want. Those who are roped in or faithfully attend churches with this belief system may be pulled into it, but otherwise I guess I just don't see it really having some larger sway over other parts of black culture to the point where it becomes a movement.
posted by cashman at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2010


They can't bring themselves to use the words "African-American." Why the fuck not?

The paternal side of my family is black, and without exception my family hates to be called "African-American." Every human is (probably) of African origin, but we don't all refer to ourselves as Africans because most of us weren't born there. Some blacks came to the West "in the belly of slave ships" (and some sailed or flew here of their own accord, not exclusively from Africa, after slavery was outlawed), but that was a long, long time ago. Hell, my ancestors might once have lived in ancient Mesopotamia, but we don't call ourselves Mesopotamian-Americans.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:28 AM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


If they were sincere about wanting to save black infants from death, as opposed to just using a political wedge issue, they would also be supporting universal health care. After all, African-American infant mortality rates are several hundred percent higher than for white infants.
posted by Davenhill at 11:29 AM on March 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


When the conservative movement decides to put up billboards about police shootings, inequalities in incarceration, environmental racism, unequal access to health care, education, and job opportunities, or unequal federal assistance when a hurricane flies through your already-failing infrastructure that has been pointed to as a danger for years before the fact...

Maybe then I'll listen.
posted by yeloson at 11:29 AM on March 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think that one of the misconceptions being bandied about here is that African Anericans as a group are socially progressive. We are not. Outside of the issue of race, African Americans by and large are extremely socially conservative. African American stances on issues of religion, gender, sexuality are much more in line with republicans/neocons/conservatives/fox news listeners. This is an issue that democrat politicians have ignored to their peril. Overall, African Americans are against abortion. Overall, African Americans are against same-sex marriages. Overall, African Americans are for whatever the pastor says. And increasingly, the African American church has transformed from primarily a socially progressive force to a largely prosperity gospel based phenomenon. This is not to say that there are not segments of the black population that are liberal. There are (I am as liberal as it is humanly possible to be). But that is not the norm.
posted by anansi at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


When the Christian conservatives decide to aggressively go after black voters on religious issues, the democrats in this country are going to be in a lot of trouble.

I'm not that worried about that. It just isn't that hard if you're black to see all the crackers voting en masse for the Republicans and know that whoever you should vote for, it sure as hell ain't that.

But while Republican elected officials are pretty restrictively prolife, Democrats run the gamut from "never" to "on demand and the state should pay for it." So, if this really takes off you'd be more likely to just see Democrats be more prolife / less prochoice as they represent more black voters, and for Democratic presidential candidates to hem and haw about abortion a bit more than they had before.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2010


Or, following anansi, you'd be more likely to see Democrats representing more black voters take generally more socially conservative positions. This isn't anything shocking, and happens all the time now with black voters and other socioethnic groups that strongly tend to vote Democratic and tend to be socially conservative (viz, Chicago Poles and Bill and now Dan Lipinski).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2010


I'm inclined to agree with Ironmouth, and I think this has the potential to backfire big time on the people who are behind this. Yes, there are black men who are leading this charge at the grass-roots level, but the major pro-life organizations tend to be lily white at the top. If one of these guys tries to get elected, or hell promoted even, to a level of some national prominence I have no doubt that there will be deep ambivalence among the country club leadership.

And that's just the top. Even pro-life black churches aren't likely to forget the Obama witch doctor images and the like. Getting church members to oppose abortion is one thing, getting them to elect your guys when they have an (R) next to the name is another. The smartest thing Bush ever did was try and get immigration reform through and his party's dumbass race-baiting freakout probably cost the Republicans Latino voters for a generation. I think a similar thing happened with Obama, and it's going to make the Republican abortion ponzi scheme difficult to run on black churches for very long.

Also, it's not like these guys invented opposition to abortion among African-Americans. It's just that pro-life groups are taking a run at them because they think they can drum up some votes. I remain skeptical.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:40 AM on March 2, 2010


God, what a tangle. The comments on some of those "counter-argument" linked articles were really interesting.
Great FPP. Thanks.
posted by ServSci at 11:42 AM on March 2, 2010


I find this chart useful in clarifying the true nature of the pro "life" movement.
posted by sswiller at 11:44 AM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hell, my ancestors might once have lived in ancient Mesopotamia, but we don't call ourselves Mesopotamian-Americans.

I call myself Irish-American. But I call people whatever the hell they want to be called. I mean, for years I called Prince an unpronouncable symbol.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as far as this being orchestrated by outside interests, I don't thik so. I think that its crass, ignorant and steeped in conspiracy theory. But it is a common meme amongst "street" philosophers. The church is picking it up because they believe it and because they are adamantly ati-abortion. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. at Princeton talks a lot about this evolution of the black church and the common misconceptions concerning it. I'd recommend his, In a Shade of Blue
posted by anansi at 11:53 AM on March 2, 2010


Isn't this a case of hating abortion even more than hating the idea of lessening the number of new Blacks brought into the world?
posted by Postroad at 11:55 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The paternal side of my family is black, and without exception my family hates to be called "African-American."
What is there to hate about being called African American? I understand having a different preference, I usually refer to myself as black (that's how I grew up thinking of it). But only reserve hate for nomenclature that has negative connotations: mulatto, nigger, negro, coon . . . and so on. What is negative about African American? Or is there some other basis for the hate?
posted by anansi at 11:59 AM on March 2, 2010


When the Christian conservatives decide to aggressively go after black voters on religious issues, the democrats in this country are going to be in a lot of trouble.

