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Pro-Choice and Pro-Voice

Posts tagged race

Jun 19 '14
May 26 '14

radicallyhottoff:

ok—so everybody (including me) always says that white supremacist heteropatriarchal nationalism is “structural”—that we have to deal with the “structure” in order to make changes.

But nobody (including me) ever says exactly what that *means*. what does “structure” mean and what does “structural” mean and  what does “we have to get at the root and change the structure” mean? (this is all the US)

well, I’ve been discovering—“structure” means:

food disbursement (or: how do we access a basic survival need): grocery stores, co-ops, resturants, farmer’s markets, etc. (closely connected: farmers, seed companies, etc)

burial systems (or: how do we access a basic human dignity): burial plots, funeral homes, coroners, paupers burials, etc

birthing systems (or: how do we access a basic human dignity): hospitals, birthing centers, “home,” (i.e. apartments, houses, 99% of the time, in this case, “home” is NOT a shelter or other homeless/abuse survivor site), prisons, etc

housing systems (or: how do we access a basic survival need): houses, apartments, public housing, condos, gated communities, etc

energy systems for heating, cooling, cooking, etc (or: how do we access a basic survival system): energy companies (i.e. untilites companies), oil corporations, etc

energy systems for travel (or: how do we access a basic human right to movement): oil corporations, the big three, trains, FAA, etc

information systems (or: how do we access the basic human right to policy information and *demystification of that policy information* about the systems we live under): public libraries, the FCC, comcast, time/warner, Disney, Google, Viacom, etc…

attempting to be installed as we speak:

water disbursement systems (or: how do we access a basic survival system): soda corporations (i.e. cocacola, desani (which is I think belongs to coke)

If you look closely at how each of these systems work (and there may be more, but I am choosing right now to keep this discussion down to basic human needs/dignity), you see that the basic concept within each of them is “to control how disbursement of particular “service” will happen.”

And you seen that unequivocally, in every single area: 

poor people, 

non-white people,

non-cis people,

disabled people,

non-citizens,

non-straight people,

have the *most* trouble accessing, navigating, aquiring any of these systems. (and I understand that using “non-X” as a descriptor is problematic, I am using it as a way to show that for each identity, problems with access play out in a different way—but they all *play out in a problematic way*). The choice to opt out of these systems: i.e. bury your own dead, grow your own food, etc is there on a very limited basis—but usually it is only available to those with access to a high level of resources (i.e. hipsters). Poor people CAN and DO find themselves “off the grid”  but this is almost always due to unjust and unequal problems within existing structures (i.e. segregation, inaccessibility, etc). BUT—this is also how many communities of color have managed to create successful community driven economies, and it is how many social justice organizers (most notably in places like Detroit), have been able to recognize an oportunity existing in the most dire circumstances (i.e. defining “resource” as community knowledge rather than money).

Also: the ability to “opt out” is heavily monitored and restricted by the catch-22 inherent in all of these systems: you must have money to access them more easily—but you can’t get that money unless you spend a vast portion of your life working within them. thus, through the strict monitoring of “time,” most people are unable to “opt out” of systems as they don’t have the *time* to grow their own food, bury their own dead, etc.

These systems are how you get the triangle system we live under and how some of us benefit from things and others don’t and how .01 percent of people at the top control everything and *benefit* from the privatization. Prvatization does not create *independence*—but *dependence*. people are heavily dependent on the benevolence of corporations for jobs—and almost totally dependent on them for the actual service they offer.

May 18 '14
May 11 '14

It is much easier to believe that we can solve inequality by pulling up our pants or keeping our legs closed. It allows you wipe away all of the structural realities that require collective action and that require work that goes over and past your own life. If it’s just your individual decision-making, then I’m safe from it. As long as I make a different decision, I will never be vulnerable to poverty, or to heartache, or to pain.
…That shaming, it is a defense mechanism to keep people from having to do the hard work of organizing, and it is the most dangerous thing in marginalized communities. It is the most dangerous thing, because then we do not organize because we can just say that if only you had made different choices, then everything would be fine.

— Melissa Harris-Perry to a young single mother of four pregnant with her fifth, who asked how she can keep going as a Black feminist when she is often most hurt by those in her own community. Before she answered, Melissa got off the stage to comfort her.

It is much easier to believe that we can solve inequality by pulling up our pants or keeping our legs closed. It allows you wipe away all of the structural realities that require collective action and that require work that goes over and past your own life. If it’s just your individual decision-making, then I’m safe from it. As long as I make a different decision, I will never be vulnerable to poverty, or to heartache, or to pain.

…That shaming, it is a defense mechanism to keep people from having to do the hard work of organizing, and it is the most dangerous thing in marginalized communities. It is the most dangerous thing, because then we do not organize because we can just say that if only you had made different choices, then everything would be fine.

— Melissa Harris-Perry to a young single mother of four pregnant with her fifth, who asked how she can keep going as a Black feminist when she is often most hurt by those in her own community. Before she answered, Melissa got off the stage to comfort her.

