Toni Morrison: In Defense Of Life

  • Q-This leads to the problem of the depressingly large number of single-parent households and the crisis in unwed teenage pregnancies. Do you see a way out of that set of worsening circumstances and statistics?
  • A-Well, neither of those things seems to me a debility. I don’t think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It’s perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man. Two parents can’t raise a child any more than one. You need a whole community-everybody-to raise a child. The notion that the head is the one who brings in the most money is a patriarchal notion, that a woman-and I have raised two children, alone-is somehow lesser than a male head. Or that I am incomplete without the male. This is not true. And the little nuclear family is a paradigm that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for white people or for black people. Why we are hanging onto it, I don’t know. It isolates people into little units-people need a larger unit.
  • Q-and teenage pregnancies? 
  • A- Everybody’s grandmother was a teenager when they got pregnant. Whether they were 15 or 16, they ran a house, a farm, they went to work, they raised their children.
  • Q-But everybody’s grandmother didn’t have the potential for living a different kind of life. These teenagers-16, 15-haven’t had time to find out if they have special abilities, talents. They’re babies having babies.
  • A-The child’s not going to hurt them. Of course, it is absolutely time consuming. But who cares about the schedule? What is this business that you have to finish school at 18? They’re not babies. We have decided that puberty extends to what-30? When do people stop being kids? The body is ready to have babies, that’s why they are in a passion to do it. Nature wants it done then, when the body can handle it, not after 40, when the income can handle it.
  • Q-You don’t feel that these girls will never know whether they could have been teachers, or whatever?
  • A-They can be teachers. They can be brain surgeons. We have to help them become brain surgeons. That’s my job. I want to take them all in my arms and say, ‘You baby is beautiful and so are you and, honey, you can do it. And when you want to be a brain surgeon, cal me-I will take care of you baby.’ That’s the attitude you have to have about human life. But we don’t want to pay for it. I don’t think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they’re black-or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That’s what we’re upset about. We don’t care whether they have babies or not.
  • Q-How do you break the cycle of poverty? You can’t just hand out money
  • A-Why not? Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich get it handed-they inherit it. I don’t mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network. That’s shared bounty of class.
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White Mob Violence Is Alive and Thriving

In Nelson Peery’s Black Radical, Peery details his life fighting for the liberation of working-class people world wide. Peery who fought in a segregated Black infantry division in WW2, details the horrific violence and death  that returning WW2 black veterans were met with at the hand of white mobs. Between June 1945 and September 1946, not a week went by without a lynching or other mob violence. During this time 56 Black veterans were lynched by white mobs.

This is one improvement, I thought. There are not mobs of regular-joe white people just up and offing black people for fun.

George William’s story, recently published in the New York Times, jarred me into consciousness of the reality that hundreds of thousands of men and women live and die everyday in America’s prisons. The angry white mobs I had imagined gone were actually employed in America’s prisons where they terrorize,beat and murder Black and Brown people legally and with impunity.

PEOPLE. Because “inmate” “convict” prisoner” “criminal”  normalize and justify the immoral imprisonment, torture and murder of fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters.

George Williams was arrested for robbing a jewelry store. Slave wages and pervasive unemployment makes such action necessary for survival. He was sentenced to 2-4 years in a Maximum Security Prison. An outrageous repercussion when the wealthy white men who caused and benefited from the 2008 financial crash that harmed billions of people are free to lounge in their 3rd vacation homes.

George Williams was keeping to himself in his cell at Attica Correctional Facility when four white guards ordered him to strip for a search. Under the false pretenses of a drug test they took him to another room and  beat him until he couldn’t walk. At one point they invited other guards to join in the fun. Up to 12 other white guards were witnessed. White Mob Violence.

With no rights that this land of democracy is bound to respect, men, women and children behind bars suffer brutal state sanctioned violence at the hands of guards everyday.

George Williams was left with horrific injuries that included a broken shoulder, two broken legs, multiple cracked ribs, broken eye socket, huge amount of blood lodged in his maxillary sinus, and cuts and bruises all over his body.

He was so close to death the prison infirmary didn’t admit him and ordered him  to an outside hospital. The first hospital also turned him away because his injuries were too severe for them to treat.

