The War on (Black) Women

All war is based on deception

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

When you see the face of the little Black girl above, what do you think? When you read the words above her beautiful curly hair, how do you feel? When you think of Black women and their role in birthing the next generation, what do you invision; danger or an opportunity to build?

The billboard above was placed in SoHo, a neighborhood in New York City not heavily populated by Black people. After seeing it my first question was “why not Harlem or Brooklyn?” Basically why not somewhere where they KNOW Black people who live in New York City will actually see the ad? Well, I can take an educated guess; the ad wasn’t meant for Black women. It was meant to provoke reactions. It was also meant to galvanize people outside of the Black community, basically gain more troops. Fortunately the ad has been taken down. When I first read the ads caption, I thought about my body and why they felt it was the most dangerous place in the world. African women were the first to give birth into this world. How dare they shame us into believing we are less than because we have a right to choose? If the ad meant to empower and educate Black women, it wouldn’t have to attempt to shame us at the same time.

As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “All war is based on deception.”The war on (Black) women is no different. The use of deceptive and offensive images such as the one below from Atlanta, should be considered an act of war. Propaganda is an act of war. We have to see the bigger picture.

BUT these images are only one piece in an intricate web being tightly woven by the politically and socially conservative factions in America. The most recent attacks are hitting women through legislation and media campaigns.

The recent Republican to do list is heavy on reducing women’s rights and light on addressing the toughest economical issues we face today. Attempting to redefine rape is a higher priority than reducing the 16%+ unemployment rates in Black communities. Preventing a doctor from performing a life saving procedure when a woman’s life is at stake is more important than figuring out how not to close half of Detroit’s public schools.  As a Black woman deeply invested in my own freedom and the freedom of my people, I am simply appalled.

The all hands on deck assault of women can be found across the nation, on the state level and in the United States Congress. Click here to read a blog post by Executive Director of the Black Women’s Health Imperative giving a breakdown of the legislative battle ahead of us. House Republicans have already passed an amendment to defund family planning and reproductive services from providers such as Planned Parenthood. I personally remember going to Planned Parenthood as a college student to receive low-cost and quality healthcare services. The loss of their services and others would severly impact women.

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is not the only provider lined up against the wall with weapons aimed squarely at their mission and services. The Republicans are also trying to cut Headstart, a federally funded preschool program for low-income kids, by 1 billion dollars. If you are a low-income mother depending on childcare through this program and POW it’s gone, what choices would you be faced with? Work to feed your kids and pay your bills or stay at home and depend on state services?

Definition of rape + Choice + Childcare = all things on the list of enemies for the politically and socially conservative faction aiming it’s weapons at women.

But we are not walking like sheep to the slaughter. We can, are and must act.

Since I’m not a 501 (c) 3 organization, I can say “Call your Representative and find out where they stand on these issues.” If they don’t stand on the side of women, tell them they need to reconsider and why. Click here to find out who represents you!

Like I said this is a war on women, and a war on women is a war on the future of this country.

Wanna know and do more? Check out organizations like Sister SongChoice USA, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Advocates for Youth.

Don’t forget to drop a comment below!

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25 comments

  1. Truth! Thank you for writing this post and for being on Twitter!
    Keep spreading the knowledge Sis!

  2. I dont see the ads as being deceving or even negitive at all. Lower income minorities(in this case black women) have a high rate of abortions, this is a fact. To some people abortions are murder & immoral. though i am pro-choice i totaly understand an anti-abortionist plight. The womb of a 17yr old black girl is a very dangerous place for a fetus; as it should be because her giving birth will probably become a liability directly or indirectly for the community and society. Dope blog tho!

    • What plight is that? Again I think you missed the message here. I was born to a teenage mother and am not a liability for my community or society. When someone tells me my body is a dangerous place, that’s negative. If you can’t see past that, I don’t know what else to say.

