Monica Potts

Monica Potts is a freelance writer, and former staff member of The American Prospect. A fellow with the New America Foundation Asset Building Program, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. She also blogs at PostBourgie.

Recent Articles

Why Are We Still Surprised By Women Suicide Bombers?

Part of The New York Times' second-day coverage of the Moscow subway bombings was a story dissecting a renewed fear of female suicide bombers. Known as Black Widows, the Chechen separatists have been deploying women as suicide bombers since 2000. Though that's when female suicide bombers began in earnest in Russia, a Palestinian girl led a suicide attack as long ago as 1985, which the Times calls the first such attack. So if it's been going on for so long, why is it news? Perhaps it goes against the image Americans have of suicide bombers, who in our experiences are mostly young and male. But even those of us in the U.S. should by now understand the stereotype of bombers doesn't always hold, since we have the example of a Belgian woman who staged a suicide attack in Iraq in 2005 and more recently, Jihad Jane . It's not to cheerlead women and say, "We can bomb, too!" but to note the inherent sexist tone in many of these stories in the way the women are assumed to have special...

Incentivizing Adoption

Black children in the United States face longer stays in foster care than white children. Is money the way to change this?

Eight-year-old Latifah Root smiles while eating her hot dog lunch during the National Adoption Day party Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Grand Island Independent, Lane Hickenbottom)
After the January earthquake in Haiti, 10 American missionaries, all white, were jailed after attempting to take 33 Haitian children to the United States for adoption. "The American mind has been shaped by the positive vision of families saving bereft orphans from a grim life in a Dickens-esque institution or from death on the streets," David Smolin, an Alabama law school professor who has studied adoption, wrote in The New York Times . As shocking as the allegations were, the appeal of international adoption is real -- according to the Child Welfare League of America, international adoptions increased by 180 percent between 1989 and 2005. The politics of domestic adoption are more complex. About half a million children are in the U.S. foster-care system, and a disproportionate number of them are African American. Despite rising rates of American adoption, even interracial adoption, why do so many black children need homes? At the heart of the problem is the racial gap between...

Forcing Nonsense.

The Kansas House is considering passing a resolution that would require that state's attorney general, Steve Six , to join the 13 states that have filed lawsuits over the new health-care reform bill. Apparently, either chamber of Kansas' Congress can force the AG to take action, and the resolution doesn't need to pass in the second chamber. There was similar pressure from Republican lawmakers in Ohio to join the suit, and Ohio's attorney general, Richard Cordray explained why he wouldn't do it: It's unlikely to succeed . So forcing them to take up the issue would violate another rule that attorneys general follow, and that's not wasting the state's money either defending or pursuing lawsuits they can't win. But if Kansas wants to spend money it doesn't have, so be it. -- Monica Potts

The Tea Party and Government Spending.

In a New York Times story over the weekend, Tea Party folks mulled over what would happen if their volunteers started to get jobs again, since so many joined after they lost their jobs during the recession. It becomes clear that the activists were not only upset about being forced into retirement but also their inability to sell their houses or to balance part-time jobs with their new-found activist duties. But the real story is how many of the Tea Partiers the Times spoke to depended on the government, receiving Social Security and Medicare. Toward the end, one man said he was hoping to get a part-time job with the Census Bureau. There is no real difference between those programs and the health-care bill that just passed, but that doesn't stop these folks from thinking there is: She and others who receive government benefits like Medicare and Social Security said they paid into those programs, so they are getting what they deserve. “All I know is government was put here for certain...

Um, About That Rhetoric.

Bart Stupak is among the Democratic representatives who are reportedly receiving threats in the wake of the health-care bill's passage, some from anti-abortion groups he says he believes are from outside his district. Stupak says his offices have been overwhelmed by phone calls, most of them from outside his congressional district, and some of them distinctly nasty in tone. This is one of the calls: "You are ---- punk, Stupak. That's what you are. You and your family are scum. You oughta fill your pockets with lead and jump in the Potomac. Punk." Congressman Stupak says, because of the threats, he's asked for additional security around his offices in Michigan and in Washington D.C. The only surprise in the threats is that Republicans leaders are surprised, or at least feign surprise. Their violent rhetoric stirred up violence. And if Stupak is shocked that anti-abortion groups now equate his vote with baby-killing , he shouldn't be. He's the one who associated the health-care bill...