The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
bladerunner060
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
bladerunner060
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,604 times Debate No: 28844
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

This is a quote by Margaret Sanger, commenting on the 'Negro Project' in a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, December 10, 1939:

"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." (1)

The Negro Project was founded by Margaret Sanger, under the Birth Control Federation of America in 1939. Margaret Sanger had the Birth Control Federation of America re-named to Planned Parenthood. (2)

(1) Sanger manuscripts, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts
(2) http://www.nyu.edu...
bladerunner060

Con

Thanks to my opponent for this debate. Pro makes a bold claim, unsupported by the context of the quote he uses.

While the quote in question CAN be read in the manner Pro is using it as, it can also be read as Sanger's desire to prevent the RUMOR of extermination to get out and become popular. "New York University's"Margaret Sanger Papers Project, clarifies that Sanger, in writing that letter, "recognized that elements within the black community might mistakenly associate the Negro Project with racist sterilization campaigns in the"Jim Crow"South, unless clergy and other community leaders spread the word that the Project had a humanitarian aim." [1]

Margaret Sanger was a racist, undoubtedly, as were many of her time period. However, she also worked closely with the African American community, and "would not tolerate bigotry among her staff". She was supported by many African-American leaders. Pro's own source [2] is arguing against his motion.

[1] " http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] " http://www.nyu.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

It is true that the website where I found that particular quote is opposed to my interpretation of it; however, that is merely the site's interpretation and nothing more. Also, both Con and I agree that Margaret Sanger was undoubtedly racist... why, then, would she be quoted as saying she would not tolerate bigotry among her staff? Con, please provide a source for your quote, as I'm confident that it's context will paint a different picture.

Margaret Sanger's racist history supports my interpretation of the quote, as opposed to Con's. I concede that she was supported by many African-American leaders; however, if my interpretation of the controversial quote holds true, they were all deceived by Sanger.

Here is a quote from Margaret Sanger, in the April 1932 issue of her publication, Birth Control Review, which supports the fact that Margaret Sanger wanted to use force to exterminate races of people she thought were unfit:

"Give dysgenic groups [people with 'bad genes'] in our population
their choice of segregation or [compulsory] sterilization."
bladerunner060

Con

The source for the "would not tolerate bigotry" is my source [1], which itself is sourced.

The sterilization Sanger recommended was not for the races she felt were inferior, but rather sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the "undeniably feeble-minded" from procreating. [1] While she considered other races inferior, there are no indications, and my opponent has given no evidence to establish, that she thought those other races were inherently "dysgenic".

Sanger believed in eugenics. However, it is my contention that she was applying those principles to each race, rather than to the human race as a whole; there are no indications except for one interpretation of a single quote that she intended to wipe out races she considered generally inferior.

My opponent's case requires that "African-American leaders... were all deceived by Sanger." This includes W.E.B. DuBois and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. James H. Hubert specifically requested her to create a clinic in Harlem. Sanger believed "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." [1]

Margaret Sanger had no problems advocating for the forced sterilization of those she found to be completely unfit. This is a woman who called, in her book The Pivot of Civilization, "the blind, deaf, and mute... feeble-minded and epileptic", that, "our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste." [2] She had no problems offering her opinion generally, and no problems advocating forced sterilization. If she thought African-Americans were unfit enough to be exterminated, there are no indications she wouldn't have just said so, and advocated for their sterilization, rather than playing the more subtle and ineffective game of letting the community decide for itself when to have children.

Planned Parenthood was never intended to be a compulsory system (and still is not), nor has it ever recommended that any race of parents completely stop breeding. Planned Parenthood cannot be said to have been established to exterminate anything. Rather, it was established to encourage self-determining motherhood.

My opponent has produced one quote, which CAN be but does not REQUIRE itself to be interpreted in the way he chooses. Considering the context, which was a letter sent to another leader of the Negro Project (the goal of which was to deliver birth control to POOR African-American communities), Clarence Gamble, to emphasize the benefits of involving black community leaders, and the concept's complete absence from anywhere else in her papers, speeches, or books, it cannot be said that "Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race".

