Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
NOVEMBER 11, 2010 6:57AM

"Endangered"--Georgia Right-To-Life's Attack on Black Women

Rate: 23 Flag


     Every community has its collective memories, joyous and horrid, and every significant public act has a way of being absorbed by, folded into, a community's collective memory in some lasting way. This is why the billboards lining Atlanta's highways, at least 80 of them picturing terrified-looking black boys under the banner Black Children Are an Endangered Species is remarkably vicious.

     The advertisements have been placed by Georgia Right-to- Life on the specious idea that Black women exercising their rights under Roe v Wade are committing cultural immolation, a slow communal suicide. For many in that city's black community the memory of the 1979-'81 serial murders of 29 Black boys is painfully alive. For an anti-abortion organization to play on those collective memories so perversely is both breathtakingly irresponsible and a deliberate undermining of reality for ideological ends.
     It is true that Georgia's Black women have more abortions per capita than in any state save Mississippi. The Centers for Disease Control in reporting that, however, also says unequivocally that Black children are no more unusually endangered than any other children because the fertility rate (births per 1,000 women) among Black women is higher than the national average and is growing.
     In other words, Choice Works, individually, collectively. 
     Yet the Lying-By-Numbers isn't the worst of it.
     The worst aspect of this is the implication that Black mothers are either neglectful of a presumed duty or, perhaps even worse, that they are dupes of pro-choice, largely white, liberal-owned clinics--that Black women have no minds of their own. The fact is that as far back as the 1930's Atlanta's Black community approached Planned Parenthood founders asking for help because they knew that birth control was one way of clawing up from slavery-induced inter-generational poverty. This happened in Black communities throughout the country. 
     Of course, it's legal for Georgia Right to Life to post pretty much any inflammatorily inaccurate billboard it wants anywhere zoning allows. That it's legal hardly means it's honest or decent. It's neither.
     I would ask this of my own community:
     How might Jews react to an evangelical missionary organization throwing up stark billboards across Chicago, Detroit, Washington, LA, New York, and in, say, Philadelphia, featuring frightened faces of small Jewish boys and girls, terrified because Jewish adults are systematically hiding from our children the alleged truth of their potential salvation...and under the banner Jewish Children Are An Endangered Species?
     Our own collective memories might then kick in, too.

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Georgia Right-to-Life has had these billboards up for the better part of a year. This slur toward Black women may well come to your city next.
jane pleased to be a person who helps keep you up-to-date. :)
jane except abortion rights right now in the US is split abt 50/50. We haven't been in the majority on this one in 2 or 3 years.

And in any case, the 1st amendment, whatever luncies it does protect, protects far, far more of the ideas you and i share in common, court-year-in and out.
It gives Black women the responsibility for preserving the race, or the destruction of it. Honest concern would focus on poverty, absent fathers, the school-to-prison pipeline, over-incarceration, youth violence and low adoption rates. It’s all connected
you would think that we as americans had evolved past this kind of thing by now.....guess this is proof we haven't.......sad
These people, like the political consultants that take numbers and make them fit their agenda, are slime. Nothing else to say but this is a democracy, for all it's worth.
Veronica quite right I do NOT believe GOVERNMENT has the right under law to make them take the billboards down.
Scanner worth a great deal. I'd rather live here than moist other places despite our religious lunatics.
Fay of course. They are a very simplistic bunch.
Ooh, that is ugly. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. rated
No reason to worry. If they don't abort 'em, we'll get 'em to kill each other later. If that doesn't work, we'll try to kill 'em. But, if they're too quick to shoot, we'll round 'em up and put 'em in jail. Yee haw.

Yeah...abortion isn't how black people are losing their children. Those posters are almost as offensive as you not discussing 4 of the 5 reasons why they are and leaving your heritage out of it.
All I see in my neighbourhood are single mothers and grandmothers just trying to make things right.
I just do not think they need this..:(
Rated with hugs
While I find Freebobaffett's comment bordering on lunatic, I have decided to leave it here for now. We need reminders on occasion that Open isn't close to being free of racism and antiSemitism.
Linda I lived in Atlanta for a time; my sense is that its Black community has weathered and overcome worse than these loons.
What's up with attacking women? When will people realize that a woman's body is a woman's body and everything found within a woman's body is hers and hers only?
Man, making your point keeps getting more fevered. Nuance is completely out of favor these days. You can almost hear the campaign's creators cackling as they contemplated wrong-footing progressives.
B. some won't ever get it.
Kate thanks very much.

Abrawang they annoy me, too.
Pardon me a moment (absents self to regurgitate off-scene).

This is one of the most revolting, nauseating, misogynist, racist, manipulative, disgusting, appalling pieces of propaganda I've seen in awhile. (And I had this reaction seeing it not for the first time, but the second).

Yes, I agree with their First Amendment right to free speech. And I'd encourage anyone who is inclined to comment to bombard their website with appropriate comments (subtracting four-letter words, of course) and enlighten anyone who seems to believe this sort of...stuff.

Thanks Jon.
Disgusting billboards.
- decency does not seem to be a factor, Jonathan.

