Bezos Up in Space

This post was inspired by the above poem by Gil Scott-Herron, “Whitey’s on the Moon

It is hard to get excited about privatized space travel with the current state of wealth inequality in the United States. When the middle class eats everybody eats. When the wealthy eats it seems like everybody starves. The richest families in the U.S. have experienced greater gains in wealth than other families in recent decades, a trend that reinforces the growing concentration of financial resources at the top.

The poor are getting poorer while the rich is getting richer. According to Forbes, U.S. billionaires have gotten about $1.2 trillion richer during the pandemic. This truth is even more insidious when you look into what demographics are facing the harshest impacts.

In 1994, a group of Black women came together to create the Reproductive Justice framework. Repro Justice combines the principles of reproductive rights and social justice. At the time Black women felt they were being left out of the conversation and that a lot of their needs weren’t being discussed. Unfortunately, many of their previous concerns are still valid today. Progress is being made but it is slow coming.

RJ acknowledges the ways in which intersecting factors, such as race and social class, limit the freedom of marginalized women to make informed choices about pregnancy by imposing oppressive circumstances or restricting access to services, including but not limited to abortion, Plan B pills, and affordable care and education. RJ focuses on practical access to abortion rather than abortion rights, asserting that the legal right to abortion is meaningless for women who cannot access it due to the cost, the distance to the nearest provider, or other such obstacles.

While a lot of progress has been made there is still a lot of work to do. Recently reproductive rights orgs have been called out for the same forms of racism experienced in their work places as experienced in others throughout the country. (Weird don’t you think for social justice organizations…? Well not if you’re Black or have been paying attention)

“I do think it’s worse in reproductive rights, because it is insidious. The movement prides itself on working on issues affecting the most marginalized in society — women, trans and nonbinary folks, and people of color,” one woman who used to work at a major public relations firm that works with reproductive rights organizations told Buzzfeed News. “And yet, in their own workplaces, they don’t value those people.”

(2020) Buzz feed New Article

In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women. Black women’s unintended pregnancy rates are the highest of all. These higher unintended pregnancy rates reflect the particular difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively over long periods of time. Moreover, these realities must be seen in a larger context in which significant racial and ethnic disparities persist for a wide range of health outcomes, from diabetes to heart disease to breast and cervical cancer to sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

When it comes to access for reproductive care Black people are being left behind. The United States is a country built on the backs of Black people, and benefits daily from our intellectual genius, cultural influence and economic power, yet neither the promises of the founders nor the promise of reproductive autonomy enshrined in Roe v. Wade included us.

Black women live in states considered hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights. We are less likely to have health insurance, and more likely to be denied coverage for abortion when we do. Black women also often struggleto afford the birth control that best meets our needs.

To make matters worse, Black women in the U.S. are dying in childbirth and from pregnancy-relatedcomplications at many times the rate of white women. An epidemic that has been long acknowledged by Black people and recently covered in mainstream news.

Racism is a fundamental determinant of health status because it contributes to social inequalities (e.g., poverty) that shape health behaviors, access to healthcare, and interactions with medical professionals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African American women experience a high burden of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

African American women also report experiences of racial discrimination when seeking family planning services, and are more likely than white women to be advised to restrict childbearing. Likewise, black women of low socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely than white women of low SES to be recommended by their healthcare provider for intrauterine contraception.

Black women have a history and current prevalence of sexual violence, experimentation, and healthcare disenfranchisement. This supports the intergenerational transmission of poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes among African American women in the United States.

There are so many RJ issues that plague Black communities and yet so few resources dedicated to our communities. The CDC reports that African American women experience a high burden of STIs and were also two to three times as likely as white women to have pelvic inflammatory disease. Black infants are more likely to be born prematurely and have lower birth weights. Black women also have increased risk for pregnancy-related hypertension and chronic hypertension.

These are just a few issues that the Black community has to survive. Meanwhile I’m supposed to be thrilled that Jeff Bezos didn’t even make it to the moon. 

We’re all down here struggling to survive, to pay bills, to manage out health and Bezos is in orbit. Recently, a 23 year old Amazon worker named Patty Hernandez pled with her managers to give her a break, which was denied, and she ended up having a miscarriage. 

According to her interview with Vice, in the weeks before her miscarriage, Hernandez pled “repeatedly with her manager and the warehouse’s human resources for lighter duty, and submitted a doctor’s note to Amazon’s human resources requesting pregnancy accommodations.” The note from Hernandez’s doctor requested that she do “no lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying more than 20 pounds, and no walking or standing for more than 50 percent of her shift.”

“Heavy lifting, standing for long periods of time, or bending a lot during pregnancy could increase your chances of miscarriage, preterm birth, or injury during pregnancy.”

-Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Her manager wasn’t very accommodating either. He frequently questioned her extended bathroom breaks, general breaks, and slower movements. Jeff Bezos has enough wealth to get himself into orbit but can’t create a policy to ensure his employees don’t take on undue stress and labour to go into miscarriage. A billionaires wealth is stolen. He can amass so from because he takes directly from the labor of his employees. Patty Hernandez worked her body to the ground because Bezos wanted to go to space.

Black people dying giving birth but Bezos up in space

A pregnant lady can’t get a break but Bezos up in space

HIV is rising again but Bezos up in space

Her rape won’t even get the police to open a case but Bezos up in space

Fibroids sure are getting large but Bezos up in space

Health insurance is bigger than I can charge but Bezos up in space

Racism never went away but Bezos up in space

Hypertension is on my case but Bezos up in space

They’re arguing about Roe v Wade again but Bezos up in Space

Ignored by those who pretend to care but Bezos up in Space

I pay my taxes and they still do me wrong but Bezos up in Space

He was up there for 11 minutes, that boy, Bezos was up in Space

Every 11 seconds a woman dies while giving birth but hey Bezos went to space…….

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