There's a big difference between getting people to vote religious on one issue, like Gay marriage and actually getting them to vote republican in general. Also, these people are not even promoting abortion bans, rather they are simply trying to get people not to have abortions.
Really? You have access to their minds? OK, how many of them would let a Black man marry their daughter?

Yep, didn't think so.
-- Ironmouth
Given that these are black men who already married someone's daughters, it seems like it would be somewhat hypocritical not too.
Yep, didn't think so. -- Ironmouth
Oh but you have access to their minds, despite the fact that you don't even know what race they are, despite the fact that it was explained in the very comment you quoted
I guess I'm having some real trouble reconciling these two statements of yours. Because any time I see talk of one race "outbreeding" another, I sure as hell see a bunch of motherfucking racists. The very race-concsious aspect of their approach belies any sort of "we're in it for the Blacks" mentaility.
Uh, you don't think black people can be racist against Mexicans?
Bush tried to pose as a moderate on immigration and play up his Latino family connections, and it never worked very well to get Latino votes. The really funny part is, because of changing demographics, Texas is going to be in play nationally, soon. If not in 2012, then by 2016 or 2020 for sure.-- drjimmy11
Actually it DID work in 2000. But then there was the whole Lou Dobbs/Tancredo/etc movement in the republican party and that was the end of that. The republicans have probably lost Hispanics for a generation, although not to the same extent as African Americans.
Your statement is that by each and every account, Black men are demanding that their daughters marry black men and make them "fetal containers" for the African-American race?

Because, you know, I thought that like every group, there was variation in the attitudes of the persons within the group. What evidence do you have of the idea that all black males require their daughters to marry black men.
-- Ironmouth
He was talking about the people you were talking about, who were the people who are running this campaign. Black men who are worried about there being too many black babies getting aborted.
And before you accuse me of pedantry, let me point out that it is not my responsiblity to apply intellectual rigor to categorical statements you've made. That's your responsiblity.-- Ironmouth
Except you're talking nonsense. He never said that all black men wanted there to be more black babies, only the people running this campaign.
Seriously, you have someone insisting that all black men want to use black women as a vessel to continue the race and you wonder why I'm fighty?-- Ironmouth
NO ONE SAID THAT
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It really is a shame that they're being forced to have these abortions by the death panels. Who knew Obama was such a double-reverse-racist?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:06 PM on March 2, 2010


You know, what's really disingenuous about this argument is simply this: the number of abortions doesn't matter. If every black woman on the planet has twenty-five abortions each, and every white woman has zero, it makes no difference at all.

Why? Because the only number that does matter is births. Who the hell cares about how many babies you don't have? Only the ones that actually show up make any difference.

In a quick Google search, with zero substantiation or digging for original sources, black birth rates are slightly higher than white rates. One link claims 2.15 births per black woman, versus 2.01 births per white woman. Another link says that Hispanic fertility rates are substantially higher, at 2.3 per, but that same article, written in 1998, says the rate is 1.9 for whites and 2.0 for blacks. So, while the numbers don't agree, they do seem to have the relative differences about right, so it's probably close enough for a forum discussion.

That's the number you need to use to make a eugenics argument, and while black birth rates have been steadily dropping over the last thirty years, they're still at about replacement levels. If you accept the first link's assertion that a 2.1 birth rate is required to keep a population constant, and combine that with the more-complete birthrate numbers in the second link, it appears all native populations in the US are shrinking except for Hispanics. And whites are shrinking faster than blacks, so if we have an Evil Eugenics Plan going, we're doing a piss-poor job of it.
posted by Malor at 12:07 PM on March 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Isn't it funny how anyone who has a problem with "hyphenated Americans" ultimately find themselves in a homogenous, small group?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:08 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Abortion is wrong because it's part of a systematic eugenics campaign" is not an honest argument.

Yeah, they've got symptom and cause mixed up here. The "systematic eugenics campaign" is made up of the continued trend of institutionalized racism, sociopolitical policies widening the gap in income disparity, and a rapidly declining public education system, particularly for the poor.

Of course, this campaign is largely leveled more generally against the poor. But given that African Americans make up a significant percentage of the underclass in this country, a specific call-out is not unwarranted.

That said, trying to argue with logic against anti-abortion proponents—whatever their argument du jour happens to be—is usually an exercise in futility.
posted by Brak at 12:09 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Argh, I should have removed "they're still at about replacement levels" from that last paragraph. I decided I trusted the numbers from the second link more than the first about halfway through that paragraph, and didn't go back and erase the assertion that blacks are replacing themselves. They are by the first link, but they aren't by the second link.
posted by Malor at 12:10 PM on March 2, 2010


That's the number you need to use to make a eugenics argument, and while black birth rates have been steadily dropping over the last thirty years, they're still at about replacement levels.

Shouldn't we also consider the wide disparity in mortality rates as well?
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, those people are also of African origin.

If political correctness was about being technically correct with our terminology, it would be significant that everyone is of African origin, "Native" Americans included, to the best of our anthropological knowledge. This includes some Caucasians/Arabs with African origin more recent than Caribbean black populations.

But political correctness isn't about being technically correct, just about giving people a chance to avoid labels which even if literally correct might have picked up unwarranted negative connotations. If zarq knows some Caribbean-descended people who don't think of themselves as part of the same culture/race that gets called "African-American", for example, why force the word on them? In a discussion which is about race irrespective of geography or nationality, why insist on the use of a code word which is half geography and half nationality? I vaguely recall once seeing a British interviewee having to patiently explain to a US reporter that "I'm not African, and I'm not American."
posted by roystgnr at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A fair number of black people are religious, and some of them Catholic, or Evangelical, and so have grown up with antiabortion messages their entire life. It's not necessarily a philosophy that's being imposed from without. I suspect Ironmouth's question of where the money is coming from is more interesting.

