Justice in Traction or Stereotypes in Action?

OKCupid rated me as more political (by a seeming landslide on the horizontal bar graph) than their average user.

I report from the land of Brooklyn where I moved to when it was pre-gentrified.

From my vantage point I’d like to see a Supreme Court judge appointed who lived in Brownsville and attended Brooklyn Law School.

The closest we’ve come to this is Sonia Sotomayor who was born and raised in the Bronx.

This is a tricky thing to write about.

Can we assume that gender, race, and religion will influence how a Supreme Court judge rules on a case? If it’s not supposed to influence a judge and this wouldn’t happen in the courtroom then it wouldn’t matter about the complexion of a nominee.

Might it be a stereotype to assume that Brett Kavanaugh would vote against women’s rights?

2,400 law professors signed an opinion article in the New York Times advancing their position that Kavanaugh is not fit to be a Supreme because of his temperament and his histrionics in response to being grilled on his alleged sexual misconduct.

Here’s what I think: the Supreme Court should reflect the makeup of average Americans.

Why is it that only a man who can afford to drop $200K on an Ivy League education is the one appointed to the Supreme Court?

 

Advertisements

I Too Have Been Harassed

One dark night in the fall of 2002 I was waiting for a bus. It was ten o’clock. I had been waiting an hour for my bus. Since I couldn’t see who was coming behind me I occasionally turned around to look instead of staring straight ahead at the oncoming buses.

Before I realized it a male teenager came up behind me inches close to my body and ran his fingers through my hair. “Hey, sexy!” he leered before walking ahead.

By this time I decided: “Screw it. Get on the next bus wherever it’s going.” I had to wait another half hour.

The bus that arrived was going to the ferry so I got off at the terminal. Hustled my ass to the taxi stand and took a cab home from there.

The lesson to be learned from this experience: always have in your wallet fifty dollars if you’re a woman and might have to make a quick getaway.

Over fifteen years later I remember this incident like it happened yesterday: the male teenager’s dark brown curly hair; his brown eyes; and the gray hoodie he wore.

There’s nothing that can be done about this according to the [white] [male] cop that blamed me for being a victim when I reported that a 300-pound guy told me he was going to kill me.

It’s not a real crime unless you’re actually physically injured that is punched in the gut or bleeding. That’s the penal code.

Anything else only constitutes harassment. And harassment is legal when you’re walking down the street or waiting for a bus in the dark.

The right to free speech allows a person to say he’s going to kill you. The privilege of a man allows him to run his fingers through your hair while you’re waiting alone in the dark for a bus.

It begs the question: how far is too far? When is a man’s behavior acceptable, and at what point has it gone overboard? Can we really as women and as a society expect that casual harassment is okay?

Allegedly, 86 percent of Republican women approve of appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Women in America are on a mission to deny other women our rights.

I think it’s truly unlikely that 3 women would lie about being sexually abused.

Have you ever talked with a woman who’s been raped about her experience? It’s chilling.

Blaming the victim is all too common. Not believing that a victim is telling the truth is cray-cray.

I have no hope for an end to the lunacy that has become our government.

My niece is 13. She might become an adult in a society where white men on the Supreme Court have decided she has no say in whether or not she wants to get pregnant and have kids.

We have to think of the generations of women coming up behind us.

Once the Supreme Court decides women have no say in whether or not they get pregnant and birth babies it’s open season on denying women and everyone else whatever other rights the Supremes want to take away.

 

My Choice Not to Have Kids

Let’s face it: doesn’t every woman out there have hard-luck romance stories under our Hermes-H or other belt?

One of the psychics I went to told me: “Love’s been up and down and all around for you. It’s been to the dogs.”

This waterfront fortune teller told me I’d meet a lot of turkeys along the way. Yes, she used the word turkeys to talk about the guys I’d meet.

Taken in this context I haven’t been so quick to drop my skirt to get into bed with just any guy that walked on by in my life.

