Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Wedding No Womb: Also No LatiNegr@s or Youth Perspectives

cross posted from my Media Justice column

While most of ya’ll were getting ready to have a dope weekend at Advocates For Youth’s Urban Retreat, I was listening to and trying to work through my ideas around the “movement” Now Wedding No Womb (NWNW). If you have not heard of NWNW (which you can follow conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #NWNW), the goal of this “movement” which is discussed under the tab “No Wedding No Womb FAQ” is to:

NWNW calls for both MEN and WOMEN to put the needs of children first, and advocates that couples abstain from having children until they are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for them. In my opinion, marriage is the ideal. However, if marriage is out of the question, NWNW parents are “wedded” to their commitment to their children, providing daily emotional and physical nurturing. I’m advocating for women to think more of their bodies and their future children BEFORE sperm meets egg. I’m advocating for men to STOP spraying their seeds all over The Creation.

Now, although the above statement it reads in a very race neutral way, however the focus is on Black men and women. NWNW is lead and organized by Christelyn D. Karazin who is a writer and journalist (you can read more about her on the NWNW website by clicking the tab “About Christelyn”) and has received a lot of attention from the media as she hoped. She envisions one way of reaching the goals mentioned above was to first ask several bloggers to write about the topic on September 22, 2010. In an interview with Michael Eric Dyson , Chriselyn stated she reached out to 200 bloggers and got 100 to agree to participate in the September 22 event. I think that’s a pretty good number.

Let me be clear (and biased), I’m not a supporter of NWNW. I’m not a supporter for all of the reasons my homegirls have shared over the past two weeks. Check out Sparkle’s very accessible list here, Dr. Goddess’s pieces on the topic/a> and one of my favorite online spots the activists at The Crunk Feminist Collective. There are two other reasons I’m not in support of this “movement” and they are the focus of this piece.

1. Blackness, as presented in this “movement,” does not include LatiNegr@s (i.e. me) or any other ethnic identity that intersects with a racial classification of Black.
2. There are no youth perspectives by youth.

I joked with my homegirl Sparkle and my homies on Twitter that I really am happy, for the first time EVER, that my Blackness was excluded in a conversation about sexuality and Blackness. Often I have a LOT to say about such omissions. I’ve been pretty vocal about my perspective about being a Black woman, a woman of Color, a LatiNegra, so none of this should come as a surprise. I do wonder why it is so easy to omit us. Then I wonder how that would kind of mess up the goal, focus, and argument of the “movement.” If there were an understanding and recognition of how ethnicity and race intersect and complicate who we are, then there would have to be a different conversation. A conversation about systemic oppressions that work to ensure that certain communities remain under-resourced and without access to basic daily needs (i.e. food, shelter, health care, protection NOT surveillance, etc.). And solutions to those challenges and struggles have been rooted in moving towards a more democratic form of capitalism (if there is one), or completely moving away from capitalism and other forms of hierarchy in general (in my opinion).

This idea that we must protect children (and youth) but not have any youth share their own experiences, ideas, and solutions is a pretty big deal for me. Of course one can argue that youth who are under a certain age would need permission from parents, or are not the target audience. I would argue that’s kind of my point with my problem around this “movement.” How are we talking about what happens to our young people but don’t talk to them? I mean those of you reading this already know this, because it still happens all the time. I’m probably one of the older bloggers here, but I vividly remember how condescending adults are to me (still are because they think I have a “baby face” so assume I’m younger than I am, so that ish keeps going into your 20s!). I’ve often found myself as the one (sometimes only) person who mentions the omission of a youth perspective, which is sad.

There are so many assumptions about age. That young people would not have anything to say about this topic. Young people are too busy doing too many things (possibly with technology) or too busy consuming media to care about X issue. That with age comes wisdom, thus youth do not have any good valuable ideas to share. The list goes on and I’m sure many of you are more than aware of what they include. What the real issue I find is: We don’t care what young people think because we are too busy patting ourselves on the back for thinking we can come up with solutions to their problems without having them be a part of those solutions.

What I’d love to know is what your thoughts are about this “movement.” Even if it’s one sentence, or several, or a link to a post or comment you wrote somewhere else. This is the perfect example about talking about youth but not talking with youth. This is also the perfect example of creating media so that y/our perspective is recognized; to let us adults remember we can’t work this way, claiming we have your “best interests in mind.” We get it wrong, and I’m sorry we get it wrong so often and don’t learn. I’m sorry this “movement” excluded you claiming to care for you. I’m sorry nobody has apologized for this until now.

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