I mean, there have been Tea Bagger types for ages now, but when the conservative party suddenly found them useful, they threw their money and support behind organizing them, and gave them enough attention to think they actually had someone's ear. If there is one thing that the Republican party has a genius for, it's finding a wedge and exploiting it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anotherpanacea was just quoting these dudes, than I did misinterpret. But the quote shows how really racially charged what these types are doing is. The concerns with "breeding" and the like only show their true colors.

However, I just looked through the articles and found no such quote. Anywhere. Nor is the statment in quotes.

But lets look at the facts:

This all hit the media because of the comments of a White GOP congressman, Trent Franks.

This is what Franks had to say about welfare:

The story is told of a young man who went into the welfare office. They asked him why he needed financial assistance. He said, 'I'm having trouble with my eyes. I just can't see myself going to work'.

its the same old "welfare queens" mentality. these people don't care about African-Americans. They care about abortion and are willing to lie to get what they want.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:15 PM on March 2, 2010


I'm inclined to agree with Ironmouth, and I think this has the potential to backfire big time on the people who are behind this. Yes, there are black men who are leading this charge at the grass-roots level, but the major pro-life organizations tend to be lily white at the top. If one of these guys tries to get elected, or hell promoted even, to a level of some national prominence I have no doubt that there will be deep ambivalence among the country club leadership.
I think there is some confusion here. There are two different messages being pushed by the pro-life movement: 1) Abortion should be illegal and 2) You, PERSONALLY should not get an abortion.

This seems like a version of message #2 being targeted towards the African American community. I doubt many of the people who are buying this message are going to turn around and say that abortion should be illegal. They are not necessarily going to turn around and be more inclined to vote for democrats who are for banning abortion and they are never going vote for republicans.

It seems like there's an inability among pro-choice advocates to recognize message 2, let alone realize that it doesn't conflict with what they are advocating (that abortion should be legal)

I'm pro choice, and I'm not particularly bothered by abortion. But I can't exactly figure out what the problem is with pro-life people making the argument that people shouldn't choose to bring their children to term.

I think pro-choice advocacy effort would be better spent on making sure that impediments to abortion are removed. Pro-lifers spend a lot of time trying to make abortions legally difficult to obtain, if not technically illegal. There are some states with zero, or only one abortion clinic, for example.

---

Also, the idea that black people couldn't possibly have thought this up on their own, or actually agreed with the ideas without being manipulated by white puppet masters who actually hate them, etc, despite the fact that most black people are socially conservative is pretty ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, what's really disingenuous about this argument is simply this: the number of abortions doesn't matter.

You are attempting to inject logic into an ideological argument. Good luck.
posted by anansi at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is negative about African American? Or is there some other basis for the hate?

Replacing one syllable (black) with SEVEN.

THAT is why I hate "African American".
posted by the bricabrac man at 12:18 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given the World War II motifs that are tossed around in some of these links, it is significant that a number of the central themes in the arguments made are explicitly fascist: an obsession with race, purity, reproduction, and lebensraum. It would only be topped by the Republican Party handing out "Hero Mother of the Homeland" medals for having the most number of children.

Overpopulation is not a competition that the human race can win.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:18 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Replacing one syllable (black) with SEVEN.

THAT is why I hate "African American".


How droll. Seriously, why the hate? Or is there just no critical thought on the part of those who dislike this term.
posted by anansi at 12:22 PM on March 2, 2010


If anotherpanacea was just quoting these dudes, than I did misinterpret. But the quote shows how really racially charged what these types are doing is. The concerns with "breeding" and the like only show their true colors.

However, I just looked through the articles and found no such quote. Anywhere. Nor is the statment in quotes.
Ironmouth, here's what happened:

1) (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates pointed said he didn't think the people behind this were the same ones who had oppressed African Americans for ages, mainly because they were black.

2) You said these guys wouldn't be willing to let their daughters marry black men, apparently unaware that they were black, even though it was pointed out in the comment you quoted.

3) anotherpanacea pointed out, again, that these guys actually are black and would probably want their daughters to marry black men, but said it in a hyperbolic way

4) You got confused and thought he was talking about all black men. Instead he was talking about the same people you were talking about when you said "they" wouldn't let their daughters marry black men.
posted by delmoi at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


They care about abortion and are willing to lie to get what they want.

Honestly? I don't even think they care about abortion. I think the issue's just a means to an end for them
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


NO ONE SAID THAT

the full quote:

Umm... Ironmouth? These are African-American males. Those who have daughters are, by all accounts, demanding that they marry Black men, and bear black babies. That's the point. I think the complaint is that this reduces African-American women to little more than "fetal containers for the race."

Somebody said that. And he didn't say that "only the black people supporting the anti-abortion views are saying this." He didn't support with a link to a quote. In fact, there appears to be no quote in any of the articles that is anything like this. If he meant something else, that's fine. But I don't see any evidence of that. None. I can't just let such an outrageous quote go by. If it means something else, show it to me.

I'm just working off of what I see. The stated quote says exactly what I said it did. It didn't refer to anyone, it didn't say "I'm paraphrasing these people," it just left that quote out there for me to read. And I read it. And that is what it said. Where are people getting the idea that it said anything else than exactly what it said? I'm willing totally to say that he didn't mean what the words said, as soon as I get some evidence.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:31 PM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth, he wasn't quoting any of the articles, he was responding TO YOU. YOU are the one who said the bit about daughters getting married. He was addressing YOUR OWN COMMENT.
posted by moxiedoll at 12:34 PM on March 2, 2010


And he didn't say that "only the black people supporting the anti-abortion views are saying this."