      • remove the emotion and look at it logically. You and i both know that young black teenage women hav abortions at a higher rate than older economically astablished black women. Its sadening to hear some1 say your womb is dangerous but statistically that comment is probably closer to accurate than we want to accept.
        what i meant when i stated Plight of Anti-abortionist; abortion is the killing and extermination of life, and that is wrong. Citing the 10 Comandments

      • and lets try to place onus where it belongs cuz it aint the republicans fault the these women cant provide for their chidren, they shouldnt have had them to begin with, hence liability. if i cant afford the new Land Rover then i dont buy. i dont buy it anyway and ask the republicans to set up a program that suplements me

  3. I’m not going to argue over the morality of abortion here. My perspective is emotional and logical, so I can’t remove emotion as if it’s not as important. My challenge to anyone who points to statistics is to focus on actually empowering women and girls instead of shaming them. The current goal of the politically and socially conservative is to shame and build power for themselves, not to empower and educate. I’m about addressing the root of issues not just the symptoms.

  4. Charlene Good post;

    I dont feel like the AD was negative per say; but I can see why alot of black women r upset for the reason they are the ones being targeted by the AD 😦 . I can also see were Dre is coming from with his post, but I still think the ad was a little bit tacky.
    Yes it is true that young black women have a high rate of abortions higher than other races, but we need to realize that the rate is so high because meidia, republicans and society are pushing the perception of abortionbeing the only option among black. These negative perceptions can be found in the many corny sitcoms found on tv , the bet channel; most mindless HIP HOP music videos and caucasion counslers in school. MY POINT ? Goverment and Media are responsible for creating these perceptions and conditions in young black women so that they can destoy the lives in their womb and also slow the rate of growth for minorities. Either way we black folks are still responsible. So yes a high percentage place of black womens wombs can be a very dangerous place.

    JP

  5. Charlene;

    I another topic i would like to see you blog about is the HPV vaccine and its various dangers. This vaccine is being pushed heavy in the minority communites; but what is really in this needle ? Hope u didnt get your shot………………

    JP

  6. I do agree with Dre. Your mother was a teen mom and you became a beautiful black woman who is not a liability to the community,but you are the exception. I am from the south and black,and most teen mothers never truly get on there feet..very few I might add. I would also love to hear your opinion on HPV vaccine.

  7. I’m sad that it’s not obvious that these ads are not about facts, but about a story. While there might be some underlying facts that people placed together to make this story, they could have been put together to tell a different one.

    Advertising is all about telling the story you want people to hear and the emotional response you want to invoke.

    What good can come out villifying any woman’s body?

  8. I agree with Karen when she says the ads are about a story with unerlying fact. Idio_Khem makes a good when he says teen mother never truly get on their feet. We’ve all seen cases like this.

    The ad definatly can be offensive to some while on the other hand sparking awareness of the issue’s that plague young mothers. This being the good that can come out of “villifying”(not my choice of words)a womens body. Us talking about it here is an example of that.

  9. I’m in full agreement with you Charlene when you say that people are missing the point of the post. The purpose of the ads were to target the abortion rate amongst African American women. The ad is saying that the womb of an African American woman is a “dangerous” place because the fetus will be aborted…not because if the mother has the child, it will be a “liability”. If anything, that is a contradiction. If people are in favor of socially, emotionally, and financially unprepared women NOT having abortions….then they can’t complain in the next breath about helping to support them once the child actually gets here. You either want them to have the children, or you don’t.

    My biggest gripe with the ad is that it is attempting to use shame, slander, and defamation to supposedly resolve an issue. It was a use of propaganda to get attention for their cause, and not to actually make a difference. Using African American women as a media ploy, does not send the message “we want to help you”, it says “we want to use you for our own social gain”. THAT’S the issue at hand here.

    If the originators of this anti-abortion campaign truly had a desire to decrease the abortion rate amongst African American women, why not post a billboard in a location that is highly populated by minorities? Why not utilize a positive slogan, rather than a scare tactic? Why not start and publicize programs that promote safe sex, so that abortion wouldn’t even be an option to begin with? And if they are TRULY in favor of these women not going through with the abortions, then I surely hope they are in favor of the programs, legislation, and initiatives that are geared towards assisting single mothers. But we all know full well that they aren’t, so that idea is null & void.