[1] -- http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] -- http://books.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Let me return to the debate on the interpretation of the quote in Sanger's letter to Dr. Gamble:

"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

One should interpret this as meaning Margaret certainly did want to exterminate the Negro population. Else, why did she use the words "We don't want the word to go out" instead of saying something like "We don't want them to think"? Surely Con, and you, our audience, understands that Sanger's language in this quote is far more typical of someone trying to hide something then that of someone trying to avoid being misunderstood. Also, given the fact that Margaret Sanger was prejudiced towards the Negros, and racist in general, my interpretation has more evidence in it's favor then Con's interpretation: my interpretation aligns with the wording, character, and affiliations of the quote's author. If there is any doubt as to Sanger's hardcore racist, anti-Negro affiliations, read this excerpt from Sanger's autobiography:

"I accepted an invitation to talk to the women"s branch of the Ku Klux Klan"I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses"I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak"In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered."

Let's recap: Con and I both agree that Margaret Sanger desired forced sterilization of people with incurable, hereditary disabilities. Sanger also befriended the K.K.K. In Con's own words, he states that she also advocated "coercion to prevent the "undeniably feeble-minded" from procreating." The definition of coerce is: to persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats. Does 'undeniably feeble-minded' in this context apply to Negros as well as those with incurable, hereditary disabilities? We are discussing the views of someone that both I and Con agree was a Eugenicist and very racist towards Negros, so I think the burden of proof lies on Con to show otherwise.

Remember, for me to win this debate, I need only prove that one of the reasons Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race, not prove this was it's sole intention.
bladerunner060

Con

"Sanger's language in this quote is far more typical of someone trying to hide something then that of someone trying to avoid being misunderstood."

Not necessarily. This was a letter to a specific person, to be understood by that person in the context it was meant, with no need to "hide somehting", which we can only guess at after the fact without the help of Mr. Gamble.

Again, as noted, Ms. Sanger had no issues explaining exactly who she intended to exterminate.

"...given the fact that Margaret Sanger was prejudiced towards the Negros, and racist in general, my interpretation has more evidence in it's favor then Con's interpretation"

No, it does not. Not every racist is in favor of EXTERMINATION.

"Does 'undeniably feeble-minded' in this context apply to Negros as well as those with incurable, hereditary disabilities? We are discussing the views of someone that both I and Con agree was a Eugenicist and very racist towards Negros, so I think the burden of proof lies on Con to show otherwise."

No. Again: just because someone thought that an entire race was inferior to another race does not mean that they were in favor of exterminating them.

"Remember, for me to win this debate, I need only prove that one of the reasons Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race, not prove this was it's sole intention."

That actually would be the burden you took on yourself when you said "Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race", rather than "one of the reasons that Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood was to encourage extermination of the Negro race". However, I feel that you have failed even in the burden to prove that it was only "one of the reasons"; a single quote that may or may not support your point does not definitively establish your point.

Ms. Sanger was undoubtedly a racist. But one quote, taken outside of the original context, does not establish that the intended Planned Parenthood to exterminate the "Negro race". Planned Parenthood has never been an organization that advocated compulsory birth control. Planned Parenthood was never Ms. Sanger's organization has not been shown to advocate for any extermination of any sort (though Ms. Sanger did regarding certain classes of people, none of which were "Negroes"). If Planned Parenthood cannot be established to have ever been attempting any sort of extermination, then it cannot be attempting the extermination of any specific race.
Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Everyone that Sanger publicly said she wanted exterminated (the disabled and stupid) were inherently unable to provide much opposition to her. It can be understood that she refrained from letting it be publicly known she she intended to exterminate the Negro race because dealing with an entire race of people who oppose you would make her goals more difficult to accomplish.

