The Black Abortion Conspiracy

March 6, 2010

Abortion is with us to stay. It probably is the worst possible means of birth control. It has been controversial for thousands of years and, in the United States, it has remained a matter of continuous debate and occasional bloodshed since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1974.

I am particularly bothered by the cynical tactics of both abortion foes and abortion proponents. Both have shameless records of exaggeration, lying, threats, and fear-mongering.

The latest, in this case from abortion foes, is completely out of bounds.

Georgia Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion organization, hired Catherine Davis to be its minority outreach coordinator. Ms Davis has been traveling to black churches and colleges statewide delivering this message to young black women: If you get pregnant, don’t get an abortion. Abortions are part of a white conspiracy to eradicate the black race.

As with most conspiracy theories, this one is backed by no substantive evidence and a plausible, but highly unlikely scenario. This is akin to claiming that the NBA is part of a conspiracy to drive whites out of basketball. If you manhandle the statistics you can allege almost anything.

The data make it apparent that abortion is a major concern among blacks. Blacks make up 13% of the US population but they have 40% of the abortions. Nearly 40% of all black pregnancies end in abortion. That rate is 3 times the rate of white women and twice the rate of all other races combined.

Further, about 75% of all black births are to unwed mothers, more than double the rate among the non-black population.

There is a problem both with births to unwed mothers and with abortions among blacks. But these same problems exist among non-blacks at lower rates. There is not a shred of evidence pointing to a eugenic conspiracy to eradicate blacks by encouraging abortions.

According to the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, the reason blacks have so many abortions is simple: “too many unwanted pregnancies.”

Georgia Right to Life, undaunted by demographic realities, has put up more than 80 billboards captioned “Black children are an endangered species.”

Pro-life Republicans are delighted. They see this conspiracy theory as driving a wedge into one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies. They relish the prospect of splitting off a piece of the Democratic Party even if it is based on rumors, lies, innuendo, fear, uncertainty, and despair.

Remember this, Republicans and Democrats—blacks and whites: the abortion debate is over. As with gun control we’ve reached an uneasy truce where half the population is on one side and half is on the other.

Nothing is going to change in either of these arenas. Politicians will play on your fears: “You’ll lose your right to an abortion; more people will be carrying guns, abortions will increase dramatically,” etc, etc.

If you vote for anyone based solely on his/her stand on abortion or gun control, you are a sucker.

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“Don’t Bring Home a White Boy”

February 27, 2010

The full title of this story could be “Don’t Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions That Keep Black Women from Dating Out,” the title of a recently-published book by Karyn Langhorne Folan.

Ms. Folan’s thesis is simple enough: Urban black females are three times as likely to have finished college as their male counterparts. If we assume that parity in education is an important element in finding a boyfriend, if not a husband, educated black females are at a distinct disadvantage.

Ms. Folan’s book is an attempt to offer educated black women an alternative to the shortage of available black men: date white men.

This, she says, is not easy for most black women because racial bias is a two-way problem. Educated black women, she says, are going to have to get over some old personal and family prejudices if they hope to find a man who is simpatico.

Folan, who is married to a white man, said it wasn’t easy when she first started dating her husband, Kevin. He was “so white.” Friends and family didn’t help much with their comments, either. Even black men she didn’t know would chide her in public for being in the company of a white man. “Come back, sister. Come back,” one of them yelled at her.

Lorraine Spencer of Arlington, Virginia says she still gets snide comments from friends and relatives, though she has been married happily to a white man for fifteen years.

But I wouldn’t bet too much on the notion that educated black women are going to find lovers among the white population. Among white Americans, the proportion of female college graduates already exceeds that of males by 22.6 percent. That’s a long way from the 200% disparity in the black community but it still doesn’t bode well for either black or white educated women. Since white women outnumber black women by a ratio of about eight to one, there is going to be a lot of competition for college-educated white males from overwhelming numbers of white females.

Some women, black and white, are going to have to “trade down” and settle for a man with considerably less education (and probably less earning power) or simply decide to get along without any men in their lives.

This is either good news or bad news for the lesbian community. I’ll get back to you.