(Essay 34) Contemporary Challenges To Black Women’s Reproductive Rights Response

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I found Essay 34, Contemporary Challenges to Black Women’s Reproductive Rights by Jeanne Flavin to not only be shocking but an eye opening experience. As I read the essay, I was taken aback by all the methods and statistics Flavin provides in her essay that prove that there is a contemporary effort to stop black women from either raising or conceiving children. Flavin points out that the reasoning behind this attempt to regulate black women from having children is related to racial stereotypes that portray black women to be lazy, welfare queens, and hyper sexual. These stereotypes originated in this country during the time of slavery. European Americans viewed black people as less than human and only valued their child birth for their own economic advancements. As soon as slavery was abolished, and lost its economic value, European Americans discouraged their child birth.

The part of the essay that I found the most upsetting was when Flavin would point out all the statistics and movements that clearly were designed to target black women. The eugenics movement of the twentieth century was designed to sterilize “undesirables” was one of the examples she wrote about that I found very upsetting. She mentioned that up to 150,000 people (mostly black women) in more than 30 states were sterilized against their will because they were seen as “genetically inferior”.

Project Prevention was another really good example that the author brings up that shows that there are contemporary attempts to sterilize black women from having children. I couldn’t believe that there are actually organizations in this country that would target people who are drug addicts to give up their reproductive rights for 200 dollars. While the organization targets all races, I personally feel that this organization uses that excuse to sugarcoat their real attempt, which is to prevent black women from reproducing, especially since the program was originally named C.R.A.C.K., a drug more commonly used in poor black communities.

In conclusion, after reading this essay, it is apparent that there is still an attempt by many of our government officials and non-profit organizations that design programs which limit or completely strip black women from reproducing. Flavin provides the reader with many examples in her text that support her claim that there are still attempts to limit and completely strip women in the black community from reproducing. I believe that unless our generation does a better job in tackling these unjust programs and laws, we will continue to see more of these laws and programs that target minorities.



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