I have been very busy at TAPPED, so please, come visit me there! In other news, I have two new columns out. The first, at the Prospect, introduces American readers to a debate over Afrocentric public schools taking place in Toronto:
Across our northern border, a battle is raging over race and education. The Toronto District School Board has approved a plan to create an Afrocentric high school for black students, set to open in 2009. Many black community activists overcame initial reservations about racial separation to support the idea; in Canada as in the United States, there is an intractably high drop-out rate among black students, although up north, the majority of blacks are descendents of Caribbean immigrants, not slaves. In Toronto, 40 percent of black Caribbean youth never graduate high school. Parents and advocates rightly argue that radical action is needed.
But the Toronto school board’s split 11-9 decision in late January to move forward with the plan reflects what has become an increasingly divisive political fight.
And over at RH Reality Check, I outline how the anti-choice right is planning on attacking Barack Obama for his opposition to the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act." A lot has been said about Obama’s "present" votes on choice, but much less attention has been paid to his history of taking a strong stance for reproductive health, a history that social conservatives can’t wait to exploit.
The anti-choice anti-Obama strategy is based on Obama’s clear "no" votes on the "Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act," or BAIPA. Leading anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek, who testified in the Illinois state Senate on behalf of the bill, has played a key role in disseminating this anti-Obama argument in the right-wing blogosphere. Taking the bait, former presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback, in a fundraising email to supporters of his political action committee last month, excoriated Obama for opposing BAIPA. And in a Feb. 26 editorial, the National Catholic Register fumed, "Obama wouldn’t even protect children born alive by mistake during abortion attempts."
But BAIPA isn’t really about protecting infants; it is anti-abortion rights legislation crafted by the hard right. … [T]he idea that otherwise viable babies are regularly "born alive" during abortions is an invention of the anti-choice movement.