This is the most difficult paradigm shift in our conversations about the declining birthrate — but also the most essential. Why, on a planet that’s increasingly struggling to support its current population, in a world in which hundreds of thousands are fleeing instability in search of stable homes and jobs, in a society in which we ostensibly value autonomy and independence and feminist empowerment, are we positioning a declining birth rate as a “crisis”?
[T]he United States wouldn’t have a “replacement rate” problem (or burgeoning worries of “who will take care of our aging boomers”) if we welcomed more refugees and immigrants. The fear, in other words, is of our own making, and deeply rooted in narrow understandings of how a nation can and should sustain itself. We’re so wed to the principles of exponential growth — of the “right” sort of American — that we can’t even envision how fewer births might be part of the way forward.
Anne Helen Petersen on.
- Or, arguably in this specific case, the way in which racist/supremacist nationalism intersects with patriarchy and the policing of women to ensure they’re birthing the “correct” number of the “right” sorts of babies. [↩]