Thanks for writing about a very difficult subject that should much much more exposure.
Disgusting and may I say, it seems the "usual". I am so disgusted, defeated and angry with all this anti crap. Sarah Palin announced today that Obama is the most abortion supporting
sigh...must pray harder for justice and compassion...and intelligence for the masses...and an end to racism and complacency and.....and....runs to find a billion candles...thanks Jon!
Veronica the website is on the billboard, above. Also, look up Georgia Right To Life and tell them what you think.
When will people stop looking for trouble..I know it is a crazy idea, but why can't we seriously get along. If folks weren't so busy chosing sides and making waves, all that energy and hard work could be put to good use. We should unite, instead of find reasons to divide. I am glad you educated me on this,once again I am shocked with people's idiocy and predjudice..are people alll so damaged that they need to think this unclearly?
Totally agree with all the revolted by this comments however -

the 1st amendment, whatever luncies it does protect, protects far, far more of the ideas you and i share in common that can't matter - the 1st amendment only matters if it protects the ideas I despise as well as my own.

I believe that if black women are capable of making their own intelligent decisions about their own bodies they are equally capable of making their own decisions about this billboard and they know better than I do what's killing off their kids.
You wrote"for many in that city's black community the memory of the 1979-81 serial murders of 29 black boys is painfully alive."

Come on, Jon...that is a painful memory for only blacks? It's a painful memory for Atlantans. It's a painful memory for me as well-- that whole time was terrifying for all families...and still leaves the lasting effect of nightmares and waking up in sudden fear as long as this many years later for some....we had so many friends, black and white, in fear for their child's life, and no one knew it would only be black children, only be boys at the time, we only knew children were being murdered, at least to begin with...and there was not a memo out saying, "Don't worry whites, this will only be black boys killed." We were all afraid.

While I get what you're saying here, and yes, the billboards don't belong up in my opinion, neither do many billboards the right-to-lifers put up issue here is there's a racial tone here that all whites in Georgia would like this, instead of the proper one, which is all very right-wing, fight against abortion groups would like this billboard, not only whites fight against the top you make a racial tone, that the whites are the wicked sign makers(and they may be, but it's a Lifer group! Not a racial group), at the bottom you replace white with evangelical....please stop assuming white and evangelical and right-wing are all interchangeable in Georgia or anywhere, they're not!

Evangelicals and Jews(if you capitalize one religious group, wouldn't you capitalize the other?), Whites, just lost me on this one, not near enough nuance, way too much sweeping assumption about racial and religious groupings and how "they" are.....
The same malevolent people who paid for these billboards around my town will refuse to pay for the care and feeding of the children who will be born if abortion is no longer available. Damned fools.

What's lunatic? That African American males are 4x more likely to spend time in prison then they're white counterparts? That crime legislation, especially around drugs like crack as opposed to powered cocaine is obviously racist? That, despite the fact that white people are more likely to commit capital crimes, 5x more Afro-Americans are on death row? Or, that despite all that, you once again made the plight of someone else about you being Jewish? (and, I know your peeps have been pounded on in pretty much every century, but c'mon man...I was actually offended that you didn't bring up any of they reasons blacks ARE dying and once again brought it back to your Hebrew heritage).
Just because I use satire, doesn't mean I'm not on point.
JustTh of course all Atlantans were frightened by the serisl murders. It's the Black community there, however, that that history is being used to harm further by GA Rt To Life.
I can't even put into words my reaction to that billboard!
As someone who actually has read The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas, the biography of Malcolm X, Black Like Me, dozens of books about black pop culture, The Diary of Anne Frank and so on, and can also use satire (though y'all obviously didn't see the Yee-Haw at the end or keep reading), I can't believe that after reading my comments that you would think I'm racist.

My point was that this article that you all seem to be sopping up like so much crap on your dinner plates is irresponsible and offensive. It left out a lot of important information and brought in an entirely unrelated topic (I'd love to discuss the plight of the Jews with y'all, especially the Italian Jewish community in Rome with which I'm intimately familiar). It pointed out one thing, but didn't connect it to the obvious things it should have.

It's exactly what wrong with our journalism today...and, it would seem, the consumers of the same. Watch The Colbert Report. It'll simultaneously teach you about satire and truthiness.

But, now I have to write about this, link to this blog, actually source facts and show you what I'm talking about...great.
For a moment, let's put aside my belief that abortion is wrong except to save the life of the mother and that late-term abortions are quite simply murder, it is not the crime of black women as Georgia purports. I live across the river from St. Louis and I know full well what is killing black children damn near every day of the week anymore. What bothers me most about abortions is that they were never meant to be used as birth control. Those who have had upwards of two abortions in their lifetime are doing just that. When told that birth control is cheaper, one woman simply stated that it is her body and if she doesn't want to take birth control and use abortion instead there is nothing anyone can do about it. I have an entire opinion column on my thoughts on abortion from a paper I use to sell my columns to; I may have to resurrect it sometime. However, I am sure that national statistics would support my assumption that white women equally or more often abort children that black women. But then, there was the woman several years ago in East St. Louis, unmarried with 12 children. She left the house and went to the bar one night and while she was gone, all children under the age of 12 burned in a house fire. She has since had 12 more. My stance on abortion has some weak spots in it.
And, here's my post, with a discussion of this post, why it is both poor and irresponsible, and a crap-ton of data to support what is an infinitely more thoughtful presentation of the issues on something I didn't even want to write and then wrote anyway in 45 minutes. But, I'm a racist, so what do I know.

Can't wait 'til never when you yell as loudly that I'm obviously not a racist as you did when you said I was.
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