2.03.2006

Minorities in the pro-life movement

This article discusses the lack of African-Americans and Hispanics in the pro-life movement. Reasons abound according to the story. These reasons include:
  • "...[minorities] simply didn't know the disproportionate numbers of African-Americans having abortions."
  • "...the pro-life movement is perceived as a white, Republican, conservative movement...And that group is on the wrong side of the civil rights movement."
  • "...the issue is just about the baby, and not about the person...It's like they're saying, 'I just want to save the baby and then kick you to the curb.'"
  • "...the issue is still a relatively low priority compared with other ills that plague their communities..."
  • "...the anti-abortion movement, unlike corporate America and government, has not made an effort to make sure that its membership is more ethnically diverse."

Hmmmm. I, for one, don't know an African-American that is involved in the pro-life movement. I do know a wonderful Hispanic woman...but only one. By and large, I know many, many white women (and a few white men) that are involved. I hadn't thought about this before. Perhaps because I'm white? I don't know...

The article sites the March for Life photos that showed "an image of thousands of earnest, enthusiastic and nearly all white protesters." Looking back at the pictures of the Marches, I do notice that there are a predominance of white people, but I do notice African-Americans and Hispanics too. And, despite what the article states about African-Americans being better represented in abortion-rights groups, ("Those are their natural political allies") I didn't see a predominance of African-Americans or Hispanics on the pro-choice side either. Wouldn't it be upsetting to hear someone say that you were "better represented in abortion-rights groups"? That would make me outraged...regardless of the movement. Talk about a race card. A race cannot be better represented by those that want to keep abortion legal. What is this person saying about minorities exactly? That minorities are dependant upon abortion and need pro-choice activists to act on their behalf? They're doing a great job, aren't they? Just ridiculous...

One of the sites showing photos mentions www.blackgenocide.org. (WARNING: Small icky picture alert.) The information there is wonderful (but horrendous). Unfortunately, they link their tactics to the Center for Bioethical Reform, so most likely, their message will not be received the way it could be. They do have some March photos as well. Are there other Black organizations that are trying to get their message out? I don't know...

As far as the pro-life group being perceived as a "white, conservative, Republican" group, is that true? Secondly, if it is true, does that matter? There are numerous groups that are not white, conservative, or Republican. If you were not "mainstream" pro-life, would that stop you from doing anything other than you are doing? I know it wouldn't stop me, and that's because it's about something bigger than party lines, color of skin, or litmus tests. It's about right and wrong and serving God. You can't stop someone that has a purpose, and if they don't feel they fit in the "mainstream" groups, they fit in somewhere else doing just as much good.

What about the pro-life worker who said:

"I think the movement as a whole is diluted because the issue is just about the baby, and not about the person," she said. "It's like they're saying, 'I just want to save the baby and then kick you to the curb.'"

Of course, that's one thing I'm all for changing, but is that the reason that minorities aren't involved? And I question anyone who later says in the interview:

"We're in a war. You're just trying to do what's in front of your face. I'm on the front line with a gun and I'm trying to protect babies."

How about the issue being not as important as other issues? That I might agree with. And not because other issues are more important than abortion, but because the African-American leaders are totally absent on the issue of abortion. African-American women make up 12 percent of the female population, they account for about one-third of all abortions, while Hispanic women, also 12 percent of the female population, make up about 20 percent of all abortions. Those statistics are huge! 1,452 black babies are aborted every day in the United States. 78% of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority communities. This should be a HUGE issue to black leaders.

I would also agree to a certain extent that the pro-life movement has not targeted minorities to get involved. I say "to a certain extent" because again, I feel it is up to the individual to plug themselves in. I didn't wait for an invitation that read "Calling all white, conservative, Christian, Republican women...please head to your local pro-life center to get involved." Instead, I decided that I needed to do something, and I found a way to plug in. Perhaps minorities do not feel comfortable doing this? I can't imagine that's true, but...I don't know...

The part I found most interesting was at the end of the article:

And at the march Monday, the Rev. Luke Robertson had to argue fiercely with march organizer Nellie Gray that a presence by an African-American on the stage of featured speakers opposing abortion was important. Gray countered that it was irrelevant, but ultimately gave in, and Robertson, Hunter and a few other prominent African-Americans were allowed to speak.

But Gray still chafes at the incident. "March for Life does not look at people by race, color, creed, sex and so forth," said Gray, who has been with the march for all 33 years. "To say you have a group of people here, but you don't have blacks, I find that highly un-American. That is what I told Pastor Robertson. I don't do outreach because I think it's un-American."

Gray's position was naive at best, Ensor said. "If she's sincere, she hasn't thought it through enough," he said, "Anytime you do a public event, symbolism is important. That's why you have women on the platform and not just a bunch of Baptist ministers. Besides, they do target people. They have their own databases."

I wouldn't be for not letting the black leaders speak, but I guess I must be naive as well...it's an open tent. Everyone is welcome. That's what I saw in the pictures of the March...I saw African-Americans, Hispanics, and whites all pulling together. I can understand Nellie's point of view, because I just don't see it in "color" I guess, but then again, the Reverend has a point that symbolism is important. You wouldn't want a bunch of men up there because women would feel alienated and as if they were being told what to do. Is that the way minorities feel? I don't know...

5 comments:

LAmom said...

If having a blog and a webgroup counts as involvement, then I'm both a liberal and a minority who's involved with the pro-life cause.

And yes, most blacks would really notice if everyone on the stage at an event were white. Even if they know that no one was actually trying to exclude minorities, they would wonder how it came to be that way. Did the group just open its doors and then sit back and wait for people to come in, or did they go out and promote themselves to potential supporters? If so, where did they promote themselves? In churches? Which churches? What other groups did they talk to? If they did make contact with blacks, did they not encounter anyone who they thought was stage-worthy? I'm not as sensitive about that stuff as some of my friends are, but those are the kinds of things a lot of blacks would wonder about.

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Hi LAmom, and thanks for your comments. I guess my only question then is would you need someone to come ane recruit you? If you wanted to be involved, wouldn't you go and put yourself where you needed to be?

I do understand your point about looking like no African Americans were "stage-worthy," just I'm sure like whites would wonder if everyone on stage was African American. It would seem exclusionary. Thanks for getting me to think of it this way. ;)

LAmom said...

There are some people who will have a singular passion for a particular issue, but most people have feelings about a lot of issues: gang violence, homelessness, the war (for some). I would suppose that thanks to human inertia, they would be more likely to get actively involved in whatever cause someone makes a personal appeal to them about and makes it easy to participate ("here's a flyer, just show up").

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Yes, that is true. I guess most of the people that I know in the pro-life movement didn't need an invitation...they just found where to go and plugged in. But an invitation does make it easier.

Alnot said...

There are black pro life bloggers out there just as there are minority conservative bloggers and writers. This link may help:
http://ijuswannasing.blogspot.com/