I contend it follows that any Eugenicist who deems a race inferior also deems them 'feeble-minded'.

I shouldn't need to prove exterminating the Negro race was the sole intention of the founding of Planned Parenthood it was never said or implied by me at any point.
bladerunner060

Con

Thanks again to my opponent for this debate.

To the points:

"I contend it follows that any Eugenicist who deems a race inferior also deems them 'feeble-minded'."

That is not true. Feeble-minded was a specific term for a form of developmental disorder, back in the day.[1]

Eugenicists generally separated their arguments about the "epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded" and what they perceived as "inferior" races. [2]

Further, in their attempts to be "scientific", they generally correlated fitness to financial stability. So while the lower classes were "were predominately immigrants or women of color", and those classes were "encouraged to use birth control" [2], that was tied to their socio-economic status, rather than specifically to their race.

There is no evidence that Margaret Sanger advocated for complete birth control among the lower classes, but rather the ability for them to family plan. And my opponent has offered no evidence that Sanger advocated for birth control among the upper-class African-American community.

N
o evidence other than that singular quote, and only if that quote is interpreted in the way my opponent wishes to interpret it, has been presented that Sanger felt African-Americans were so inherently inferior as to require extermination.

L
et's look at the full context of the quote in question (well, perhaps not FULL context, as the letter also had wishes for Gamble's good health, and some other ancillary comments that do not affect the meaning of the following...the reader may refer to [3] to read the whole letter for themselves; the specific quote is on the second page of the letter):


"Miss Rose sent me a copy of your letter of December 5th and I note that you doubt it worthwhile to employ a full time Negro physician. It seems to me from my experience where I have been in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas, that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors, they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts. They do not do this with the white people, and if we can train the Negro doctor at the clinic he can go among them with enthusiasm and with knowledge, which, I believe, will have far-reaching results among the colored people. His work, in my opinion, should be entirely with the Negro progression and the nurses, hospital, social workers, as well as the County’s white doctors. His success will depend upon his personality and his training by us.

The minister’s work is also important, and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation, as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want 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."

(Sanger, 1939, December).

[3]

It's clear Sanger was speaking about the ability of the ministers to "straighten out" the "ignorance, superstitions and doubts". She is advocating that the ministers be "trained...as to our ideals and the goal we hope to reach". In order to interpret the sentence the way my opponent wishes to interpret it, then, requires us to say that she was lying in her statement to train the ministers in the "goal [they hoped] to reach" (because they would keep this secret in their attempts to continue to deceive the African-American community). I do not deny the possibility, but then, if she was planning that, and was concerned enough that her letter might be read that she put lies in the letter about training the ministers, it stands to reason she would have made it a point to phrase the sentence in question better, too.

The best explanation that does not require contradiction is that she intended it as most scholars interpret it: that "We do not want word to go out out that we want to exterminate the Negro population" means "We do not want rumors that we want to exterminate the Negro population to go around", Sanger's "Negro Project" was undertaken after W.E.B. DuBois (founder of the NAACP) recommended something similar to it be initiated. He said:

"The mass of significant Negroes, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among ignorant Negroes, even more than among whites, is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear children properly." [4]

Sanger had various objectionable opinions, but the evidence does not bear out that she wanted to exterminate African-Americans. In a letter in 1942, she wrote:

"I believe that the Negro question is coming definitely to the fore in America, not only because of the war, but in anticipation of the place the Negro will occupy after the peace. I think it is magnificent that we are in on the ground floor, helping Negroes to con trol their birthrate, to reduce their high infant and maternal death rate, to maintain better standards of health and living for those already born, and to create better opportunities to help themselves, and to rise to their own heights through education and the principles of a democracy." [4]

Those are not the words of someone intending to exterminate a race.