May 2 '14
Mar 28 '14
Mar 26 '14

astrochelonian:

bebinn:

Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) gave a speech at this year’s Abortion Care Network conference. She spoke on many important issues, including how Black women’s reproductive lives are portrayed by the media, the place of Black women and women of color in the movement, and the difference between pro-choice/reproductive rights and reproductive justice.

I had to restrain myself from screencapping the whole Storify, so click through and read the whole thing!

Read the Storify link.

Reproductive justice means supporting mothers of colour whose children are abducted to be sold into the adoption industry in the First World or taken away by First World governments on some racist pretext or the other. It means fighting against forced sterilisation and contraception as much as it does fighting for access to abortion. It means fighting against the dehumanising industry of surrogacy where Third World women’s wombs are commodified. It means recognising that forced and coerced abortions happen - and that this is taking away a woman’s CHOICE - and opposing them rather than painting all abortions as “choice”. It means supporting mothers who choose to have children and who choose to take care of them rather than work. It means all of this in ADDITION to fighting for access to safe and legal abortion that as exercised by the pregnant person’s choice.

Honestly in the entire prochoice community I’ve come across on the internet, I haven’t seen anyone so much as mention these issues. How much of this is due to white Western feminism? I’d guess a lot.

Mar 23 '14

Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) gave a speech at this year’s Abortion Care Network conference. She spoke on many important issues, including how Black women’s reproductive lives are portrayed by the media, the place of Black women and women of color in the movement, and the difference between pro-choice/reproductive rights and reproductive justice.

I had to restrain myself from screencapping the whole Storify, so click through and read the whole thing!

Mar 6 '14

rhrealitycheck:

While I appreciate the responses, a blog post and a two-year-old press release is insufficient to address the very real threat of disenfranchisement facing women of color across the country.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain. Maybe I should be happy that Black women are viewed as a reliable voting bloc who will, by and large, vote for more choice and more justice.

But taking our votes for granted is not conducive to movement-building. And I can’t help but feel disheartened at the expectation that we will continue to deliver reproductive rights victories that are then recast as victories for “women voters.” The bottom line is this: It’s not “women” who are getting it done. It’s Black women voters.

A little recognition for that fact would be nice. 

– Imani Gandy, Black Women Are An Electoral Voting Force. Recognize.

Mar 4 '14
SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective was formed to amplify the voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure reproductive justice. SisterSong is made up of 80 local, regional, and national organizations that work to educate and empower women of color to represent themselves and their communities.
SisterSong will host reproductive justice trainings for your organization to help you more effectively and inclusively advocate for change. They also host conferences, implement media campaigns, conduct research, advocate politically, and work to strengthen other reproductive justice organizations.
If you want to get involved on the ground with SisterSong, take some time to explore their website, and check out their Member Organizations to find a group near you.

SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective was formed to amplify the voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure reproductive justice. SisterSong is made up of 80 local, regional, and national organizations that work to educate and empower women of color to represent themselves and their communities.

SisterSong will host reproductive justice trainings for your organization to help you more effectively and inclusively advocate for change. They also host conferences, implement media campaigns, conduct research, advocate politically, and work to strengthen other reproductive justice organizations.

If you want to get involved on the ground with SisterSong, take some time to explore their website, and check out their Member Organizations to find a group near you.

Mar 2 '14
Feb 27 '14
"[TW: Rape] According to statistics from the United States Department of Justice, for every white woman who reports a rape, there are at least five black women who are raped but do not report it. For every black woman who reports her rape, at least 15 black women’s sexual assaults go unreported."
Feb 27 '14

To label family planning and legal abortion programs “genocide” is male rhetoric, for male ears. It falls flat to female listeners and to thoughtful male ones. Women know, and so do many men, that two or three children who are wanted, prepared for, reared amid love and stability, and educated to the limit of their ability will mean more for the future of the Black and brown races from which they come than any number of neglected, hungry, ill-housed and ill-clothed youngsters.

Loretta Ross is one of the founding members and former National Coordinator for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
[h/t Abortion Care Network]

To label family planning and legal abortion programs “genocide” is male rhetoric, for male ears. It falls flat to female listeners and to thoughtful male ones. Women know, and so do many men, that two or three children who are wanted, prepared for, reared amid love and stability, and educated to the limit of their ability will mean more for the future of the Black and brown races from which they come than any number of neglected, hungry, ill-housed and ill-clothed youngsters.

Loretta Ross is one of the founding members and former National Coordinator for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.

[h/t Abortion Care Network]

Feb 26 '14
Feb 25 '14

I wrote “our white activists” as opposed to “white activists” when talking about the reproductive rights movement because we need to have more accountability as to whose voices we are broadcasting, and whose we are ignoring, silencing, or using without due credit. Every person, myself included, is complicit in upholding the status quo of valuing white voices over black or other POC voices, even as we work to dismantle other parts of the patriarchy.