So, I learned some stuff today!
I posted a picture of Margaret Sanger who, honestly, I just thought was some nice turn-of-the-century lady wearing a hat saying “here, kiddo, have a condom, on me” because, I don’t know, because we only got one typewriter in this joint and after 2 billion years they still won’t let us have an encyclopedia to look up facts. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, if you believe in ignorance equating to happiness) Cassieleigh pointed out that Sanger was a raging asshole. No, seriously:
“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.
On the extermination of blacks:
“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon
“Eugenics is … the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.
Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5.
It’s a shame to realize that Planned Parenthood originated that way, especially since we’re living in an era where it’s the most afforable option for many Americans. And so I decided, no more birth control! No, not really, of course not. I’m not a Jay McInerney character.
But it is going to make me look at Planned Parenthood in a different way, in much the same way that it always bothers me that Gandhi beat his wife. Or that Hitler was a vegetarian who was incredibly kind to animals. It’s annoying when people’s every attribute does not match their overall persona!
Ultimately, will this make you think differently about stepping into a Planned Parenthood clinic? I doubt it, but would it make you think differently about saying that Sanger was a hero of the reproductive rights movement? She still was, she just really wanted to wipe out black people because she was apparently a crazy racist asshole. Would you still include her in the pantheon of “women to look up to?”
What I’m saying is: if someone does a good thing for evil reasons, are they still a good person?
Go! Comment! People have earned degrees in Philosophy for less!