When North Carolina’s Eugenics program ended in 1974 more than 7,600 people were sterilized. North Carolina had one of the most coercive eugenics program sterilizing people for “epilepsy, sickness and feeblemindedness.” Though the aforementioned were the stated reasons they also sterilized for promiscuity, homosexuality and so-called criminal intentions. […]
Many White reproductive activists cannot relate to the experiences of Black women. They have never had to fight for the right to be mothers, or fight for the right to keep their children off the auction block. Unless the reproduction of a woman of colour is directly sanctioned by Whiteness, it is deemed an irresponsible act. Such language continues to occur in discussions of so-called third world Brown and Black women. Mommy continues to be defined as White, middle/upper class, able bodied, straight, soccer mom in a mini van. Undocumented workers are routinely accused of having anchor babies to secure citizenship, but when this is played out in the media, they most certainly aren’t refering to the undocumented workers from countries that are considered White. They mean the dangerous Brown and Black wombs reproducing at will.
Women of colour are construed as a project in need of being saved, as long as the process does not mean truly acknowledging the role that race and class have played in our continuing oppression. Innovations like the pill and Depo Provera, that have been touted as life saving, and important to the advancement of women’s rights, were tested on women of colour, long before they entered the precious bloodstreams of White women. Yet, this history is erased to praise the ability of women to control their reproductive process. Once again, advancement for women was carried on the backs of women of colour. Even as I am writing this, I wonder how many blogs dedicated to reproductive justice have ignored this story and its historical significance, because it would mean confronting the horrible truth that reproductive justice is about far more than access to birth control, the right to have an abortion and supporting Planned Parenthood; its about validating the idea that women, and by women I mean women of colour, have paid the brunt of the cost in terms of violation due to the intersection or racism and sexism.
I don’t think that justice can ever truly be delivered to these survivors and no monetary award can ever return to them that which has been lost. The only way to honour them is to ensure that in the future that women of colour have a seat at the table of plenty and are valued for who they are. If that small lesson cannot be learned from this atrocity, then their sacrifices have taught us nothing.
Hey, did you happen to get the email address of the michael matthew and the midi's guy? I passed him the other day and got a recording and thought I might be able to find him online, but no dice. Lemme know, thanks!