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Imitating the Enemy

By Leon Jones, President, Blacks for Life
Reprinted from
The American Feminist, Winter 1994/1995

In an article titled "What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman?" Alice Walker asks,

"Where are the children of the Blackfoot?
"Of the Cheyenne?
"Of the Chippewa?
"Of the Iroquois?
"Of the Sioux?
"Of the Mandinka?
"Of the Ibo?
"Of the Ashanti?
"Where are the children of the 'Slave Coast' and Wounded Knee?" (1)

Ms. Walker, the author of The Color Purple, answers her own question by pointing out that these children died at the hands of the white man. But whereas her facts are historically correct, her conclusion is confusing (at least to this writer). I say this because on the one hand Ms. Walker condemns these atrocious acts, as she should, but then turns around and uses the injustices that the white man has inflicted upon various populations to "justify" the black woman's right to take the life of her own child.

Unfortunately, Ms. Walker is not alone in this train of logic.

Black "radicals" who are adept at talking about how the white man - whom some refer to as the enemy - used black people during slavery for economic gain and genocide, are willing to defend the rights of abortionists - usually white men - to profit from the killing of black babies.

"Conservative" African-Americans who see black-on-black violence as the #1 enemy in our neighborhoods rightly plead with young bloods to put an end to this violence. But they will stand by the black woman's "right" to abort her black child.

Many a preacher in the black church will spend hours every week telling the world right from wrong, what we ought and ought not to do, taking every opportunity to remind us that sin is the enemy. These preachers scream and shout about adultery, lying and stealing (all the "politically correct" sins), and yet when it comes to the "A" word, they suddenly get laryngitis.

I may be wrong, but I don't believe that this attitude of "it's genocide if another group kills mine but 'freedom of choice' when I kill my own" is restricted to the African-American community. The pro-choice feminist movement is the most glaring example of this. What's really interesting is that those who are extremely knowledgeable and claim to care for the underprivileged (and I really do believe that they care) are the same people who deny the most helpless of all - the pre-born baby - the right to live.

Pro-abortion feminists lecture at universities about how violent men can be - scratch that - make that, how violent men are (as in innately). In the opinion of some pro-choice feminists, "all men are rapists and therefore the enemy." Yet some of these same women make demands to protect a man's (the abortionist's) "right" to penetrate a woman's body in what amounts to mechanical rape and kill her child.

How is it that the same women who speak endlessly about how women around the world are valued less than men are shocked to find out that in places like India, out of 8,000 fetuses aborted, 7,999 were female? (2) Why are they surprised to find out that in countries like China, where there is a one-child policy, baby girls are often drowned so that a couple can try for a boy? There is no doubt that circumstances that make a woman even consider having an abortion are traumatic, to say the least. But allowing a man to enter her body and destroy her child is about as effective a solution to her problems as it is when blacks retaliate against racism by burning down their own neighborhoods.

What, then, is the solution? I believe that it begins the moment one stops imitating the "enemy." African-Americans have been oppressed for centuries. It wasn't until the '60's that they really began to make progress. Why? Black pride.

When James Brown started singing, "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud"; when a black man named Muhammad Ali said, "I'm the greatest"; when Jesse Jackson chanted, "I am somebody"; when we grew our Afros and wore ethnic clothing - that's when we began to grow as a people.

I believe that the same could be said for women. As Daphne de Jong stated in "Legal Abortion Exploits Women," "The womb is not the be-all and end-all of women's existence. But it is the physical center of her sexual identity, which is an important aspect of her self-image and personality. To reject its function, or to regard it as a handicap, a danger or a nuisance, is to reject a vital part of her own personhood. Every woman need not be a mother, but unless every woman can identify with the potential motherhood of all women, no equality is possible. American Negroes gained nothing by straightening their kinky hair and aping the white middle class. Equality began to become a reality only when they insisted on acceptance of their different qualities - 'Black is Beautiful.'" (3)

Alice Walker was right. Some white men are responsible for the genocide of the Mandinka, the Ibor, the Ashanti, as well as the rape and abuse of white women. But unlike our ancestors, who fought to protect themselves and their children, today we unite with this kind of white man for the "right" to kill our children through what can only be called cooperative genocide.

Until we as a people begin to celebrate that which makes us unique, and love ourselves for who we are, we will continue to participate in self-destructive acts. For how can we love ourselves while we are consumed with imitating the enemy?

1 The Nation: May 22, 1989, p. 691, "What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman?," by Alice Walker
Newsweek: January 30, 1989, p. 12, "In India, They Abort Females," by Jo McGowan
Abortion? Opposing Viewpoints, p. 163: "Legal Abortion Exploits Women," by Daphne de Jong

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