Devaluation of the charge of Racism

In a critique of the American ‘Fiscal Conservative’ Right in the Guardian, Amanda Marcotte writes the following:

‘The image of the welfare slut has been carefully constructed by the right in recent months to be as racist as possible, as well. A nationwide billboard campaign linking black women and abortion invokes the Reagan-era stereotype of black women as neglectful mothers and over-sexed harridans, and reinforces the message to the base that the only way to put these women in their place is take away their reproductive healthcare.’

Click on the link ( to see the picture. The only ‘racial’ element of the picture is that it has a picture of Barack Obama. However I don’t see how it’s racist because the central message, that abortions eliminate ‘potential leader[s]’, would be exactly the same if there was a picture of George Bush or Bill Clinton there. How the picture in of itself reinforces a stereotype of ‘black women as neglectful mothers and over-sexed harridans’ is a mystery to me.

The only potential racist issue with the picture that I can spot is not on Amanda Marcotte’s article but on the page itself which implies the poster is specifically aimed at Black communities in Chicago. Thus implying that the producers of the poster assume Black Americans are somehow rabid abortionists.

However, that is just conjecture on my part. If Amanda Marcotte is going to suggest the poster is racist, she should clearly explain why.

The result of liberally spreading accusations of racism is that when racism is everywhere, it ends up being nowhere. The word starts to lose meaning and power. Then when others try to highlight real instances of racism they are not taken seriously because the Amanda Marcotte’s of this world have cried wolf so many times before.


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