Anglicans Against Apartheid
Katha Pollitt's "Postcards From Cape Town" ["Subject to Debate," Nov. 15] mentions apartheid-compliant Anglican clerics. Many Anglicans were out front in the civil organization against apartheid for decades. Father Trevor Huddleston, who came to work in Sophiatown in 1943 and was made president of the antiapartheid movement in 1981, is the most notable example of their active conscience, which leads directly to Bishop Desmond Tutu's high-profile presence.
Black Women Fight Back
Thanks to Melissa Harris-Perry for "To Whom Apologies Are Really Due," which places Virginia Thomas's request for an apology from Anita Hill into historical perspective ["Sister Citizen," Nov. 15]. The good news is that alongside the persistent vilification of black women Harris-Perry recounts, there is an equally long history of resistance. Hill stands in a continuous line of women who have fended off assaults and refuted the stereotype of immorality, from the slave known as Celia to Rosa Lee Ingram to Dessie Woods, to name a few. Until that strand of resistance is woven into our national narrative, conservatives will peddle myths and half-truths that serve their ends.
Just as Clarence Thomas resorted to a skewed account of lynching that overlooks sexual violence against black women, the antiabortion movement today spins a twisted tale that sidesteps black women's realities. The religious right is waging an "endangered species" campaign, alleging that a genocidal conspiracy proceeded inexorably from slavery to lynching to eugenics to legalized abortion. This warped argument portrays black women as dupes of white elites and profit-driven abortion providers rather than as moral agents who negotiate economic inequalities and discriminatory policies to make difficult reproductive decisions.
Black women are fighting back. When the "endangered species" campaign targeted Atlanta recently, Loretta Ross, Dázon Dixon Diallo, Paris Hatcher and supporters from SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, SisterLove and SPARK stood them down in the streets and in the legislature. They defeated legislation that would criminalize abortion as a coercive, racially motivated procedure. These leaders have formed Trust Black Women and rallied allies like Toni Bond Leonard, Barbara Smith, Faye Wattleton, Angela Davis and the Black Women's Health Imperative to challenge the campaign in other states (sistersong.et/trust_black_women.html). The sooner we heed these voices from the front lines, the sooner we'll get behind a reproductive justice agenda grounded in the truth— all of it.
Cape Elizabeth, Me.
As a woman I totally agree with Harris-Perry's indictment of a system that doesn't support women and children; but I disagree with her conclusion that women should ignore the lack of a support system and have children anyway. For many years I've been wondering when someone is going to speak up for the children. I am a retired teacher from a white, Christian, rural upstate New York school system. I see the results of single-parent homes. It is virtually impossible to give children the time they need to be successful in school when you are struggling to feed them. The problem is not color; it is poverty. Unless a single woman can afford to move to a safe community with services that support her children, it's not fair to the children to bear them.
Can Brits Throw Bricks?
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In "(G)rêve général(e) in France" [Nov. 15], Agnès Catherine Poirier claims that whereas France has a long tradition of popular protest, "it is not in the British DNA to demonstrate." Having lived through Britain's miners' strikes, Greenham common protests and poll tax riots of the 1980s and early '90s, I beg to differ.
Tea Party Blues (Reds?)
Ann Arbor, Mich.
A sobriquet for hate-spewing opportunists who have seized the Boston Tea Party as a symbol of justice-seeking protest: Hatriots.
GORDON E. BIGELOW
Deadline Funny Bone
The first thing I do with The Nation each week is check in with Deadline Poet Calvin Trillin. What a breath of fresh air! Perhaps growing up in Kansas City, in the heart of the nation, gives him such poetic clarity on the foibles of the world.
As Many of You Have Told Us...
Diane Simon, in "The Merry-Go-Round" [Dec. 6], writes, "In an effort to 'get' Herbert Hoover, Anderson and his 'legmen'...followed the FBI chief to lunch with his handsome young deputy, Clyde Tolson." Needless to say, the FBI chief was J. Edgar, not Herbert. Read More