Executions

            “The results of two new studies . . . are being released through this report. The first study documents the infectious presence of racism in the death penalty, and demonstrates that this problem has not slackened with time, nor is it restricted to a single region of the country. The other study identifies one of the potential causes for this continuing crisis: those who are making the critical death penalty decisions in this country are almost exclusively white.

        From the days of slavery in which black people were considered property, through the years of lynchings and Jim Crow laws, capital punishment has always been deeply affected by race. Unfortunately, the days of racial bias in the death penalty are not a remnant of the past.”

-- From the Death Penalty Information Center 

racism_-_executions.jpg 

 

War

        “The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of African-Americans ever to serve in an American war. There was a marked turnaround from the attitude in previous wars that black men were not fit for combat - during the Vietnam War African-Americans faced a much greater chance of being on the front-line, and consequently a much higher casualty rate. In 1965 alone African-Americans represented almost 25 percent of those killed in action.”

-- PBS, “African Americans in Combat’ 

 

The Drug War

 

        “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

-- Nixon aide John Ehrlichman, in Harper’s Magazine, April, 2016

racism_Ehrlichman.jpg John Ehrlichman

Assisted Suicide

        “[M]any Americans -- particularly the poor, the disabled, the elderly and members of racial and ethnic minorities -- worry that if assisted suicide becomes widely available they will be viewed as ‘throwaway people.’ They fear coercion, stigmatization and discrimination, understandably believing that the societal indifference prevalent throughout their lives will also infect their end-of-life care.”

-- Patricia King, Professor of Law, Medicine, Ethics and Public Policy, New York Times, April 10, 2012

 

        "Some worry that blacks, who tend to have less access to treatment and preventive care, may think that ending their lives early is their best option when given a terminal diagnosis.

         Some African American residents have said the legislation reminds them of the Tuskegee experiments, in which hundreds of black men with syphilis in Alabama unwittingly participated in a 40-year federal study of the disease’s long-term effect. The men were told they were being given “free health care” and were being treated for the disorder, when in fact they were not."

-- Right-to-die law faces skepticism in nation’s capital: ‘It’s really aimed at old black people’, Washington Post, by Fenit Nirappil, October 17, 2016

 

Abortion 

       “It takes little imagination to see that the unborn Black baby is the real object of many abortionists. Except for the privilege of aborting herself, the Black woman and her family must fight for every other social and economic privilege. This move toward the free application of a non-right (abortion) for those whose real need is equal human rights and opportunities is benumbing the social conscience of America into unquestioningly accepting the ‘smoke screen’ of abortion. The quality of life for the poor, the Black and the oppressed will not be served by destroying their children.”

-- Erma Clardy Craven, social worker, Abortion and Social Justice, Sheed & Ward, 1972

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Erma Clardy Craven

 

One of the abortion doctors to which Ms. Craven refers: 

        "Population control is too important to be stopped by some right wing pro-life types. Take the new influx of Hispanic immigrants. Their lack of respect for democracy and social order is frightening. I hope I can do something to stem that tide; I'd set up a clinic in Mexico for free if I could. . . .

         "When a sullen black woman of 17 or 18 can decide to have a baby and get welfare and food stamps and become a burden to us all, it's time to stop. In parts of South Los Angeles, having babies for welfare is the only industry the people have."

-- Edward Allred, San Diego Union, October 12, 1980.

Dr. Allred's aversion to government subsidies did not prevent him from accepting millions in California tax dollars for his abortion practice. 

racism_-_Allred.jpgEdward Allred

        “I am the mother of Belinda A. Byrd . . . I am also the grandmother of her three young children who are left behind and motherless. I cry every day when I think how horrible her death was. She was slashed by them and then she bled to death, taken from this world on January 27, 1987. She has been stone dead for two years now, and nobody cares. I know that other young black women are now dead after abortion at that address . . . Where is [the abortionist] now? Has he been stopped? Has anything happened to him because of what he did to my Belinda? Has he served jail time for any of these cruel deaths? People tell me nothing has happened, that nothing ever happens to white abortionists who leave young black women dead.”

-- Mattie Byrd, Letter to Ira Reiner, Los Angeles District Attorney, around 1989

(therefore referring to a legal abortion, performed by Stephen Pine)

 

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Belinda Byrd