  10. Great post! It is true that all war is based in deception! We MUST educate our youth! Teach our young women to BE empowered about their plans and actions. Young ppl have to understand that they are the single most important person to make a difference in their future. Every positive action they take WILL be a move toward a better future! As adults we must be the example of what we want our children to grow up to be….positive, empowered, educated and continuously working within our community to make it better!
    peace and power to you!
    Jaelma
    @kiarablu

  11. Let’s think about what we consider truth, then build logically upon it. Truth is, an African American ad is/can be as true and effective in a white neighborhood as it is in a Black one if Whites are being true to their Black folks. At least it’ll make the White person see “me too” instead of just “….smh…Blacks.” Truth is, it the message is relevant to any eye, but it definitely won’t do any good down. …This is a pure man/woman accountability thing, not a black woman exploitation statistical issue. Jesus was emotional about life, so regarding matters of life, we should absolutely make passionate noise. We’re all responsible for each other, and if it takes exploiting the high side of Black ignorance in red & yellow & purple hoods to get us to scratch off some action points, then may the necessary prevail.

  12. I am disappointed that so much of this discussion has centered around the rightness or wrongness of the “basic facts” as presented by Texas, Life Always (the people who erected the first billboard). I was under the impression that the subject of this blog post was the appropriation of black women’s bodies as the raw material for a political fight in which those women are not consulted.

    These side discussions play directly into a political agenda that are anathema to most “Freedom Pages” readers. The moral entrepreneurs in the Right to Life Movement seem to have won the terms of this exchange. If it was not in your plan to create greater space for right-wing ideologues, you lost.

    • To demean pro-life ideologies into solely a political fight is a miss-appropriation of the humanist sentiment. Though discourse has been moved to a political platform, it is still first and foremost a fight for life. If the harsh appropriation of the black woman’s body saves the lives of black babies, then we must agree it is worth it.

      Describing such a life promoting agenda with words synonymous with “curse” brings cause to question one’s moral foundation

      We are at a time when we must ask ourselves this important question; do i stand for truth or am i still a slave to self-indulgent, emotionalism of “how things make me feel”?

  13. Dre, if you’ve ever had a female significant other, you should know better than to ask a woman to remove emotion from an argument and think logically. Where Dey Do Dat At?

    Anyway, I’m interested to read more discussion about different hypotheses for the true purpose(s) of these ads. Erecting billboards simply to arouse the hate in white people really achieves nothing in this world of commerce, so it has to be deeper and more layered than that. After all, if you hate black people, wouldn’t you WANT as many black women to have abortions as possible? It helps to kill off the race, AND you’d probably be contributing to fewer welfare checks. Perhaps by turning abortion into a race issue with these billboards (with the assistance of angry black women, who are doing just what the ads are designed to do, giving them attention), pro-lifers are looking to convert racist pro-choicers?

    I don’t view this as an attack on the black womb, but even if it is, the best way to fight back is to lower the rate of abortion. THAT is empowerment. Get black women to stop…having…unprotected…sex. Encourage black families to adopt black babies. Educate black youth about STI’s, as a deterrent to having sex. There is nothing empowering about having an abortion, unless you’ve been the victim of rape (which is a very small minority of cases). It is perverted to think otherwise.

  14. @Black Family Activist I like how you went straight into a solution phase with this. This questionable ad has cause us to identify what is needed to empowering the black women(and men) of our communities

  15. i agree with charlene to the extent that she notes that the average, lousy, immature black man cannot be left without consideration when we look internally at solutions. as not to negate the agency of black women, i truly think us brothas need to do better – real talk – and stop thinking so much with our baser head.

  16. C- I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this blog (and the new law in Arizona) and after pondering long and hard why THIS ad would show up in THAT neighborhood I’ve come to another conclusion. I think it might be there to make “me” feel guilty about being “pro-choice”. Because as a good white liberal academic the only think worse than being called anti-woman would be being called a racist. To suggest that by supporting a woman’s right to choose, I am in turn supporting the unparalleled killing of black bodies puts me in a very tough position right? Who do I side with in that? How can someone who has dedicated their life work to equality for everyone now choose between groups?

    I think the people who run this ad are playing very heavily on white guilt and playing the very easy game of pitting “minority” rights groups against each other so we don’t see who is really wielding the power here.

    The big problem with that logic is that they assume we will fall for it, and blame feminists for racism, or black women for abortion, and sadly a lot of people will, when in reality we need to be looking at the factors that force a disproportionate number of poor black women to make these life altering decisions (ie comprehensive sex ed, access to contraceptive, affordable healthcare, the ability to find support once a baby is born).

  17. Pingback: A Trip to the Gynecologist « The Freedom Pages


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