Intersectionality Matters Podcast Exposes Attacks on Black Motherhood

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Nov 15, 2019

African American Policy Forum kicked off season two of its podcast, “Intersectionality Matters,” on Wednesday (November 13) with an episode titled “What Slavery Engendered: An Intersectional Look at 1619.” Host Kimberlé Crenshaw—professor at Columbia Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles—walked through history with guest Dorothy Roberts, a professor and scholar in race, gender, bioethics and the law at the University of Pennsylvania. Per the episode description, they sought to “shed light on the lasting consequences of slavery, segregation and White supremacy and their impact on Black women specifically.”

“It wasn’t the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution nor the Stars and Stripes that gave birth to America; it was the Black vagina that laid the golden egg or rather the chattel slave,” Crenshaw said in the show’s introduction. “The property mortgaged to build America, slaves, was $12 billion dollars worth, [which] speaks on how Black vaginas have been appropriated, syndicated, capitalized but never vindicated.”

In highlighting the systemic erasure of Black motherhood and the creation and maintenance of the Black welfare queen trope, Roberts explains the long-reaching implications of these ideas. “It’s not just that Black women’s enslavement and forced reproduction paint Black women as the scapegoat towards the social problems,” said Roberts, “but it also laid the foundation for a whole future, including eugenics of government policies aimed at controlling the reproduction of people, including forced sterilization. It just seems natural that the government should be able to regulate the childbearing of Black women because Black women are dangerous reproducers.”

Listen to the full episode: