MSNBC Panel Suggests Racist Motivation by Pro-lifers, Goal of ‘Reproducing Whiteness’

Brad Wilmouth, Media Research Center, June 17, 2013

On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, substitute anchor Ari Melber hosted a panel of liberals fretting over Republican efforts to restrict abortion, with one guest even theorizing that Republicans are motivated by a racist desire to prevent white women from having abortions as a way of “reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege.”

Melber seemed quite accepting of University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor Salamisha Tillet’s preposterous idea of pro-lifers being motivated by racism as he responded:

And you’re talking not only then about a potentially religious view about life, you’re talking about social control. I mean, that goes to some of these programs that are different than just necessarily a position that people disagree with. They also say, no, we need to go into the doctor’s room, we need to tell women under threat of, as I mentioned, criminalization of their doctor’s conduct or as a prerequisite to doing anything, how they should analyze their medical care, whether to have an ultrasound. Do you think that is a piece of it, too, the social control, Raul?

Without noting that a disproportionately large percentage of women who have abortions are minorities, Assistant Professor Tillet theorized that Republicans are in a “panic” because of the growing number of minorities and characterized “women of color” as being “caught in the fray” when Republicans try to restrict abortion. Tillet:

Well, I think, the Census just released data, so part of it is the changing racial demographics in the United States. For the first time in American history, children born under the age of five are racial, the majority of them are racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.

So I think that there’s a kind of moral panic, a fear of the end of whiteness that we’ve been seeing a long time in that I think, you know, Obama’s ascension as President kind of symbolizes to a certain degree. And so I think this is one response to that sense that there’s a decreasing white majority in the country and that women’s bodies and white women’s bodies in particular are obviously a crucial way of reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege. And so I think it’s just a kind of clamping down on women’s bodies, in particular white women’s bodies, even though women of color are really caught in the fray.

As the group discussed the issue, there notably was an image of a giant uterus with the GOP elephant symbol inside it displayed on screen behind them.

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