Well, I interpreted anotherpanacea's use of the demonstrative "These" to refer back to the subject that was already being discussed. It felt clear to me immediately that the black people that "these" referred to were only those who participated in the movement that is the subject of this post. Also, the words "I think the complaint is" indicated to me first, also immediately, that anotherpanacea was reporting back what he interpreted someone else's views to be stating. On considering this, because I felt reasonably certain that the phrase "I think the complaint is" was talking about a conclusion drawn from another person's expressed opinion, I felt confident that anotherpanacea did not share that opinion. But we could always just ask before we light our pyre.
posted by bunnycup at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


2) You said these guys wouldn't be willing to let their daughters marry black men, apparently unaware that they were black, even though it was pointed out in the comment you quoted.

I'm fully aware that some in the black community are anti-abortion. I'm talking about the white people who are paying for this. Just because two wealthy African-Americans paid for some the advertising space on a single billboard doesn't mean that the content of the billboard wasn't created for the Georgia Right to Life. There's an obvious attempt to make us believe that this is a bunch of African-Americans paying for this. It isn't true. Georgia Right to Life is paying for them, with some unknown level of support from two wealthy male African-American businessmen.

Indeed, just read the article: "Georgia Right to Life helped pay for the signs."

Let's put this spin on this: Josh thought that I didn't understand that two black men paid for some of the advertising on the signs. I did understand that. But if you simply read the article, you'll see that Georgia Right to Life, a previously white-run group, suddenly decided to hire a black woman to do outreach to African-American communities in Atlanta.

But anotherpanacea is wrong in thinking that this is an "African-American" movement. This is the same old white-financed race-baiting. That's what me and Blazecock Pileon are saying. Everybody is just buying the idea that this is some sort of grassroots thing. When the money comes from white conservatives, it isn't a grass-roots movement.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:40 PM on March 2, 2010


But we could always just ask before we light our pyre.

I did. I said qualify this. I said be more clear. It was an outrageous statement. We don't even know if the anti-abortion African-American men believe this. Seriously, there is no factual basis for the statement. Anywhere. He's putting words into their mouths. Even if your interpretation is correct, and he meant only the anti-abortion African-American men who are paying for some of the billboard cost, there is no evidence to support his statement that they believe black women are vessels for the race.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:44 PM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth, I'd be interested to hear your opinion The Straightener's comment.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:44 PM on March 2, 2010


Hawaii, New Mexico, California, and Texas are already majority-minority, and the US as a whole is projected to be majority-minority by 2042.

For GOP, it's a whiter shade of pale: "The 36 black delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul is the lowest total in 40 years for a Republican National Convention. These delegates represent 1.5 percent of the total number of delegates, substantially below the record setting 6.7 percent in 2004."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2010


Yes, there are black men who are leading this charge at the grass-roots level, but the major pro-life organizations tend to be lily white at the top.

They tend to be white and Christian which is why people here aren't understanding why Christian blacks wouldn't stand with secular white liberals on an issue like abortion.

Also, the idea that black people couldn't possibly have thought this up on their own, or actually agreed with the ideas without being manipulated by white puppet masters who actually hate them, etc, despite the fact that most black people are socially conservative is pretty ridiculous.

This is another reason. Again, sorry white middle class liberals, the black community isn't asking for your permission to be pro-life, in fact, they don't think about you hardly at all.
posted by The Straightener at 12:51 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth, he didn't say that they (African American men in general or specifically the anti-abortion African-American men who are paying for some of the billboard cost) believe black women are vessels for the race. That's not what the words say, or even what they imply. Plain and simple.
posted by bunnycup at 12:53 PM on March 2, 2010


I'm just working off of what I see. The stated quote says exactly what I said it did.
What you said being "all black men want to use black women as a vessel to continue the race?" No, it absolutely doesn't say that.

It didn't refer to anyone
Yes, it did refer to particular people.

If it means something else, show it to me.
Since it has been explained to you quite a few times already and you are obviously hyper-literal, I'm going to assume that you want someone to actually point you to it in visual form, so here is a series of 1-dimensional Venn Diagrams to help you understand:
<.........................................................>
                             ^
                             |
    This is the set of all African-American males

<............(:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::)............>
                             ^
                             |
    This is the subset of African-American males referred 
    to by anotherpanacea as "These," representing not ALL 
    African-American males, but the particular few who 
    are in charge of this campaign

<............(:::::::::::[|||||||]:::::::::::)............>
                             ^
                             |
    This is the subset of the ABOVE subset of African-
    American males referred to by anotherpanacea as
    "Those who have daughters," representing not ALL
    African-American males who have daughters, but
    the set of African-American males who are in 
    charge of this campaign who have daughters
Since demonstratives can be ambiguous, I understand your initial mistake. However, in the face of the original author clarifying what he meant, and so many other people confirming that that interpretation makes sense and wondering why are you being so weird about it, I'm having a hard time understanding why you keep insisting that he meant something completely different and pretty offensive. Please stop that.

Hope this helps!
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 12:53 PM on March 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Ironmouth, you are just noise.
posted by dirty lies at 1:00 PM on March 2, 2010


Wait, who's on first?
posted by nola at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Replacing one syllable (black) with SEVEN.

WWW has nine syllables. World Wide Web has three.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2010


I often wish the Democrats would go ahead and make abortion illegal and thus kill the Republican party overnight.

