A feminist outpost in the desert.
There’s nothing scarier than a racist, sexist, homophobic piece of legislation!
A proposed Wisconsin law would label single parenthood as a factor of child abuse. But something tells me this law is more about vilifying single mothers than any altruistic intention to help kids. After all, a third of all parents in Wisconsin are single. Those deadbeats!
Yes, out of the countless ways that children can be neglected and abused, having only one parent in their life must top the list. Going hungry. Being beaten. Sexual abuse. The chaos of addiction. No, no, no. Those are fairy-tale fluff compared to [cue: serious music] single parenting!
Get out your pitchforks, because I think we got us an old-fashioned witch hunt!
Well, if single parenting is such serious problem — and clearly it must be if one-third of parents in Wisconsin are single (36% here in Nevada) — surely there will be parent licensing and certification as well as regular checks on homes to make sure all children are raised with two, married (happiness optional) parents. (The compulsory heterosexuality is implied, of course.)
There’s something about this that sounds familiar… Oh, that’s right, this reminds me of the raids on welfare mothers living in Las Vegas’ Westside in the 1960s. Back in the days of segregation, blacks were shunted to the “Westside,” which was quite literally the west side of the railroad tracks through downtown Las Vegas. In the shadow of the Rat Pack’s marquees, residents of the Westside (many of them in housekeeping and other service jobs on The Strip) were often living in poverty in homes on dirt-lined streets. In those years, it was commonplace for welfare raids, which happened disproportionately on the Westside, so the state could make sure that funds were really being used for children and not to furnish, what… the otherwise lavish lifestyle of a single mother? Give me a break!
But thankfully, there was a group of courageous, smart women in the Westside who fought for their rights and those of all who receive welfare. They lobbied, they organized, they marched on The Strip and shut it down! In fact, some of the mothers from the Westside would later testify before Congress for reforms to programs including welfare and WIC that helped people across the country. And they created a better life for not just their own families but families everywhere.
Not bad for a bunch of single-mothers. I’m sorry, what was that about single parenthood contributing to child abuse, again?
It’s pretty obvious this bill targets mothers, since the majority of single parents are women. Likewise, there are serious implications for women of color, since the majority of single parents are black (66%), American Indian (52%), and Latino (41%). Well, that is the stereotypically scary single mother, right? Because usually politicians don’t waste time writing laws that only oppress white women. It’s much more efficient to cast the widest oppression net possible!
Let’s face it. This is a front to further marginalize single women, who already bear an unequal burden of poverty compared to single men. (As much as three-fourths of unmarried, American women live in poverty and 60% are living without health insurance.) When you factor in the single moms and how many of them are women of color, there is no question this is about shaming women for a failure to conform to the hetero-normative paradigm. After all, it’s not the motherhood that’s being vilified, it’s the singledom. (Oh the horror!) That is the most blatant form of using marriage as a tool of patriarchal oppression that I have seen in a long time! And think of the chilling effect this could have on victims of domestic violence!
So, there you have it! A scary bill that scapegoats single mothers and pulls from nearly all the bad bags of tricks. It’s racist! It’s sexist! And considering that same-sex marriage is not legal in Wisconsin (although they do have domestic partnership), it’s a fairly homophobic bill, too. And worst of all? If it passes, it could set a dangerous precedent that other states might follow!
Clearly, this proposed law has about as much to do with protecting kids as Sesame Street has to do with cold fusion. Today’s post is sponsored by the word: Oppression!