Now, this billboard was in New York City for all to view. I saw this image today on facebook after a friend of mine posted it. Needless to say I had mixed emotions. At first I read it... blinked twice.. and thought "ok.. what's the big deal? It's TRUE." A few moments passed and then it hit me. All I could murmur is "Wow."
I soon realized that the saying on the billboard is deeper than the statistic of African American women having countless abortions. This billboard made it clear, this is what people think of us. Now when I say people I don't mean the every single person on this earth but more of the picture or stereotype that is perpetuated in this world about African Americans. I had multiple phrases stemming from this billboard pop into my head: "hyper sexual", "irresponsible", "murderers", etc. I imagined myself walking down the street seeing this in the middle of the busiest city in the country and having these words paint a picture of my people and myself to everyone who encounters it. I am not apart of the statistic, but they do not know that. All they can see is African Americans are killing their unborn children.... and that's it.
I read comments and gathered these thoughts. Although the saying is correct, because the statistics of African American children being aborted is at an all time high, there were other approaches that could have been taken. Information on alternate choices could have been displayed (adoption, pregnancy prevention info, etc.) They could have posted the statistic and found a positive way to encourage women to recognize the severity and strive to decrease the number.
I soon began to wonder... why was this message so important to put out? Does anyone post billboards saying the leading cause of death for any other race or ethnicity? Does anyone report the amount of Caucasian children dying in suburban areas from drug use? Does anyone report the amount of asian, latino, or middle eastern children killing their parents on billboards? No.
I've learned that we live in a country that constantly feeds these negative images of our people. How does one get past that? How do I show them by not saying a word that I am not who they see on the news, on movies or in a demeaning music video? I've never been shot at, nor do I possess any "baby daddies", nor have I been in jail, and my father and mother are still married. Am I better than anyone who has, does, or will do these things? No. But those stereotypes are not my reality. When do we begin to break the cycle? When will we as a people begin to eliminate these negative ideas? When we we get back the the very things our ancestors faught and died for? When will we as a unit want more for ourselves?? When will we begin to fight again?
There are many African-Americans who have contributed GREAT things to this world and many continue to do so today. We have got to continue on that path. There are no perfect people but we can strive for our best. We are much better than we are given credit for. We are a people that have the same blood running through them that was once of kings and queens. I guess this was a great way to end Black History Month. We have to wake up people. All are welcome to comment.