The Spectacle Blog

WaPo Glosses Over Racial Eugenicism

By on 11.2.11 | 10:46AM

In a "fact check" of Herman Cain's statement that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, aimed at "preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born," the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler described Sanger as a "racial pioneer" for her time. 

Of course, Kessler is egregiously wrong. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway explains the truth, which is that Sanger was an unapologetic racial eugenicist with truly dark views about minorities. 

The Washington Post's fact check isn't working. Kessler's shameful piece will lead readers much further from the truth than Cain's claims. 

Update: Glenn Kessler has commented:

I provided a comment to MZ Hemingway's article but this is how Sanger's biographer described her racial views for Salon today: "She actually held unusually advanced views on race relations for her day and on many occasions condemned discrimination and encouraged reconciliation between blacks and whites. Though most birth control facilities conformed to the segregation mores of the day, she opened an integrated clinic in Harlem in the early 1930s. Later, she facilitated birth control and maternal health programs for rural black women in the South, when local white health officials there denied them access to any New Deal-funded services." 

The biographer Kessler references, as another commenter points out, is a Planned Parenthood board member, so she's hardly an unbiased referee. But there's really no way to get around the fact that Sanger, in her own words, supported eugenics "as … the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems." 

I'm sorry, that's racist and abhorrent no matter what time period you live in. Luckily such views are no longer reputable today. 

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article