There are too many brown/black babies.

A mere 10 days after the traumatic Ted X Rotterdam experience, and against my better judgement, I decided to go to a UN event for the release of some new population report. The fact that it was a UN event and that it was hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs were two CLEAR warning sings that I somehow decided to ignore.

Basically the conference was talking about how the 7th billion person will be born on Monday, and how crazy/scary/amazing that is. The main point throughout the presentations was that the earth is suffering and can no longer sustain the human population at the rate that it is currently growing. The solution to this is that women in “developing countries” need to stop having so many babies.

Now we’ve all heard this before. Brown and black women love to have a million kids even though they know they can’t afford to. Why can’t they just be rational and realize having 2.3 kids is the right thing to do? Why do they insist on burdening the poor planet with their flock of children? When will they learn?

Yet at the same time, it is a widely acknowledged fact that people in industrialized countries use much more of the planet’s resources because of their lifestyles. Moreover, multinationals that are predominantly western in origin, are some of the main culprits when it comes to pillaging the earth.

So how and when did the burden fall on brown and black women?

One presenter pointed out that a Dutch kid has a footprint that is 3-5 times more than a kid in a developing country (he didn’t specify which country since they are all the same). So isn’t the solution for Dutch kids to consume/waste less, and not for there to be less children in developing countries?

While this seems logical, it is clearly not the solution envisioned by development experts. At the end of the day, Europeans and Americans want to be able to live their current lifestyles and not change anything. So the easiest solution is for them to (yet again) turn to the “developing world” and pin the problems on them.

Another issue brought up was the disturbingly low birth rates in white western countries. This is worrying to white European leaders because they are concerned about there not being enough white Europeans in the future. Their main argument is that there need to be enough young people to work and support the older people. If this is really the case, then why not open the borders and let people from other parts of the world come and work here? If it’s *just* about labour, then why do you care whether they are Dutch, Moroccan, or Surinamese? It should be okay. But it’s not. And why? Because (I believe) there is still the issue of race.

Europeans want their own race to continue. They are worried about their own declining birth rates and also concerned about how high the birth rates of “immigrant” groups are. And so they try to encourage their own citizens to have more babies, while telling people in developed countries to have less. (Uhm, I thought the planet was in trouble?) Simultaneously they tell immigrant groups in their own countries to also have less. So basically their stance is: more white babies = good; more brown/yellow/black babies = bad (for the “planet”).

One presenter actually said: “God forbid Africans would ever want to eat the way we do here in Holland.”

Yes. God forbid.

At this point I have given up expecting any chance of reform from within these circles (including the development circle, the Dutch circle, and the wider European circle). Change will probably come from the marginalized, and until then, let the privileged continue to live in this bubbles they’ve blown up for themselves.


2 thoughts on “There are too many brown/black babies.

  1. Omar

    Great piece, Sarah. Really outlines the problematic way in which the powers of the world think. While trying not to voice out an opposition towards any one “developed nation” in particular, I keep reading horrifying statistics about consumption, hazardous waste, environmental deterioration, etc from “developed” countries and it really makes me wonder. Good job!

  2. Tina

    This is good Sara, yeah I remember leaving from that event asking myself Why do they always have to blame on African women’s fertility (to be precise)?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s