“Bigotry is a Close Cousin of Prudence:” the Overlapping Racial Ramifications of Prohibition and Abortion Restrictions

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Read New York Times opinion columnist Charles M. Blow’s comparison of the racial manifestations of both abortion and prohibition in the U.S in his piece, “Abortion, Like Prohibition, Has a Clear Racial Dimension,” (July 3, 2022).

Read excerpts from Blow’s piece below:

Frum was writing about the interconnectedness of restrictive impulses — and how one can be a gateway for others. Restrictions, he seemed to imply, can be complicated. Bigotry is a close cousin of prudence.

Prohibition, in particular, had a complicated racial history. Enslavers used alcohol for years as a weapon to subdue the enslaved in this country.

Many of the people who crusaded for abolishing slavery later embraced the temperance movement and lobbied for Prohibition, with many Black people supporting restrictions on alcohol because it had long been used to keep them in bondage.

Now abortion is being restricted in much the same way alcohol once was. There are many reasons for what’s happening; some of the most fervent proponents of the abortion bans can claim religious objections, and others are merely angling for a political advantage or catering to the basest instincts of the American electorate, hoping to force more white women to have children in order to prevent white people from losing their majority status. The reasons for Prohibition were just as numerous and complicated, a mess of interlocking moral and political allegiances.”

Read the complete article here.


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