A recent letter in the Modesto Bee (published on February 15th on page 11A) spoke to the lingering anger and prejudice so many people still have towards the 'wrong kind of people' having children.
What is so dangerous about their line of thinking is that is always sounds good. Couched in language that seems to promote safe environments for children it always boils down to someone - usually the class of person to which the letter writer belongs - making arbitrary rules as to who may or may not have children. They come up with 'standards'. The standards usually are vague and are described as a woman (never a man) being psychologically and economically 'able' to have children.
The recent letter writer was a white man from Turlock, California. He was outraged by the conditions children were found living in recently by authorities in the city of Ceres, California. The apartment was overcrowded, filthy, without running water and full of cockroaches. The children were removed from the home and are now in safer places. The community responded in the manner I am so accustomed to in the Central Valley - with incredible generosity of spirit and goods.
The man was outraged and accused 'Christians with their crosses' of promoting the type of irresponsible child bearing that is the reason these kids were living where they were living. He singled out the women (as always) and stated that someone (he never says who) needs to impose standards on women to determine whether or not they are fit to reproduce.
No mention was made of the men and their responsibility to be good fathers. There was no mention of substance abuse, or economic hardships or of the myriad of other social ills, including the absence of true family structures, that lead to this type of horrible situation. Rather, the only solution this man could come up with was to have an arbitrary group of people decide who gets to have a baby and who does not.
I don't care how you try to slice this, it is a blatant attempt to limit reproduction to the 'right kind of people'. Whether you are Margaret Sanger or Adolf Hitler or the Chinese Government, you make the decision that only certain people in certain types of situations should be allowed to reproduce.
I am so sad for this man, and for all the people who think this way. It is shortsighted and shows a marked lack of imagination and social awareness.
And I am so glad that this writer - the product of immigrants and a member of the wrong religion - does not live in a country that makes his type of thinking the law.
At least - not yet.