In a piece for Salon, Scott Eric Kaufman railed against Sarah Palin for suggesting Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a racist proponent of eugenics, saying:
“…she selectively quotes from Sanger’s voluminous body of work the same three half-sentences that every pro-life advocate uses to back up the claim that ‘[s]he was a white supremacist in her beliefs.'”
Later, Kaufman once again defended Sanger in a piece about Ben Carson:
“Carson replied that he would encourage people to read about Margaret Sanger and the beginnings of Planned Parenthood—a bold strategy, given that if they actually did that, they’d learn that his accusations against her and it were baseless.”
Baseless? Not completely.
It appears to me—and I could be incorrect—that Kaufman is an admirer of Margaret Sanger. I’d like to ask Kaufman what he thinks about Margaret Sanger speaking to a gathering of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926.
In her auto-biography, Sanger writes:
“Always to me any aroused group was a good group, and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey…[I was] summoned at last and entered a bright corridor filled with wraps. As someone came out of the hall I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…
I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when we were finally through it was too late to return to New York.”
Sanger accepted an invitation to an organization specifically dedicated to creating a master race, and gave a speech that was allegedly so much of a hit that she stayed for hours afterword.
No man can fully know the machinations of another’s mind, but one has to wonder if Sanger didn’t share some of the Klan’s belief system. Why else would she so readily accept such an invitation, and stay so long in their company? Or maybe she was simply an admirer of the general idea of eugenics—just not of black people?
In an essay titled “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” published in 1919, Sanger writes:
“Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit…
While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit.”
So, perhaps Margaret Sanger wasn’t a racist. She speaks fondly of blacks in several of her other essays, which can be read online. One must question, however, Sanger speaking before a group of people who despised and lynched blacks. One must question why she was so robustly accepted by these people after her speech. One must lastly question the fact that she received multiple invitations to speak at other Klan events.
There is no question, however, that Margaret Sanger was an ardent supporter and proponent of eugenics. Margaret Sanger desired a world in which the “feeble-minded,” and the “unfit” (otherwise known as the mentally disabled, mentally ill, and physically handicapped) were systematically sterilized and thus eradicated.
These are things that supporters of Sanger need to know. Scott Eric Kaufman may be a rabid supporter of abortion, but I’d like to hear his answers to my questions. I’d like to hear him speak to the Klan invitation, and subsequent well-received speech by Sanger. I’d like to see him defend her more obviously delineated position on the eradication and devaluation of the unfit–some might call them humans.
Mock Palin and mock Carson, but answer these questions, please.