“Fatherless Hoodrats are Invading My Neighborhood, Thank You Section 8” is the title of a horrid blog post that’s a part of the “No Wedding, No Womb” campaign. I commented on the post, but my guess is that my response will never make it out of moderation, so here it is, in its entirety:
Here’s an idea: instead of getting up on your high horse, watching this woman from afar, slut shaming her, passing judgment on her body and her clothing, bemoaning the fact that her child has the audacity to play outside his own home (horror!) and gossiping about her on your blog, why don’t you go talk to her? Why don’t you find out her situation and what she’s about?
Her husband could be dead or deployed overseas in the military (yes, military families can and do qualify for Section 8 and food stamps, we don’t pay our general enlisteds well at all). She could be breaking free from an abusive situation and trying to restart her life. You simply do not know. You could sashay yourself down the block and ask.
But, wait, that might obligate you to act like a neighbor and a decent person rather than a foul-mouthed busy-body pontificating nastily about her almost surely hard life under the guise of a “movement.”
You cannot advocate for black women by tearing us down. You cannot claim that you care about the lives that black women lead when all you have for them is derision and scorn when you presume that they’re not doing it the way you’ve determined is correct.
There is not “one path” that will grant each of us entry to some illusory concept of “security.” Situations are ever-changing and life is a series of challenges to be navigated. It doesn’t help when your own people are throwing barriers in your path — and do not be mistaken, your lack of support and the lack of a community that your perspective engenders are substantial barriers — beyond the things that are naturally there to be faced every day.
If you can’t understand that this isn’t advocacy, this isn’t helpful, this is just more of what we hear from racists every day, about how we’re classless sluts having babies we ought not have and sucking up welfare dollars and dressing like hoochies. This blog post could’ve been written by David Duke or Rush Limbaugh, and is exactly as edifying to black women as if it had been.
Edited to Add: The blogger did approve my comment, then replied by calling me names. As I said on Twitter, this is really all that the women in this “No Wedding, No Womb” movement have to offer, and one day, they’re going to rue their role in reifying the oppression of black women.
I have been trying for the past 48 hours or so to figure out why the narrative about Target’s $150,000 donation to MN Forward, which has gone to the campaign of Tom Emmer, has focused entirely on Emmer’s anti-LGBT position and his association with a “Christian” band whose lead singer was advocated violence against LGBT people.
I know that the story was broken by the Advocate, and has since been picked up with a dedicated blog and a mention on the Gay Rights blog on Change.Org. But as I commented (without notice) on the Change.org entry, Emmer is a regressive nightmare across the board. Starting with the matter which is at the top of my list: Emmer is extremely anti-choice, with the endorsement of MN’s anti-choice lobby. He supports “conscience clause” laws that would allow pharmacists to refuse to provide contraceptives to women. Strictly on the issue of Target’s involvement, women make up the bulk of Target customers, and Target’s advertising is geared largely toward us. We are courted heavily by Target, and yet they’re supporting a candidate who wishes to deny women our basic constitutional rights. This is something that we should be a part of the conversation. But Target’s cynical decision to sell women down the river in the name of Tom Emmer’s “pro-business” policies is completely off the radar.
Emmer is a guy who’s never met a progressive idea that he couldn’t stand in complete and diametric opposition to. To give just a quick list of things he supports:
- An amendment to the Minnesota constitution to allow the state to “opt out” of federal laws. There’s a word for states that decide that federal laws no longer apply to them: secessionist.
- Gutting healthcare reform in Minnesota in favor of the same useless proposals made by GOP members of Congress like “tort reform” and “buying insurance across state lines” which do nothing to improve access to care or lower costs.
- School “choice” vouchers which subsidize upper-middle and upper class children being educated in private and religious schools while depriving public schools of much needed funding.
- Cuts to all aspects of the social safety net for poor and working class families.
- Massive tax cuts, including a complete elimination of all corporate income taxes. (This is, no doubt, the primary reasoning for Target’s support, their HQ is in Minnesota, no corporate income taxes would put millions back into their coffers.)
- The death penalty.
- Looser gun control standards, including the “opt out” from all federal firearms laws.
- Disenfranchisement of poor, disabled and elderly voters via strict photo ID requirements at the polling place. (He uses the well-debunked “ACORN committed voter fraud” lie on his website to justify this.)
The simple fact is that Target has failed its customers here, and wants to pretend that no issues other than Emmer’s position about business (and business taxes) have any importance. But they do, we all know it. Emmer isn’t running on a strictly business platform.
But by focusing strictly on the anti-LGBT aspects of Emmer’s legislative past and current campaign platform (and the friendship with the bandleader), LGBT activists are shooting themselves in the foot. They need to ally with progressives across the spectrum to point the many ways in which Tom Emmer is a disastrous candidate for Target to have thrown their weight behind, and to hold Target’s feet to the fire about this. This is more than, bigger than, an LGBT issue, and needs to be treated that way.