Response to PassingFair (Reply #8)
Mon Apr 9, 2012, 11:41 PM
iverglas (38,549 posts)
9. wiki is a handy reference for many things
Last edited Mon Apr 9, 2012, 11:52 PM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
That doesn't make it gospel for all things, even on a single subject.
Your post about Sanger was negative, and wholly improperly vague and unsourced:
Unfortunately, she was also into eugenics and some
of the "master race" shit in the 30's
I would suggest that if you want to defend that claim, you be the one to provide citations (primary sources) to substantiate it.
This passage from the wiki article:
Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.
is simply not meaningful. What goals? The goal of women having autonomy?
I couldn't make head nor tails of this bit of what you quoted from the wiki:
In contrast with eugenicists who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding."
until I went to look at the original -- and saw that the DU system had eliminated the text in square brackets in the original, which I include below, replacing the square bracket with pointy ones (and boldfacing for emphasis):
In contrast with eugenicists who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we <do not> believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding." Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.
I assume that the sentence originally read something like "nor do we believe ...". This is rather important; the way the text appears in your post, it has Sanger believing in killing "defective progeny".
Sanger's interest in eugenics predated the Nazi era by some considerable time, and she had dissociated herself from those who pursued the issue well before Hitler took up his own version. The concept at the time she wrote about it had no more to do with Nazi "eugenics" than prenatal testing for congenital disorders today does. "Dysgenic breeding" is precisely what genetic screening of potential parents, for instance, is meant to avoid -- and it is individuals practising it for themselves, just as Sanger dreamed of happening.
She lived to 1966. Her thoughts about improving the quality of life for individuals and communities circa 1920 are hardly what she or her life's work should be judged by.
I don't think anyone today has the least clue what it was like 100 years ago to live with severe epilipsy, or any number of genetic disorders, or other conditions believed to be inherited.
And I am quite sure that you know that when she used concepts like "race" and "racial betterment", she was referring to the HUMAN race, not to the constructs of race that racists operate by.
Sanger was among the MOST enlightened of her age -- she did, as that passage states, seek to empower individuals to control their own reproduction. Most western governments, on the other hand, applied policies of involuntary sterilization to various population groups, in particular individuals with intellectual disabilities. Perhaps you are familiar with the famous decision of the great and good Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Buck v. Bell, under a forced sterilization statute similar to those in many US states, some of which have only been repealed in very recent years.
So again, please provide the substantiation for your statement:
... she was involved in the "eugenics" politics of the time.
The eugenics policies of the time were applied by governments all over the world, and Sanger's influence on those governments and their policies was pretty much nil.
She was indeed a person of her times, largely in that she did not have access to the science we have access to today, to understand some of the problems she was seeking to solve, let alone access to the solutions available to us today in the form of both treatments and social supports, for example.
To pick on Margaret Sanger, of all the people available to target for anti-human social policies advocated and applied 70 or 80 years ago, always just strikes me as rather bizarre.
I should probably apologize or something for my vehemence on this issue. As Violet Crumble intimated, some of us have long experience with the vilifying of Sanger. It makes me absolutely crazy to see feminists saying Well, she did good work on that birth control stuff, but yeah, she had a bunch of nasty ideas and so we'll just add a big "but" to everything that's said about her. It does no one any good. Letting the misogynist right wing get away with lies does no one any good. Pandering to the misogynist right wing out of ignorance does no one any good.
The misogynist right wing hated and hates Sanger because she rejected every link in the patriarchal chain around women's necks. She stood for everything we stand for: women free to express their own sexuality as they choose, and control their reproductive functions as they choose. She issued the most fundamental challenge to patriarchy and women in the US especially owe her a great debt. She should be held up with pride as a woman who helped to change her times (while still being a woman of her times, as are we all), not grudgingly acknowledged for some little good she did.
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wiki is a handy reference for many things
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