"Umm...hey guys...uh...Death tax?"
posted by Legomancer at 1:25 PM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth, I'd be interested to hear your opinion The Straightener's comment.

I totally do not have the time right now to dig up my comment from like three years ago explaining the deeply conservative streak based on fundamentalist, Biblical literalist teachings that pervades most urban black churches today, but I see that just like then people here still don't understand that the black church community doesn't really give a shit about what middle class white liberals think they should be believing, they do their own thing and it's often in contradiction with outdated notions of what the black church community was during the civil rights era. Saying that this is "a couple of wealthy black men" demonstrates to me how little exposure people here have to urban black faith communities. I can't think of one in Philly that's pro-choice, I know that much. Shit, I work on a team of social workers that is 80% black and Latino and none of them are pro-choice.

There is no doubt such a streak exists--you only have to see the debate on gay marriage here in DC, which is 66% African-American. But nowhere have I stated that the black church community should give a shit about what liberals think, or that I am telling them what to think because I am, like the Straightener, a white liberal.

What I am saying is that these articles are a snow job by the PR people at Georgia Right to Life, who want to make us believe that there is such an upswell of anti-abortion sentiment amongst African-Americans that there is a gigantic movement afoot. A largely white organization is suddenly discovering that there are African-Americans with conservative values on the issue of abortion and trying to push a bunk story that somehow whites are trying to kill blacks genocidally by encouraging abortions.

A little detective work helps here. One of the responses cited above cites an earlier editorial in the Des Moines Register, written by a Tom Quiner. The op-ed was published on Feb. 7, 2010. Mr. Quiner owns Breakthrough Marketing a company provinding marketing advice and services to DJs and wedding bands. From this YouTube video, linked to Breakthrough Marketing, we see clearly that Mr. Quiner is white.

So we are supposedly to believe that this is a spontaneous uprising of African-Americans against abortion? Trent Franks, a white congressman also makes these statements suddenly, at the same time ass Mr. Quiner? This is a coordinated campaign to get people to believe that there is a sudden upswell of African-Americans who are anti-abortion? Puhleeze. This is your standard, astro-turf operation.

Let's see where the domain names resolve to, eh?

this alleged African-American operation The Radiance Foundation resolves to a Abacus America, Inc.

Also registered with Abacus America? according to WhoIs VirtueMedia.org. Who, coincidence of coincidences, happens to be running a bunch of ads on, drum roll, BET. And what is the topic of these ads? Black Genocide. (Warning, Flash Player).

Virtue Media is a long time organization founded by a guy named Tom Peterson in 1997.

This is an astro-turf campaign, designed to make it look like something it isn't. White anti-abortion activists are paying for all of this, lock, stock and barrel. And they are decieving everyone here.

Oh and, is there any big legislation with a big abortion component which is in the news, and whose passage may rely on what type of abortion language is in the bill?

This is whitey, paying for this, pure and simple.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:30 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


However, in the face of the original author clarifying what he meant

The original statement was made by anotherpanacea. His only As you can see here, he has not clarified his statement, his one and only contribution to the thread.

There has been no clarification. Where is this claification?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2010


Whitey?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2010


Replacing one syllable (black) with SEVEN.

THAT is why I hate "African American".

How droll. Seriously, why the hate?


Seriously, I wasn't trying to be droll. I SERIOUSLY think its fucking stupid to replace a perfectly cromulent word like "black" with "african-american".

Seriously.
posted by the bricabrac man at 1:44 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the most egregious example, see The Black Republican, run by two white guys.

FYI, the term "Black Republican" was originally a slur used by Southern Democrats and American Party members against pro-abolition (or really, any) Republican in the run up to the Civil War. The tactics were pretty similar to those used in the Civil Rights era, scaremongering that your daughter would marry a negro, whites would be enslaved by angry black men seeking revenge for slavery, etc.

So two white guys using the phrase Black Republican may be a little weird and tone deaf, but I suspect it's more along the Party of Lincoln lines than an attempt to represent actual African-Americans.
posted by electroboy at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2010


This is new? About 15 years ago, in a very white, Catholic parish, I first heard Pro-Lifers saying that "abortionists" targeted black women. "Because they hate black babies," or something like that...

(That really confused me at the time, because it seemed like the most vocal Pro-Lifers there also really disliked anyone who wasn't white...)
posted by Silly Ashles at 1:56 PM on March 2, 2010


So two white guys using the phrase Black Republican may be a little weird and tone deaf, but I suspect it's more along the Party of Lincoln lines than an attempt to represent actual African-Americans.

Agreed. But they do try to paint themselves as champions of the black man. Been following those losers for two years.

As a huge Lincoln fanboy, I hate that.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:56 PM on March 2, 2010


This is new? About 15 years ago, in a very white, Catholic parish, I first heard Pro-Lifers saying that "abortionists" targeted black women. "Because they hate black babies," or something like that...

The idea is not new. Black activists were saying this about abortion in the '70's.

What's new is that the pro-life movement has suddenly noticed, and figured out a way to effectively spread the message.
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on March 2, 2010


Whitey?

In other words, these are conservative southern whites who normally are opposed to most of the agenda of the current set of African American politicians elected. However, they have a sudden and insincere interest in African Americans and push this stuff. The other line they push is that Planned Parenthood is "profiting" from the abortions they perform. As if they were suddenly against profit.

They've lost the argument and are resorting to lies like these. I find it frustrating.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:00 PM on March 2, 2010


What's new is that the pro-life movement has suddenly noticed, and figured out a way to effectively spread the message.

