Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
As a lifelong supporter of the Komen foundation, I was heart broken to find that they were no longer going to support Planned Parenthood. Then, after the backlash, when (seemingly) every media outlet told us that the Komen foundation had reversed it’s decision, I couldn’t help but to be skeptical. I’ve been through this before. Not done my homework and gone along thinking that I was supporting a good cause. I’ve been burned a number of times. I have no one to blame but myself. Because of my past, I make an effort to pay closer attention to what is being said vs. what is being done. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when talking about corporations.
Some of you may be wondering why I am talking about the Komen/Planned Parenthood situation on a blog about racism and race relations. It’s because of the affects the money has and more specifically, who is affected.
What I found was that 170,000 women would be affected by the defunding by the Koman Foundation. That number may not even sound that big to some of you. The problem is that the 170,000 women affected are LOW INCOME WOMAN. Under this umbrella of “Low income women” over 80% are women of color. That matters.
The irritating fact that I still wonder if people are aware of is that any money that came from Susan G. Koman was ear marked for breast cancer related treatments. Be it mammograms, early detection procedures and even help for actual cancer patients. So even more specifically, the people affected would be 170,000 low income women looking for breast cancer related treatments.
Because of this, no matter what their PR Department says, I can not believe that the decision to end funding wasn’t a political one. This is a big problem for me. Yes, politics will often play a role but when we are talking about breast cancer, something that affects women (and men) no matter their race, and you decide to do something that will have the opposite affect of what your foundation is claiming it’s there for, having the biggest affect on a very specific group, I can not support it.
After the reports of the Komen Foundation reversing their decision, I couldn’t help but hold back on my relief. My heart was broken. I haven’t just been a life long supporter. The Komen Foundation has been a part of my life. First when someone close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer but then through the charity. I was a “Walk for the Cure” girl, a financial donator, a fund-raiser and spent time volunteering at different events.
When I tell you my heart was broken, I am not joking.
Then, while everyone was rejoicing over the reversal. I had my doubts. Even if they had reversed their decision, their original claim was that they weren’t going to work with any organization that was “Under investigation” but…they didn’t pull support for Bank of America? Planned Parenthood was targeted. That makes be think that even if they reverse they original idea, they will find another way to avoid helping Planned Parenthood.
I didn’t have much time to consider this because I quickly came across an article stating that the reversal may not have actually been a reversal at all. I have to keep my distance. Until I am sure that they are doing right by ALL women, I can’t support them. None of this is to say that you shouldn’t support them. They still are doing great work in an effort to find a cure. It’s just that for me, the things that they now seem to stand for, are things I can not support.
This debacle did however cause me to look for other breast cancer support outlets and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. There are some really wonderful organizations out there. For now, I am putting all of my support behind Planned Parenthood. This will not be the last we see of them being targeted and I think over the next year, especially as it get’s closer to the election, they will be a HUGE target.
No matter how you feel about abortion, please keep in mind that abortion is less than 4% of what Planned Parenthood does. In addition, most OBGYNs also preform abortions so targeting Planned Parenthood is a target on a specific group of women for things OTHER than abortion.