That night the necessity of liberation for Black and Brown people agitated my mind and kept sleep at bay. I was overwhelmed by the necessity of action because our existence depends on it.

From the cells of Attica and Rikers and Guantanamo, to the mines of South Africa, to Ethiopia, to Pine Ridge, to Zimbabwe, to Gaza, to Haiti, to the Congo, to Myanmar, to Nicaragua, to Eritrea, to Mexico, to Ferguson, to Iraq, to Peru, to Guatemala, to China, to Afghanistan, to Vietnam, to India, to Somalia, we are struggling for survival. Our existence–our safe healthy happy existence–makes taking action a necessity.

To the white people who have acquired the children of Black and Brown people thru adoption: Why don’t you feel this necessity that we do?  How can you claim to love Black children without loving Black humanity? How can you claim love while refusing to acknowledging the role you hold in our oppression with your active indifference?  How can you claim to love the Black and Brown children in your care without taking action to eradicate the white-supremacist+misogynist+capitalist system that is detrimental to their safe healthy and happy existence?

As for George Williams, he suffers a leg that is constantly bothering him, headaches, sinus damage, and PTSD. He is plagued by nightmares.  “I still can’t sleep” he told the New York Times.

You Shouldn’t Adopt Black Children If…

If…You in anyway rationalize the murders of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Mariam Carey, Aianna Jones, Rekia Boyd, Yvette Smith, or any other black person who was murdered by state sanctioned police violence. Or you let your family members do it without calling them out.

If…You don’t have any meaningful relationship with a black person.

If…You think the Black Panthers were national terrorists. 

If…You hear the slur “welfare queen” and imagine a black woman.

If…You think the problem with this country is welfare queens getting pregnant just to steal more of your tax dollars.

If…You imagine a One God, gendered male, and colored White.

If…Your idea of beauty and excellence in people, art, music, film, literature etc. is rooted in Eurocentricity.

If…You think the disproportionate number of black people in US prisons is due to Black criminality.

If…You secretly think Black people should “just quit their whining and pull themselves up by the bootstrap”  while refusing to realize that this White Supremacist-Capitalist-Patriarchal system grants you innumerable privileges in every part of your life.

If…If you refuse to use these privileges to work to break down the White Supremacist-Capitalist-Patriarchal system that is so hostile to Black life.

Truth Out! Adoption Collective’s Mission Statement

Truth Out! Adoption Collective is a group of young adults who were adopted internationally and transracially and who have connection to domestic infant adoption. Because of our multi faceted experiences  we are a critical voice in the adoption discourse which is dominated by people who adopt.  Unless we–the ones who were adopted, our mothers, and our families–speak in favor of adoption and adhere to the status quo, we are cast away and our voices made invalid by the dominant culture. The dominant people in adoption are the dominant people in society today–white “upper class” people. They write the adoption legislation, make the law, are the judges, sit on the board of adoption agencies, run adoption agencies, lobby congress, are in congress, and own the corporate media thereby control public opinion on adoption.

We–people who were separated from our original families/communities/cultures thru adoption and our families–do not hold this power. We as a whole are from the exploitable section of this society.

There is a huge power disparity between people who adopt and  us –people who are adopted and our families. It is a class war.

This power disparity is present in international adoption, domestic infant adoption, CPS/foster care.

This needs to be talked about Truth Out! Adoption Collective will talk about it.

We will not cater to the white adoptive parent gaze. We are not here for their approval. They can eat a huge slice of humble pie and learn. Or not.

“We currently have ample evidence that reveals that adoption is not “about children”. I no longer feel the need to argue about adoption along lines which take for granted its status quo acceptance. And I would like to go on the record as saying: As opposed to seeing adoption as a beneficent action, it can instead be stated that its very presence marks the failure of a society to care for those in need.”–Daniel Ibn Zayd

* We know Adoption is a profit driven industry. Billions and Billions and Billions and Billions. Hmm…couldn’t this be used to keep families intact…

*We know that the Adoption Industry is nothing like indigenous African community care–which is about helping out a family in need and never about separating children from their mothers/families.

*We know that Adoption has been used as a tool of colonialism and cultural genocide and is used today for the same.

Truth Out! Adoption Collective is a safe space for adoptees and mothers/first families to share their stories. If you would like to share your story or guest blog contact us.