I guess what I'm saying is that we should hold off on saying that these people are "effectively" spreading the message until we see real data. Because we really just have one story from ABC claiming this is effective, and there is a real need amongst these people to convince us that indeed, African-Americans are really jumping on to their bandwagon--I think one story pushed by a flack isn't evidence of what they say it is.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:02 PM on March 2, 2010


Just MeMailed Josh (anotherpanacea) for a clarification.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:06 PM on March 2, 2010


As you can see here, he has not clarified his statement

Fair enough, I misremembered the thread. Strike that one phrase from my post. Still, the meaning you described never occurred to me and I still believe, with others, that it wasn't what s/he intended.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 2:07 PM on March 2, 2010


Because we really just have one story from ABC claiming this is effective

Well, we really have two separately sourced stories: ABC and the New York Times. Both quote folks who claim that the current campaign is more effective than previous ones. As you say, that really doesn't mean much. It's in the best interests of the people they're quoting to make it seem like it's resonating with their target audience.

I'm a publicist, by the way. I suspect I'm less prone to accepting news stories at face value than the average consumer.
posted by zarq at 2:09 PM on March 2, 2010


How droll. Seriously, why the hate? Or is there just no critical thought on the part of those who dislike this term.

"Hate" was probably a poor word choice on my part. We don't like the term African-American just because it's imprecise and automatically assumes some strong connection to Africa. My dad's branch of the family has lived in the U.S. for just as long or longer than many Caucasians who don't get hyphens added to their ethnicity simply because of the color of their skin. Also, when considering many of our ancestors were American Indians (er, "Native Americans") or were white, why emphasize the African ancestry?

But yes, people should be called whatever they want to be called, so it probably would be silly to "hate" the term.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 2:16 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sort of related, I've heard conservatives say that illegal immigration is (or should be) a black issue, with the assumption that immigrant labor takes away black jobs. I don't think it's because they care about black jobs, more that they're anti-immigration and want support for their cause.
posted by electroboy at 2:16 PM on March 2, 2010


Still, the meaning you described never occurred to me and I still believe, with others, that it wasn't what s/he intended.

But even if your meaning is correct, there is no evidence that the black businessmen who paid for the billboards actually said that. Do you understand my objection now? None of the links have anything as crazy as that in there.

And people say I'm being crazy. Literally, he ascribes those sentiments to those who pay for the billboards with no evidence whatsoever.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:23 PM on March 2, 2010


[Ironmouth, folks responding to Ironmouth: please ease off some. There's a lot more fight in here than there needs to be, and chilling out for a bit would probably help fix that.]
posted by cortex at 2:25 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a quick word to say that I was lessthan, clear, overly hyperbolic, and reading Buck v Bell when I wrote that comment. Others have clarifies my intentions for me and I'm going to come back and do a better job of expressing myself, but I wanted to start with an apology and ask everyone to focus on the friendly factual dispute between Ironmouth and The Straightener about the in-community prevalence of this view, and whether these billboards represent a silent conservative majority in the Black community.

Again, sorry for my tone and lack of clarity.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:26 PM on March 2, 2010


Ironmouth and The Straightener about the in-community prevalence of this view, and whether these billboards represent a silent conservative majority in the Black community.

I think that's really the best thing to try and figure out. Just sent my links out to someone who might be able to do a bit more research on that key question.

It may very well be that it is highly prevalent. But I don't think we should take the word of a few flacks like ABC did in this matter. Just looking at the links and whose producing these ads will help us on this.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2010



These programs weren't racially targeted, but it's certainly something that happened that's kind of been glossed over. It's not something I ever learned about in school, for example.

Good grief Delmoi. 99.9% of what you have learned was not learned in school.
posted by notreally at 2:33 PM on March 2, 2010


Ok Ironmouth, that comment with the links had a lot more signal. Thanks.
posted by dirty lies at 2:37 PM on March 2, 2010


It may very well be that it is highly prevalent. But I don't think we should take the word of a few flacks like ABC did in this matter.

You keep saying "flacks" and ignoring the lengthy New York Times article, which is first link I put into this FPP. Please look closely at who is being quoted in the article:

* Nancy Smith: Executive director of Georgia Right to Life
* Johnny M. Hunter: black pastor and "longtime abortion opponent in Fayetteville, N.C."
* Day Gardner: President of the National Black Pro-Life Union in Washington
* Loretta Ross: Executive Director of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective in Atlanta
* Carole Joffe: author of "Dispatches From the Abortion Wars."
* Ellen Chesler: historian and Sanger biographer, Board Member: Planned Parenthood.
* Markita Eddy: sophomore at Morris Brown College

If you have evidence that any of these people (who were interviewed for the article!) are in fact publicists and/or communications professionals, that their quotes are invented, that their various campaigns and agendas are making up facts out of thin air or that they themselves are poor sources, then please provide it. But otherwise, you're dangerously close to confirmation bias by harping on "flacks" that are not actually being interviewed or quoted.
posted by zarq at 2:44 PM on March 2, 2010


Malor, You know, what's really disingenuous about this argument is simply this: the number of abortions doesn't matter. If every black woman on the planet has twenty-five abortions each, and every white woman has zero, it makes no difference at all.

Why? Because the only number that does matter is births. Who the hell cares about how many babies you don't have? Only the ones that actually show up make any difference.


