When examining Fields' article "Children having children: Race, innocence, and sexuality education" I think that it is important to look upon it from a broad view and not to get too caught up in the specific examples of her work within Southern County, North Carolina. The main purpose of this experiment was for Fields' to examine the links between abstinence-only sexual education and stereotypes of race, gender, and sexuality. She did so through examining school board meetings about the topic of sexual education within a heavily African-American dominated school system. One of the first things that she realized was that the school board was not an accurate representation of the population of students; it was heavily dominated by white women who, with very few exceptions, preached abstinence-only sex education. Their beliefs were that "abstinence from sexual intercourse until marriage is the only certain means of avoiding out-of-wedlock pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and any other health and emotional problems associated with sexual intercourse" (550, Fields) Fields later describes that abstinence-only education comes from the idea of childhood (children under the age of 18) sexual innocence. This assumption is played up by the racial and gender stereotypes that are reinforced by societal norms and practices. She goes on to describe the role that race plays within the idea of sexual education stating that many African-American girls are viewed as "hypersexual" and that they practice a type of "bad-girl" sexuality. To combat the use of stereotypes when thinking about childhood sexual innocence the phrase "children having children" was developed. This phrase is sex, gender, and sexuality free, meaning that one cannot determine the type of child who is pregnant or who has children from the phrase; this is how they prevent stereotypes from influencing one's point of view. This phrase promotes the idea of an individual explanation to each child pregnancy because none of them are for the same reasons. This is an effective method of combatting the problems within the sexual education system because it takes pre-judgments and societal ideas and norms out of the equation.
1) Why is abstinence-only education still the major form of sex education within our country when it has been proven to be less effective than other methods?
2) How can we further remove stereotypes about race and sexuality from influencing our decisions about sex-education?
3) Looking back upon your sex education, was it heavily influenced by the type of town you grew up in? Stereotypes about your school? Other outside sources?