from today's protest

dirty hippies. :-)

glad i don't live in ohio.


so a new bill in ohio wouldn't just make it illegal to have abortions, it would also make it illegal to cross state lines to have abortions somewhere else.

pinko feminist hellcat has more on this: the state bill, introduced earlier this month, "would make it a felony for a woman to seek to terminate her pregnancy and holds the same penalty if she chooses to leave the state for the medical procedure. additionally, anyone who helps coordinate an abortion or transportation to leave the state for one could be charged as well."

is there something in the WATER??? what's the deal with all these white men scowling and screaming their heads off about women's bodies? it's practically a fetish, i tell you.


to all the women over 45: We're sorry.

s and i have been planning this weeklong pro-choice demonstration against the christian coalition. the turnout -- for alabama standards -- has been wonderful. the press coverage more than we dreamed. people we've never met are showing up every day.

and yet.

yet i can't help but feel like we're moving backwards.

a friend of mine who's 50 emailed me yesterday and said, "we've already fought this fight! what is going on?!"

and she's right. i feel this nagging need to apologize to every woman over 45, every woman who was there in the 70s on the streets, who was there in the 60s and 50s and before, when abortion was dangerous and often meant getting maimed or shunned or killed.

they already fought this fight. and now, it seems, we need to fight it again.

it isn't that women my age don't give a damn. it's just that we thought those crazy, right-winger loonies were too nutty to be taken seriously. we thought access to abortion -- that private and personal and sometimes-painful decision over what to do with our own bodies -- just made rational sense, and so who would ever successfully try to take that away?

but then shit happened.

"the christian coalition wants to ban abortion in america."

that's a joke, right? that we, in 2006 for christ sake, would be talking about this. debating it. seriously. in state legislatures across the country.

now we have states passing abortion bans, and laws giving fetuses rights that trump those of the women in whose womb they're being carried, and organizations that once were relegated to the margins of right-wing radio and southern-style revivals being hailed as heroes by the republicans we accidentally voted into office.

so to all the women over 45: we're sorry. we'd rather be fighting a new fight, too, if it makes you feel any better. we know you're tired, and you might feel the urge to throw up your hands and stay home and say, "what's wrong with young women these days? why'd they drop the banner?" but the truth is, we need you. one more time.


vaginas for christ

"vaginas for christ" was the only sign that didn't make the cut for our pro-choice protest today outside the christian coalition. but i thought it was so catchy that it deserved mention somewhere (thanks, trish, for the brilliant idea).

shockingly, about 20 people showed up to stick it to the christian coalition for their brazen attempts to ban abortion in alabama. we were hoping for five people, so we were pretty ecstatic. the newspaper even sent a photographer. (yes, i know, in the vast majority of the country, 20 people at a pro-choice rally would be considered a whopping failure. but this alabama, a state that still hasn't made it into the 1970s.)

for more pics, check out the blog for alabama feminist action.


"creation science" in alabama schools

so, we're already the ONLY STATE IN THE COUNTRY that requires warning labels in public school biology books (something to the tune of, "warning!!! learning about evolution has been linked to the dangerous disease called 'reality.' please proceed with caution.")

now, alabama's esteemed legislature wants to pass a bill that would allow the teaching of "creation science" and "intelligent design" in public school science classes. they're calling it the "academic freedom act."

okay, if you want your kid to learn that a christian god created the world in seven days, and if you want your kid to think "evolution" is a dirty word used by dirty hippies, and if you want your kid to be laughed out of their required college science courses, then by all means: yank your kid out of public school and send her to a christian day school. hell, this is alabama -- there's one on every corner.

but please, please, keep your christian hands off of our public schools.

if you live in alabama, think about signing the act for change petition to tell the state senate to vote 'no' on this bill.


abortion causes illegal immigration (??)

whenever i take a long road trip, i always make a point of flipping the dial over to a.m. to hear some of the blather on right-wing radio.

you can always count on conservative talk radio for a good laugh. or a good cry. but these days, the folks over on the a.m. dial are in rare form. the fact that both abortion AND undocumented immigration are in the news at the same time means they have a rare gold mine of news to distort and sensationalize.

if there were academy awards for right-wing radio, i think the oscar in the "most preposterous claim to suit one's own agenda" category would have to go to a man named charles w. colson. his show, "breakpoint," claims an audience of more than a million good, christian listeners.

on april 11, colson told his audience that abortion was the "root of the problem" of illegal immigration:

"the reason we must allow millions of illegal aliens in to fill these jobs is because we have murdered a generation that would otherwise be filling them: 40 million sacrificed since 1973 to the god of self-fulfillment."

media matters has more on this. brilliantly twisted, colson! bravo!


pro-choice victory in TN!!!

whoa! these abortion bans are spreading like wildfire. alabama, mississippi, tennessee... seems the good ol' boys who control things down here were just waiting for their SD brothers to light the match.

so far, though, the abortion-ban copycats are running into a touch of trouble. first, the bill in alabama got stalled in committee. today, a house committee in tennessee actually voted the ban down. (apparently the committee is stacked with women dems, although the very informative post at tennessee guerilla women notes that while dems have a majority in the TN house, many are conservative enough to switch parties without anyone really noticing.)

of course, this is an election year, and as is true here in alabama, conservatives in tennessee will probably reintroduce the bill as soon as they humanly can.


how many men?

i don't know what to say about this duke rape case. i've had so many starts-of-conversations with female friends today, but they always end with confused, sad, angry questions. "i don't even know what to say about it..." one of my friends finally said. we've read the demented email, the newspaper accounts, the police report. we feel beaten and kicked inside, and angry that once again, the woman who came forward is being called a liar and a whore, and the accused perps are being shielded behind the thick, privileged wall of brotherly, good-ol-boy secrecy.

a female duke student was on the talk shows this morning, saying things like, "i know these guys -- they're not THAT kind of guy."

i'm sick of this language that suggests men who rape are some sort of evil aberration. like "we" couldn't possibly know anyone who could do something like "that." like they come from somewhere else, not from our families or our neighborhoods or schools.

one in four women will be raped before she graduates college. every two and half minutes, someone is sexually assaulted.

that means if WE haven't been sexually assaulted, chances are, we know someone who has. that means it's everywhere. and if it's everywhere, that also means these crimes are not committed by some small, roving group of monsters (i.e. "that kind of guy"). if the victims of sexual assault are, as rape crisis centers tell us, our daughters, mothers and sisters, than the perps are our sons, fathers and brothers. if we all know someone who's been the victim of sexual assault, then we also probably know someone who was the perpetrator.

this is what i want to know -- how many men? what percentage of men have committed sexual assault? one in seven? one in 10?

i think it's critical that we know this. because rape will always happen as long there are men who think it's their right, who think it's okay, who can justify its cruelty or ignore its consequences. and those men will always exist as long as we keep saying my son or brother or father couldn't do something "like that," as long as we continue thinking of them as people who have nothing to do with us, people we don't know, people we couldn't possibly be at all responsible for.

i scoured the internet and couldn't find the answer to my question. if you know it, let me know. i don't think it's an answer we necessarily want to be confronted with. it's much easier to demonize men who are rapists than to realize society might be culpable for some of the messages that make then that way. it means being a man who sexually assaults women isn't necessarily an aberration from the norm -- it means it's part of the norm. and that means, as a society, we're doing something terribly, exceptionally wrong.



is this racist?

that's what some people are calling this line, of magnets, shirts, etc., from EdChange, a multicultural, anti-racist website, which sells some pretty radical stuff in its online store. i just got an email about it from a multicultural ed listerv.

what do you think?

the anti-abortion movement and white supremacy

i was talking to my mom yesterday, and she told me a story about my aunt who was visiting for the weekend. my aunt had just seen "crash," and her comment on the film boiled down to one sentence: "this whole country's turning brown!"

and then i got to work, and then i read this post, from hysterical blackness:

hysterical blackness: A thought

she writes:

"I've been reading a lot of James Baldwin and I came upon this quotation: 'The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.' And i was thinking about abortion and the push to make it illegal again.

Is this about white supremacy? About increasing the US white population? No incentives like other countries but a dis-incentive--a criminalization of reprodcutive choice."

hmmm. well, most anti-abortion protesters and politicians ARE white men. maybe there's something to this.

someone who commented on hysterical blackness' post related it to the phenomenon of white folk who worry the brown and black folk are "out-breeding" them. my aunt who commented on "crash" is the same one who encouraged her grown children to reproduce because "the mexicans are having more babies than us, and we need to catch up."


this is just anecdotal, but there are more where she comes from. (and they vote.)

the real white supremacy

i just read this fabulous essay from the black commentator (a great source for radical, critical thinking, in case you haven't heard of it): "race, place and freedom: a katrina classroom memoir".

the author, paul street, a history prof at northern illinois university, frames the essay with a quote from black philosopher charles w. mills:

"one of the most important, though most subtle and elusive, aspects of white supremacy," notes mills, "is the barrier it erects to a fair hearing. It is not merely that people of color are trying to make a case for the economic and juridico-political injustice of their treatment; it is that they are additionally handicapped in doing so by having to operate within a white discursive field.