I don't necessarily think that the only thing that matters is live births. More abortions in black women (or any group of women) may indicate a lack of resources which could prevent unwanted pregnancies (such as proper sexual education and birth control).
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:52 PM on March 2, 2010


I've already apologized, but I'll do it again without the typos: I'm sorry I was unclear. I did not mean to include all African-American men in my comment, but rather those involved in publicizing these advertisements and those in the African-American community who share this sentiment. For them, this statement makes a persuasive argument:

"It affects me. It affects you. It affects us. Abortion is not just a women’s issue. It is a human issue. And today, for African-Americans, it is a human crisis. Nearly 40% of all black pregnancies end in induced abortion. That’s over 3x the rate of white women and 2x the rate of all other races combined. There are beautiful alternatives: adoption and parenthood, but they are not money-makers for abortionists."

Let's look at the claims:

"Abortion is not just a women's issue. It is a human issue. And today, for African-Americans, it is a human crisis. "

Here the authors are invoking the language of human rights: when we prosecute crimes against humanity such as forced sterilization, abortion, and systematic rape, we say that this injures not just the woman attacked, but also the race, when it attempts to eliminate the ethnic survival of Jews or Serbs, and that an attack on one race is an attack on the human race, insofar as it targets human diversity which is necessary for our continued survival. By comparing voluntary abortion to the acts of war criminals, we get a tenuous justification for the claim of "Black Genocide" and the comparison of aborition, slavery, and the massacre of Native Americans. I've seen these comparisons in the pro-life movement for more than a decade: the only difference is that these seem to be gaining ground in the African-American community itself.

The Negro Project was one of those efforts, spearheaded by Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, to eliminate the ‘unfit’.

We all know some of the history of the eugenics movement, but here they're claiming that the attempt to eliminate mental retardation among impoverished communities, typified by the Buck v. Bell line "Three generations of imbeciles is enough," was actually directed at eliminating African-Americans. Sanger certainly had some disgusting views of mental disability, but the claim that she was targeting all blacks is simply untrue, which is why she received support from Adam Clayton Powell, WEB Du Bois, and other prominent African Americans.

"Nearly 40% of all black pregnancies end in induced abortion. That’s over 3x the rate of white women and 2x the rate of all other races combined."

Here is the part I really object to, obviously. It's an enthymeme: though the syllogism is never completed, we're meant to draw the conclusion that abortion rates are part of an unfinished eugenics project to eliminate the black race. Black women are therefore asked to bring black babies to term in the name of the preserving that race.

Here's what Holmes says about that in Buck v. Bell:

"We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices"

The reference here is to conscription: if men can be asked to give their lives for the state when they are drafted for war, than women can be asked to give their wombs to supply more citizens or to prevent a burden on the state's resources. Muller v. Oregon took a similar line:

"The two sexes differ in structure of body, in the functions to be performed by each, in the amount of physical strength, in the capacity for long-continued labor, particularly when done standing, the influence of vigorous health upon the future wellbeing of the race, the self-reliance which enables one to assert full rights, and in the capacity to maintain the struggle for subsistence. This difference justifies a difference in legislation, and upholds that which is designed to compensate for some of the burdens which rest upon her."

The 'fetal containers' line is not from the FPP, but from Dawn Johnson, in a brief on a recent state-funding-for-abortion case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. She wrote in part:

"Abortion restrictions reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers."

Both the black and the white women in my life report that this phrase accurately conveys the experience of women who are asked to bear children for the good of a race or a nation, without concern for their health, well-being, or life prospects after pregnancy. That said, my use of the phrase here was inflammatory and it deserved a better explanation, not to be used in a quick driveby correction. I apologize for my delay in supplying that explanation.

A good book on Buck v Bell is Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:40 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a white man in America, I've got no real sense for how loaded the terms Black or Negro are for particular individuals, but I dislike using the term African-American because it's overloaded and ambiguous from the get go. I'm perfectly happy to call people by whatever term they want to be called as an individual or group, but at least with terms like Womyn, it seems like the attempt to escape earlier negative connotations didn't jump into another overloaded word. With African-American we've got the problem of conflating regional and national identity, and applying it to individuals who aren't able to distance themselves from either without seeming to invite overly familiar inquiries into their background and politics. At the same time, the only reason it isn't being tarred by racists with the same cultural baggage as Black or Negro is because of it's length.

I generally prefer to use the term Black until requested otherwise, or unless I've got a sense that I'm in a group that views that word as a racial slur. When the United African-American College fund starts soliciting donations, I guess I'll definitely switch over to African-American as a default.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:53 PM on March 2, 2010


Doesn't the African-American term sorta go back to the days when we thought America should get rid of black people by sending them back to Africa?

That's why I've always avoided the term.

Plus, we have a significant enough *recent* African immigrant population that the term makes it difficult to distinguish between two demographically very different groups who share the same skin tone.
posted by politikitty at 4:14 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to go with the Straightener here. I also would like to say that abortion can be a weird issue. In college I knew a a Dominican-American girl who, on most issues, was so far to the left that she made most MeFites look like Republican bankers. But she also had an anti-abortion poster on her wall featuring a picture of a fetus' head that would make most people gag. This is a weird issue.

She later was a contestant on a reality show.
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that the idea that the black church is being manipulated by white conservatives is missing the point. They may certainly be trying to manipulate but it isn't necesarry. This is more an issue of two similar ideologies (white religious conservatives and black religious conservatives) converging on an issue that they agree with. The idea that abortion is racial genocide did not originate with white folks attempting to pander to black folks. It was really prevalent amongst black nationalist movements in the 70s.


As regards the term African American, well yes it is problematic. It does conflate national and ethnic identities. However, that is a consequence of the history of black folk in the Americas rather than an issue created by the term itself. "Black" refers only to a generalized tone of skin. "African American" at least attempts to confer a sense of culture and history to a group. It is no different than terms like Irish American, Italian American, Scotch-Irish, or Polish American. These terms also conflate national identity with ethnic identity but they seldom draw as much ire as African American.

