Denene Millner sketches out the lines of a blueprint for a new and better American Dream, born of the persistence of racism, and need for success to mean more than wealth. It’s a beautiful sketch. But she ends suggesting some form of voluntary economic segregation. “Segregation made the black community self-reliant.” Is there an alternative?
Perhaps it lies in her focus on children, and the family. Could racism begin at home? Could home begin with family planning? Martin Luther King recognized the dangers of poor family planning and the growth of our population. What if we couple the solution, smaller families, to a public family planning ethic that treated the decision to bring every child into the world as an act of deliberate inclusivity, with everything that means for economic positioning, racial equality, and equity of opportunities in life.
Racism persists in part because we tolerate a cavemanish family planning model that treats the act of parents creating and raising children as somehow personal and private, as if it did not create the social world we all share. Doesn’t that treat future children, and the nonhuman world we colonize, as if they were our property, and ours alone to control? Rather than resegregate as Millner might be suggesting, shall we go to the source of our deepest social insufficiencies? Racists don’t fall from the sky – they are born and raised in the shadows and illusion of isolation. We “come together” as future generations enter. Do we want to come together in the way Dr. King envisioned? Better family planning is the key.