Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

A  series of billboards in Georgia are linking abortion with supposed “efforts” by various groups to reduce or limit the size of the black population. The ads first surfaced at the beginning of February, in time for Black History Month and have gradually been reported in the mainstream press. The most recent story appeared on March 1st in the Los Angeles Times.

The billboards are the brainchild of Ryan Bomberger, founder of Georgia-based group “Radiance.” Bomberger, who is adopted, claims to be the son of a white woman raped by a black man.  He believes data that shows a much higher percentage of black women seeking abortions, as well as the number of Planned Parenthood offices in urban areas, is “evidence” of racial targeting, a claim several minority women’s groups denounce as offensive, condescending, and dangerous nonsense.  They concede the high number of abortions among black women in Georgia, but point to other socio-economic factors, such as limited access to birth control and family planning information as well as inadequate insurance coverage.

But the anti-choice forces are jumping on the bandwagon. The Georgia Right to Life organization has partnered with Radiance on the eighty or so ads, which will be displayed at least through March.  Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., experienced a religious conversion after two abortions and now sits on the board of Georgia’s Right to Life organization. She claims to know absolutely that abortionists are targeting the black community for ethnic cleansing.

As a staunchly pro-choice supporter, I am nevertheless deeply sympathetic to those who are deeply distressed by abortion. In truth, all of us are; as one  advocate put it: “Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion.” No one I have ever met, including those who’ve had abortions, has ever been the least bit cavalier about the procedure, which is why I hope that a measure of common ground can someday be found — say, in efforts to expand information about birth control and family planning.

But I’m also deeply offended by  deliberately provocative and highly misleading advertising that attempts to shame and terrorize women who need and deserve support in making decisions about their reproductive health.  Moreover, I’m infuriated by yet another attempt to use words to drive people further apart on one issue  – abortion – by raising a red flag about another – racism.  I’m afraid – truly afraid – we haven’t seen the end of these billboards.

Read Full Post »

The lead article in my morning newspaper was about how gas prices are causing riders to use mass transit. That’s not much of a surprise; neither was the comment by one rider that he was willing “give up his independence” in order to save money. We sure do love our cars out here in the wilds of the U.S. of A.

I think a lot about independence; I’ve got long-term care insurance, pretty decent health insurance (comparatively speaking) and a stake in keeping myself as healthy as possible so as to ward off whatever infirmities might assail me in my so-called golden years. My mom was a big believer in mind over body; she espoused a positive attitude. In truth she hated to exercise, like so many women in her generation. Exercise would have helped her keep moving despite arthritis just as physical therapy would have helped her after her first stroke. Instead, she became more and more sedentary until at last she became completely immobile, which no doubt contributed to her second stroke. She was a stubborn woman who ended up losing the very independence she craved.

Americans are also stubborn about their independence but selectively so. For example, no one among the general populace seems inclined to question whether we have sacrificed some of our independence for good when it comes to government involvement in our lives. Take our domestic surveillance programs. Sure, we’re being X-rayed to within an inch of our lives at airports; okay, someone wants to know what library books we’re reading; yes, that may be a camera trained on me at Grand Central Station and possibly someone we know has experienced being profiled but liberty requires the abrogation of certain freedoms, right?

In the meantime, our idea of freedom is all about driving – solo, if possible. It gives us a sense of power that is likely missing from other parts of our lives. Never mind that we’re mostly stuck in traffic and wholly dependent on fuel imported from countries that have us (pardon the pun) over a barrel. Years of successful marketing have convinced us that we’re in control behind the wheel of a car that really zooms. By we I mean guys and gals. I confess to being drawn at times to the charms of a fast car. Just look at Kate Walsh in the sexy new Cadillac ad; she pulls up next to a car at a stoplight with two admiring men, then peels out just as the light changes. Who wouldn’t want to be her? I mean, who cares how much fuel it wastes to accelerate like that if we can leave the guys in the dust, right?

Read Full Post »