I DO NOT forgive Dylann Roof, a racist terrorist whose name I hate saying or knowing. I have no immediate connection to what happened in Charleston, S.C., last week beyond my humanity and my blackness, but I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice.
I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. … Abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.
The first sentence of this quote was realllllllllly powerful to me.
As Cliff Huxtable, Bill Cosby seemed like the most charming, loving dad in the whole world. When he needed to impart some kind of wisdom or discipline, he did, but there was always warmth and humor in everything he did. Claire Huxtable, played by Phylicia Rashad, was sassy and independent but maternal and loving. She had it all—a satisfying career as a lawyer and a rich home life. Cliff and Claire were still in love after many years of marriage and five children. The kids were funny and charming and they bickered the way my brothers and I bickered but also loved each other in a familiar, fierce way. Here, on our televisions, week after week, for years, was a glorious display of a happy black family, black love, and black success. The importance of The Cosby Showcannot be understated.
The show’s importance no longer matters. It cannot matter.
I can’t remember when I first heard these accusations but it has been many years. I’ve always believed these women but I have struggled because The Cosby Show meant so much to me. That episode, the one where Theo tries to prove he is independent and has to learn a life lesson about money? Classic. This is the pernicious trap a man like Bill Cosby has created. He believes his artistic legacy will absolve his criminal behavior. It cannot. We have to say enough. We have to stop implicitly or explicitly supporting Cosby. We cannot justify our fondness for him any longer. We have to demand that his show be taken off the air. We have to stop supporting any of his endeavors. His art does not absolve him. Art is nothing compared to humanity, nothing at all.
When conservatives talk about their idea of a woman who needs access to contraception and/or abortion services, she is always poor, uneducated, promiscuous, and irresponsible. By painting this image, they make it easy for women to distance themselves from each other. Not only is the debate around restrictions on birth control and abortion gendered, it also becomes classed. We stop caring that these restrictions impact all women on some level because we tell ourselves, “Well, I am not like ‘that’, so I do not care if that woman has access to the services she needs.” Furthermore, this picture of the woman who is “poor, uneducated, promiscuous, and irresponsible” is also how conservatives have historically stereotyped Black Women. Thus, this image is gendered, class-specific, and racialized. And I would argue that so are their restrictions on reproductive health services.
Conservatives’ obsession with limiting access to birth control and abortion is one that affects all women. But their reasoning also lets me know they are, indeed, targeting Black Women. It is time that Black Women become more vocal about our right to make decisions about our bodies, sexualities, and reproductive choices without interference or regulation from others. In the same way that we are speaking up about their right to define ourselves and narrate our own lives, we must also be vocal about reproductive justice.
Trans youth of color face a variety of barriers just for living unapologetically in their truth. Trans and gender nonconforming youth need love, compassion, and justice. They also need proper health care, financial stability, housing, and environments that are conducive for them to learn while living their authentic truth. Youths of all experiences should have classes dealing with topics like gender identity. In order to dismantle the dehumanization of Trans folks, we all need to educate our youths at an early age; allowing Trans youth that are basking in their journey of living in their truth to live comfortably. This process can happen once the adults open their minds and hearts, continue to educate each other, and create a popular language that recognizes the fact that gender never stands alone.
If you want to know why millennials are far more economically liberal than other generations, consider the news that colleges have started opening on-campus food banks to keep their students from going hungry.
The primary causes of poverty lie not in individual behavior at all, but in specific social and historical structures, in forces outside any single person’s control. If you haven’t lived it or even seen it firsthand, there’s almost no way to imagine it. Living in the ghetto, one faces problems with public housing, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, the drug trade, negligent landlords, criminals, illness, guns, isolation, hunger, ethnic antagonisms, racism, and other obviously negative forces. Even forces that might seem positive in other circumstances- the law, the media, government, neighbors, police- can, in the ghetto context, make life miserable for the poor. And one has to contend will all of these forces- any one of which might be overwhelming- all at once, without a break. Turn to deal with one problem, and three attack you from behind. Experience a little unexpected bad luck, and you find yourself instantly drowning. The cumulative effect of the ‘surround’ is more than the sum of any of these individual forces. There is simply no space to breathe.
—Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen by David Hilfiker, M.D, xii & xv
Gentrifiers focus on aesthetics, not people. Because people, to them, are aesthetics.
Proponents of gentrification will vouch for its benevolence by noting it “cleaned up the neighbourhood”. This is often code for a literal white-washing. The problems that existed in the neighbourhood – poverty, lack of opportunity, struggling populations denied city services – did not go away. They were simply priced out to a new location.
That new location is often an impoverished suburb, which lacks the glamour to make it the object of future renewal efforts. There is no history to attract preservationists because there is nothing in poor suburbs viewed as worth preserving, including the futures of the people forced to live in them. This is blight without beauty, ruin without romance: payday loan stores, dollar stores, unassuming homes and unpaid bills. In the suburbs, poverty looks banal and is overlooked.
In cities, gentrifiers have the political clout – and accompanying racial privilege – to reallocate resources and repair infrastructure. The neighbourhood is “cleaned up” through the removal of its residents. Gentrifiers can then bask in “urban life” – the storied history, the selective nostalgia, the carefully sprinkled grit – while avoiding responsibility to those they displaced.
—Sarah Kendzior – The peril of hipster economics (x)