"the framework of debate is not neutral: it is biased by dominant white cognitive patterns of structured ignorance, an overt or hidden white normativity, so that at the basic factual level, many claims of people of color will just seem absurd, radically incongruent with the sanitized picture white people have of u.s. history. ... typically white and typically black realities - in terms of everyday experience with government bureaucracies, the police, and the job market, housing, and so forth - are simply not the same."

this is the white supremacy of 2006. white folk easily shrug that label -- i don't own a confederate flag, use the "n" word, pay dues to the kkk. but i do live in a society whose official history reflects people who look like me, whose government is ruled by people who look like me, and in which i am actively discouraged from encountering in meaningful ways people who don't look like me (through housing patterns, economic segregation, the labeling of discussions of race as "impolite" and "improper", etc.)

the "typically white reality" makes no room for "the typically black reality" -- that would be too hard, involve too much self-reflection, require too many changes. it would be messy. and painful. we don't realize the system is broken, because for us, in the short-term, anyway, the system seems to work pretty well.

i have to go to a meeting. more on this later.


pro-life nation

okay, so, i'm harping on this whole abortion thing. but i think it needs harping on. at the NOW meeting yesterday, a bunch of women in the 40s and 50s enjoyed a lively harangue against "young women these days" who, apparently, fail to grasp what's at stake with all these anti-choice bills floating around. one woman said, with an apologetic smile in my direction, "all the young women i know only care about what their hair looks like!"

well, i guess i don't know the same young women they know. the ones i know all seem to be pretty freaked out over what's happening in places like south dakota, alabama, and, oh, washington, dc. i tried to explain to the women yesterday that not everyone in my generation is addicted to "the bachelor" and that some of us actually read newspapers and vote.

speaking of newspapers, i found this in the ny times sunday mag (you need a free online subscription to read it):

"pro-life nation": what happens when you completely criminalize abortion? over the last eight years, el salvador has found out.

(the editor in me needs to point out that they incorrectly used the word "last" in that subhed. thank you for letting me share.)

from the story:

"There are other countries in the world that, like El Salvador, completely ban abortion, including Malta, Chile and Colombia. El Salvador, however, has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus — the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor's office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating an unusual kind of criminal."

i.e. women who have abortions.

"we are america!"

this afternoon, thousands of people are converging in birmingham in support of immigrant rights -- i think it might be the first immigrant rights rally in alabama's history!

similar protests are happening all over the united states tomorrow, part of a national day of action for immigrant justice.

i'm thoroughly disappointed that i can't be at the protests in birmingham today... too much school work keeping me tied to my keyboard to justify the hour-and-a-half drive each way. so i thought i'd at least post about it today, sort of like protesting in spirit, if i couldn't be there to actually wave a sign.


check out this blog!

a fabulous blog by a black, queer, feminist academic. i just discovered it. and needed to share...

hysterical blackness

comic artists kick ass

comic artist stephanie mcmillan decided to auction off her hysterically pro-choice, in-your-face-SD comic strip on e-bay and then donate the cash to pro-choice groups fighting south dakota's abortion ban. the winning bid was $2,201.00.

here's a link to the kick-ass comic strip on stephanie's website -- email it to all your friends, and then contact the artist at steph@minimumsecurity.net to say a big thanks for the great idea.

alabama feminist action

it's official! check out our brand-spankin'-new blog for alabama feminist action. (our name might change. s is out of town, and i'm hoping when she gets back she can help come up with something a little less dreadfully literal.)

our first target, of course, who else would it be, come on now, is but the devil himself. in the form of the christian coalition.

this afternoon i went to a meeting of the montgomery chapter of the national organization for women. this was my first meeting... the group started just a few months ago and has grown from 16 members to 77. fabulous! folks were quite excited about the christian coalition protest... although one woman came up to me afterwards and said, "that sounds like a good idea, but i'm afraid of those people!" i couldn't tell if she was joking, so i said, "well, safety in numbers, right?" and she said, "yeah, like 50!"

i think it's time to show those god-fearing, bible-thumping, we-don't-mean-nobody-no-harm, get-your-female-behind-back-in-the-kitchen crazies that we're the ones they should be afraid of. :-)