Friday, April 8, 2011

The complexity of the term breeder

Pregnant woman black and white shadows
By Tom and Katrien (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


The main slur that has been directed at me from the LGBT community is the term breeder.  I understand that this a reaction to the fact that straight people constantly shame same sex couples for their inability to reproduce.  Though many straight couples spend a lifetime together and chose never to become parents, the biological impossibility of two women, or two men producing a child has been constructed as a negative.  This is without doubt absolutely oppressive, and I can completely understand why the desire to respond with a pejorative is necessary.  As I wrote earlier this week, dominant bodies can be hurt by name calling, but it does not rise to the level of a specific oppression or a slur, because they still have access to power.

The term breeder has been a very difficult one for me.  I fully acknowledge that I have straight privilege, and I did in fact produce two amazing little boys as the result of sexual activity that is completely sanctioned in our heteronormative society.  These are simply facts that cannot be denied.  My issue with the term breeder originates in who is deploying the word to hurt me.  Coming from a POC who is GLBT, I completely understand and accept it, because it is a commentary on my straight privilege however, coming from a person who is LGBT and White, and therefore exists with White privilege, the term takes on a significantly different meaning.

POC have been constructed by Whiteness as nothing more than irresponsible breeders.  Bryan Fischer a spokeshater for the AFA recently wrote:
We have spent over $16 trillion fighting the war on poverty, and it’s time to run up the white flag of surrender. Poverty has won. We now have more people on food stamps - think children here - than at any time in our history. The war on poverty has been a total, dismal failure and it’s time to recognize that. You get more of whatever you subsidize. You subsidize poverty, which we have done since 1965, and you just get more of it. 

Welfare has destroyed the African-American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete. Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock. We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of those who engage in random and reckless promiscuity, whether they are Caucasian, Hispanic, or African-American. 

Overall, over 40% of America’s children are born into homes with no father presence. The problem is particularly acute in the African-American community, where the illegitimacy rate is now over 70% and and MSNBC reports that an astonishing 59% of black mothers have conceived children by multiple fathers.  

And the children are the ones who get chewed up. Welfare, as Walter Williams has pointed out, has done what slavery, racism and Jim Crow laws could not do: destroy the black family. The Christ-centered statesman puts himself in the place of a fatherless black child, sees the catastrophic damage that the meltdown of the family has caused, and pursues policies to wean people off marriage- and child-destroying welfare, and pursues policies that incentivize marriage, incentivize self-reliance rather than abject dependence, and incentivize the reconstruction of the American family.
This is just one example.  WOC are continually being shamed for our reproduction and constructed as irresponsible sluts.  We know that the government has run sterilization programs against us.  We know that globally social aid has been dependent upon women agreeing to be used as human guinea pigs for new birth control products.  We know that in many cases consent was not even sought after or received to use WOC as test subjects.  The very make up of our bodies has made us subject to medical violence for centuries.

Even today, anti-abortion groups post billboards stating that "the most dangerous place for a Black child is in the womb".  Our children are routinely compared to animals.  They are undereducated and set up for defeat before they can even take their first breathe.  All of this has been to benefit Whiteness.  Today, the only time the wombs of WOC are considered valuable, is when they can be used as hosts for White babies.  Even now, western women (largely White women), travel to India and pay Brown women -- or dusty women to borrow a term from Jaded16 -- to birth children as surrogates.  WOC have become human incubators for Whiteness, and of course when this happens, no one has a problem with what our bodies are capable of. During slavery WOC were mated at times against their will to create profit for White slaver owners.  Unless Whiteness can directly profit from our reproduction, we are irresponsible, immoral, hyper sexualized breeders.

When a White LGBT person chooses to call me a breeder, I don't think about my straight privilege.  I think of the centuries abuse that WOC have been forced to live through at the hands of Whiteness.  I see an assertion of White privilege and the complete devaluation of my person.  When aimed at a WOC, no matter how a White LGBT person means the phrase breeder, there can be no doubt that it is a slur, because race cannot be divorced from the label.  It is further ironic that while their sexual activity is specifically stigmatized because it is occurring between two people of the same sex, my sexual activity is also stigmatized because it has the potential to produce a Black child - a child that White society not only does not value, but does not want.