As a women with a mental health diagnosis I didn’t want to get married and raise a family either.

I’ve known without a doubt since I was easily only 15 or 16 that I didn’t want to have kids–not even one kid.

This stance of mine doesn’t fit into the white middle-class heterosexual norm that prevails in American society.

It’s this world that I was born into that I so intuitively rejected as not being the right lifestyle for me to live.

Leading yet again to how I championed everything Left of the Dial in my memoir.

I still haven’t found Mr. Right. Nor have I found Mr. Almost Right either.

And I definitely haven’t found Mr. Not-Right-Yet-I’ll-Take-Him-Anyway.

In this dry climate with no prospects does it make sense to risk getting pregnant by having sex just to prove you’re a normal woman?

This is the double-bind or double-standard women are in or held to:

If we’re not having sex we’re viewed as being screwed-up and that there’s something wrong with us.

If we’re having sex and heaven help us too much sex we’re viewed as having a lack of morals.

What do you say:

Isn’t it time to give the boot to restrictive regressive political policies that make it harder and harder for women to remain child-free by choice?

Isn’t it time to stop judging women for the choices we make?

Isn’t it time to accept the multitude of expressions of what constitutes normal in society?

It’s time.

I for one have failed at living a mainstream life.

I have failed to please the people who stand in judgment of me even though they haven’t met me.

I have failed to see the logic most of all in overpopulating the planet.

Reproductive Health Choice Statistics

Here I’ll give statistics from Trust Women about women’s reproductive health choices:

91.6 percent of abortions happen in the first trimester.

73 percent of women indicate they could not afford to have a baby at that point in their lives.

74 percent cited interference with their education or job/career or responsibility for existing children or other dependents.

49 percent of women who had abortions in 2014 were living below the federal poverty line.

95 percent of women terminating pregnancies think it was the right decision for them.

Between 50 and 60 percent of women who have abortions were using some form of contraception the month they got pregnant.

60 percent of women who have abortions already have children.

I’ll end here with this according to Peters:

“Women also face a host of barriers when trying to obtain birth control: cost and lack of insurance..difficulty accessing a pharmacy…challenges in getting prescription contraception..in scheduling appointments and getting to a clinic or doctor’s office.”

These barriers were greater for women living below 200 percent of the poverty line.

I recommend that readers go out and buy and read this Rebecca Todd Peters book.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about my own life as a women with a diagnosis and how my own health narrative has informed my choices.

 

New Reproductive Justice Book

As a Lefty, I want to talk about a new 2018 book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice by Rebecca Todd Peters.

This will be a 3-part blog carnival. To start here I’ll tell readers that I have always understood and aligned with people viewed as The Other.

My own life narrative is atypical. A woman I hired told me my story was “unusual.”

I don’t think and act like a lot of people of my race and gender do. I’ve always gone Left when everyone else goes Right.

First I’ll give an overview of this minister-author’s rationale. Then I’ll quote statistics. Lastly, I’ll talk about my own life.

I quote from Trust Women to encourage readers to go out and buy the book.

Rebecca Todd Peters asserts:

“The public rhetoric that insists women must justify their abortions represents a thinly veiled racial and class bias that does two things: It attempts to impose white, middle-class values about marriage, sexual activity, and childbearing on everyone. And it focuses on individual women’s behavior while effectively obfuscating the complexity of their day-to-day lives and the viability of their various choices.”

Instead the Christian minister proposes:

“Public policy ought to focus on addressing systemic social problems rather than attempting to police and control the behavior of women and their bodies.”

In her view the real issue is that women who have abortions are told they need to take responsibility. The truth is that “difficult real-life moral decisions stand in contrast” with the prevailing white, middle-class politicians and anti-choice crusaders perception that women who terminate pregnancies need to take responsibility.

In the next blog entry I’m going to quote statistics that reveal the real issues facing ordinary women tasked with deciding whether or not to give birth.