A report from Reuters about how the reversal of Roe “will hurt black women disproportionately” caused me to gasp at the transparent dishonesty. The report is just one more proof of how the liberal left has grotesquely distorted the effect of the Court’s ruling. We are told about how the probable decision of Southern states like Mississippi, where blacks make up 38 percent of the population, will deprive black women of control over their bodies and rescind their sacred right to deal with an all-important “health issue.”
Far more fitful protests have come from black leaders, most vociferously Congresswoman Cori Bush, of Missouri, who found the reversal of Roe to be the work of an “extremist, racist, classist, and bigoted Supreme Court.” Left-wing activist actor Samuel L. Jackson has also been venting hysterically on “Uncle Tom” Clarence Thomas ever since the Court ruling was handed down in late June. According to Jackson, Thomas, by taking a decisive position against Roe, had declared war on his own race. Apparently, if Thomas wished to fight “racism,” then he’d let black women go on killing their unborn children. Chicago’s black lesbian mayor, Lori Lightfoot, also denounced Thomas for opposing women’s “reproductive rights,” but already in May at a gay pride rally, Mayor Lori had revealed her feelings about the man when she screamed, to the applause of her audience, “F–k Clarence Thomas!”
This may be the most breathtaking example of “false consciousness” that I have ever encountered—the idea that we should be providing all possible assistance to American blacks to extirpate their offspring as expeditiously as possible. Years before Jesse Jackson ran for the presidency in 1988, he denounced abortion. As a self-advertised defender of black interests, Jackson had once understandably raged against how this loathsome practice was wiping out American blacks. But then his attempt to obtain fashionable white support drove him to modify his earlier statements. In November 1973, the periodical Demography featured an article by historian Robert G. Weisbord that undertook to analyze the widespread black repugnance toward abortion. The article traced this attitude among blacks back to the then-prevalent perception that pro-abortionists wanted to get rid of what they regarded as an inferior race.
A recently published book, Tearing Us Apart, by Ryan T. Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis, documents the tangled relationship between abortion advocacy and the efforts to physically eliminate blacks. Although the authors indulge in some of the perennial misstatements of the conservative establishment (e.g., creating the impression that Margaret Sanger foreshadowed the present abortion industry when in fact, Sanger and Planned Parenthood until 1973 championed birth control but strongly opposed abortions), the main line of their argument is correct. Many of the early supporters of abortion, like Lothrop Stoddard, were outspoken racialists, and they certainly did not regard this practice as being sinister. White nationalists, as the authors amply demonstrate, have always been delighted to fight “racism” by showering abortion rights on black women; and it is hardly a coincidence that most abortion facilities are found in or near black neighborhoods.
In 2016, black women accounted for 38 percent of all reported abortions in the U.S., although blacks then made up less than 13 percent of the total American population. In 2020, a Gallup pollster announced almost triumphantly that blacks “are now as likely as non-Black Americans to say that abortion is morally acceptable,” but we learn that this is a relatively recent development, occurring over the last couple of decades. Up until then, blacks, as can be easily demonstrated, found something abhorrent about this particular “reproductive right.” And we’re supposed to feel relief that black women have now come around and accepted the positive attitude toward feticide expressed and propagated by affluent white feminists?
But putting aside the older negative judgment among blacks toward abortion, we might ask ourselves whether today’s aspiring black politicians and their white liberal backers are not aware of what abortion rights are doing to blacks. Certainly, the black icon Martin Luther King was explicit in condemning abortion, and one wonders whether Jackson and Bush should be denouncing King too in the billingsgate they are now pouring on Justice Thomas.
One wonders as well how black leaders can be so controlled by white liberals as to identify white racism with efforts to keep blacks from wiping out their unborn babies. It is similar to the attitude expressed by black politicians about taking measures to reduce the epidemic of violent crime in black neighborhoods. Black leaders parrot the views of the white leftist elites, who delight in blaming inner-city crime on “systemic white racism” or on racist cops but not on black thugs attacking, robbing, and killing other blacks.
This all makes sense, though, if it is considered within the context of woke, leftist alliance-building. Blacks are expected to support LGBT, feminism, and their right to murder their unborn children; and in return, they receive encouragement to spit on the white race and its supposedly tainted history. White leftists happily help blacks vent their hate on the white working class and on Western civilization generally, but in return, blacks are required to mouth dutifully the gender, gay, and abortion politics of their white overlords. Of course, this may be a small price for haters to pay in exchange for the pleasure of dishonoring the American flag, tearing down statues of white heroes, and closing off academic and professional posts to whites without influence.
Columnist Brendan O’Neill, writing in Spiked, underscores the malice and even antiblack racism that has befallen Thomas for not obeying the rules that white elites have inflicted on blacks, and which most blacks seem to accept quite contentedly:
And so it was inevitable he would get it in the neck following the fall of Roe. Vile racial hatred has been hurled his way since the ruling. Angry woke Twitter has even used the N-word. Thomas is ‘just another dumb field n—–’, said one tweeter. Another called him a ‘n—– slave’ to his white ‘nutcase’ wife. He’s a ‘coon-ass motherf—er’, apparently. And of course he’s an Uncle Tom. Or ‘Uncle Clarence’, as Samuel L Jackson called him.
This chewing-out of uppity blacks for not playing by the rules of leftist elites recalls Antonio Gramsci’s concept of “hegemonic ideology.” The ruling class does not have to exercise physical coercion to keep in line those whom it rules. Instead, the rulers can impose a manner of thinking that benefits those on top; and if successful, this imposition will make sure that those in lower positions perpetuate the ideology, almost by automation. The relationship of blacks to white leftist elites exemplifies Gramsci’s theory: in return for pitifully little, the subject class accepts the ideological dominance of those who regard the dominated as usable tools.
Although I see no possibility of changing this abject and almost ridiculous relationship in the foreseeable future, it may be helpful to bring it up periodically, if only to understand our disjointed times. It is Clarence Thomas, not the mouthy Samuel L. Jackson or the vulgarian Lori Lightfoot, who is resisting “the Man.”
Top image: Cori Bush speaking at an Expect Us rally (Photo News 247 / via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0)