⌚ Summary Of Dorothy Roberts Killing The Black Body

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Summary Of Dorothy Roberts Killing The Black Body



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Through these accounts, Roberts makes the case that reproductive justice is a necessary part of the greater struggle for racial equality. Dorothy Roberts wrote Killing the Black Body during her time as a law professor at Rutgers University , where she studied issues of gender, race, and class. Roberts argues that institutional violence against black women and their reproductive autonomy in modern America has been present since slavery began in America.

Female slaves were often brought from Africa to America for breeding , where their white male owners would rape them and sell their children for profit. Cooper , who was born a slave and became an academic and an activist. Roberts also details the alliance between of Margaret Sanger , an early American birth control advocate, and the eugenics movement of the early 20 th century, in order to illustrate how the rhetoric around contraceptives shifted from reproductive freedom to limiting the fertility of poor women of color. Women's movements for contraception were supported by eugenicists who used contraception to decrease birth rates amongst the black and Latina population in the South. Such efforts were aided by anti-miscegenation laws that criminalized interracial marriage or intercourse.

Hysterectomies of black women which served no medical purpose, but sterilized the women, continued into the s. In a similar case, Roberts describes Norplant, a Levonorgestrel-releasing implant used for birth control. She documents the court-ordered implantation of Norplant by doctors and healthcare organizations into black women living in urban areas. She argues that the War on Poverty initiated by Lyndon B. Johnson disproportionately affected black single mothers, who had higher rates of poverty. Roberts also describes the prosecution of drug usage among pregnant mothers under the crime of drug trafficking to a minor—their fetus. Roberts cites a study which found that Black women were ten times more likely to be reported to law enforcement for drug usage than white women, despite marginally higher drug usage amongst white women.

Finally, Roberts outlines initiatives to change the treatment of black women in America, writing that reproductive justice cannot occur without addressing racial oppression. She critiques liberalism for its focus on individual access to reproductive technologies over broader socioeconomic disparities. Roberts believes that money spent on in vitro fertilisation could be better redirected to improve reproductive rights of a greater number of women.

For example, Roberts advocates that greater resources be dedicated to reducing common causes of infertility, such as chlamydia. She also asserts that conversations about reproductive liberty should include mention of prenatal care being available to pregnant people as a right and opposition to state funding for abortions for women on benefits. Overall, Roberts advocates that reproductive liberty be defined in terms of freedom from social coercion, and the provision of material support for women of color to exercise their right to bear children, rather than simply the freedom to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

A starred review for Kirkus Reviews summarized the book as "brilliant, controversial, and profoundly valuable". The reviewer praised that "Roberts's arguments are especially convincing because they are so well researched and thoroughly dissected" and found that her "knowledge of her subject is total". Smith summarized the book as "a well-written, passionate and enlightening exploration of the impact of racial politics on reproduction". Smith found that Roberts was "at her best when commenting on the contemporary era", but criticized the lack of "examples of black women's resistance" and the "rather unsatisfactory repetition" of historical material which has been studied by Deborah Gray White and Angela Davis.

Sherri L. Barnes of Feminist Collections reviewed the book as "readable by and accessible to general and academic audiences". The burden of black womanhood is proven to be inescapable for those who choose or deny the path of domesticity. Whites cannot explain those experiences of Blacks simply because they are the one group who caused the pain and suffering of Blacks, what they have experienced and are experiencing, from acts of discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice. Slavery was a harsh and cruel system, and being a woman in that system was an extra burden that black women had to bear. Blacks performed egregious tasks daily, and female slaves were often expected to work on the plantation and proceed to cook, clean, and raise children.

Additionally, with the system of slavery came the separation of families, and black women regularly had to raise children by themselves Brinkley The racist institution of slavery, however, existed largely to dehumanize slaves and normalize the idea that black slaves were property. As a result, female slaves were often vulnerable to unwanted sexual attention and abuse Brinkley Linda Brett, the name in which Jacobs uses to narrate her life story, endures the harsh behavior women slaves were treated with in the south in the nineteenth century.

The dominant theme of the corruptive power and psychological abuse of slavery, along with symbolism of good and evil, is demonstrated throughout her narrative to create a story that has revealed to the world the terrible lives woman slaves suffered. Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? She believes that being granted the blue eyes that she wishes for would change both how others see her and what she is forced to see. The reasoning behind this approach lies beyond the 20th century, in the 19th century in fact, when slavery peeked and the African-American women were forced to be beautiful in order to gain what seemed like their freedom.

In this excerpt, the sexuality of women is described to be advantageous in many instances. After slavery, a government report in the s created the Matriarch image. The report stated that slavery destroyed Black families by reversing the roles for men and women Donovan, Not only does the Matriarch emasculate Black men verbally, but also by taking the leadership role in the family. African American women have to struggle with discrimination against their race and, at the same time, they have to fight for recognition in their workplaces where leadership positions are usually occupied by men. Cooper wanted to prove that women can succeed in every spheres of life and should be treated equally with men. Dorothy Roberts ' Killing the Black Body confronts racial injustice in America by tackling the historical and ever-present assault on Black women 's procreative freedom and reproductive autonomy.

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