This does not mean that all black folks like or use the term. It is not a synonym for black as it refers specifically to Americans (in my scholarly work I often use the phrase, "people of African descent." Which I guess has too many syllables for some . . .). However, as a term that attempts to be more than just a color designation, I think that it is a laudable attempt.
posted by anansi at 5:50 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the African-American term sorta go back to the days when we thought America should get rid of black people by sending them back to Africa?
no it doesn't. You can actually find instances of early black leaders (18th century and earlier) such as David Walker using permutations of the term, "African American."
posted by anansi at 5:56 PM on March 2, 2010


I agree that it is a laudable attempt, but I'm not sure it's specific enough to confer a sense of culture and history. It doesn't compare all that well to Irish/Italian/Polish American because those seem to me at least to refer to a fairly homogeneous cultural definition, whereas African-American despite its pretense of not referring only to a tone of skin is never used to refer to a white South African, but does lump people who immigrated from Eritrea or Lesotho in the same category as sixth generation New Orleans residents, people who draw cultural inspiration from the Harlem renaissance, and people who identify culturally with a culture of their region that is more commonly identified as White, Latino, etc...

People of Color is also tricky. I'm not sure this is a problem that linguistics can 'solve', but I hope someday to see a better attempt succeed, or at least for bigotry to diminish to the point where we stop having so much baggage attached to words around race and class.

I apologize profusely for the derail. I'm very interested in the way our two party system forces us to choose between conflicting ethical priorities, but being a socially liberal, atheist, white man I feel like I have little to add to the specific discussion at hand.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:21 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get what you're saying BrotherCaine, and I agree with you to a certain extent. However, like I said, the ambiguity is a result of the fractious history of black folks in the Americas. At this point there is basically no retrieving our particular ethnic identities, whether they be Ibo, Yoruba, Wolof, Senufo, Mande, whatever. Not only that, African descended folks were purposely homogenized during slavery (pockets of culturally homogenous Africans that could speak the same language and shared specific cultural traits were prone to rebellion). So, at this point, African American is as good as it gets.
posted by anansi at 6:30 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hell, my ancestors might once have lived in ancient Mesopotamia, but we don't call ourselves Mesopotamian-Americans.

Hell, I am so going to start calling myself a Mesopotamian-Canadian.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:10 PM on March 2, 2010


And increasingly, the African American church has transformed from primarily a socially progressive force to a largely prosperity gospel based phenomenon.

That is very sad and doomed to failure.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:11 PM on March 2, 2010


That is very sad and doomed to failure.

Its only sad if you see the socially progressive civil rights church as normative (I don't, history doesn't bear this out and the Africanisms inherent to black religion actually fit in real well with prosperity gospel). If you look at the history of the black church there have always been these two (if not more) competing paths. DuBois commented on this in I believe Dark Water (I could be mistaken its been years since I read it).
posted by anansi at 7:17 PM on March 2, 2010


This being said, its not my bag. But being an atheist, I guess that I really don't have much say in the matter.
posted by anansi at 7:20 PM on March 2, 2010


Just MeMailed Josh (anotherpanacea) for a clarification.

FFS, you know you could just let it drop or take the whole debacle to email. It certainly shouldn't be the center of attention that you have made it to be.

Your meme-chain sleuthing was excellent. More of that, and less of the lawyer-like obsession with the quality of perfection of others' posts.

Its only sad if you see the socially progressive civil rights church as normative

It's sad regardless whether the civil rights church movement is normative.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:26 PM on March 2, 2010


I'm fine with the term African-American but think it's time for a new term.

First of all, white people have become way too comfortable with the term. Making white people uncomfortable when referencing African-Americans is half the point! Why do you think the terms have changed so much in the last century? "Colored People" as in the NAACP, "Negro" as in the United Negro College Fund, "Black" as in the Black Power Movement, and now "African-American". We've been stuck on African-Americans for what, 20+ years? Time for a change.

Second, given that the current 20-something generation is into things like ironic moustaches, it would be a lot more fun for them to pretend to be indignant when people fail to use the new hip-sounding PC term, which is intentionally overly-inclusive in its vagueness: "Mocha-Americans".

"John? Is he your black friend or your Hispanic friend?"
"Dude! Not cool! The term is Mocha-Americans."

"Wait, what? For which group?"
"Exactly"

"Okay, um... never mind. Is John the tall guy?"
"Dude! Not cool! The term is Venti-American".
posted by Davenhill at 1:16 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even if your interpretation is correct, and he meant only the anti-abortion African-American men who are paying for some of the billboard cost, there is no evidence to support his statement that they believe black women are vessels for the race.
He was using pretty standard "internet feminist" rhetoric used to describe all pro-lifers. If you read, for example, Amanda Marcotte you hear that kind of thing all the time. It's supposed to be a (somewhat hyperbolic and 'provocative') extrapolation from what they want. I.e. IF they think that woman should be forced to give birth for the good of the country/race/etc THEN it's true that they think that women are in part 'vessels' for babies.
I often wish the Democrats would go ahead and make abortion illegal and thus kill the Republican party overnight.
Well, then republicans would just say they need to keep getting elected to keep abortion illegal, just like democrats will say they need to keep getting elected to keep universal healthcare if they ever pass it. Or like how they campaign on keeping Social security from being privatized.
posted by delmoi at 4:00 AM on March 3, 2010


Venti-American means 20-American. I'm offended somehow.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:46 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


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