My opponent says ”I shouldn't need to prove exterminating the Negro race was the sole intention of the founding of Planned Parenthood it was never said or implied by me at any point.” I repeat that, technically, you said that when you said “Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to exterminate the Negro race", rather than "one of the reasons that Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood was to encourage extermination of the Negro race". It's a semantical argument, true, but then, this debate has hinged on a semantical argument. However, if my opponent could show that it was even a reason, I would concede this debate. He has yet to do so, instead relying on assumptions that he has not established.

[1] -- http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] -- http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] -- http://smithlibraries.org...
[4] -- http://www.wordswillnever.com... (the pdf on this page is what contains the quotes linked to [4])

Debate Round No. 4
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

My opponent has not addressed Sanger's friendly relationship with the K.K.K. It was made clear in the quote from her autobiography that I provided that not only was she asked directly by the K.K.K. to meet with them, the meeting was a success, they liked her very much, and even invited her back again. It doesn't make much sense that someone with such close ties to a group like the K.K.K., which is infamous for lynching blacks, would not share their main goals-- one of which was killing Negroes.

In regards to the semantics of the title of my debate: I still say I need only prove that a single one of the reasons Planned Parenthood was founded for was extermination of the Negro race.
bladerunner060

Con

Thank you again to my opponent for this debate.

As we conclude, I would like to note that I can only assume, because my opponent has not addressed any of my last points, that he agrees with them.

Thus, all that remains, in this final round, is his final point:

"My opponent has not addressed Sanger's friendly relationship with the K.K.K. ..."

The reason I did not address it is because I did not have to, as it does not establish that Sanger advocated for
allof the KKKs positions, nor that the Klan, itself, was advocating for extermination at the time she spoke to them.

Thus, considering I've already conceded that Ms. Sanger was racist, the point is irrelevant and has no merit.

"It doesn't make much sense that someone with such close ties to a group like the K.K.K., which is infamous for lynching blacks, would not share their main goals-- one of which was killing Negroes."

Killing some people does not equal the extermination of a race. In order to establish this as a useful point, you'd have to establish that, at the time of her visit, the KKK advocated for extermination, and that Ms. Sanger was aware of that at the time of her speaking. Even then, it would not mean she agreed with it; the quote you used does not go on to say "And boy, everything they said made perfect sense", or “I rushed right out and got a membership”.

The KKK enforced their will through intimidation and murder. But, despite an obvious willingness to murder, they did not embark on a campaign of extermination. Rather, they supported an apartheid system, where the races or members of religions (remember that the Klan also hates Catholics) they believed to be inferior have less rights than those believed "superior".


Further, you also overstep the quote in another way: She was not “invited back again”, she was invited to "similar groups". And we do not know the details of the speech, nor what Ms. Sanger knew about the organizatio before going.

The KKK has changed in various ways over the years. As I understand it, Ms. Sanger visited them in 1926.

"By the 1920s, the KKK developed a women's auxiliary, with chapters in many areas. Its activities included participation in parades, cross lighting, lectures, rallies, and boycotts of local businesses owned by Catholics and Jews. The Women's Klan were active in promoting prohibition, stressing liquor's negative impact on wives and children. Their efforts in public schools included distributing Bibles and working for the dismissal of Roman Catholic teachers. ...As scandals rocked the Klan leadership late in the 1920s, the organization's popularity among both men and women dropped off sharply." [1]

I see no reference there to any position on the extermination of African-Americans, and thus, her association with them does not lend credence to your theory.

The question is whether it was Ms. Sanger's intent to exterminate a race. You have not established that it was her intent.

"In regards to the semantics of the title of my debate: I still say I need only prove that a single one of the reasons Planned Parenthood was founded for was extermination of the Negro race."

You said "X did Y [in order] to Z". At best you can argue that your premise was unclear, considering the lack of specificity. The missing clause could be "The only reason X did Y", "The primary reason X did Y" or "Among the reasons X did Y". But without any extra clause you are saying that the sentence requires the interpretation that there are other reasons, and that extermination was only one of them. Such a notion is not in the sentence.

By not specifying, you have left the sentence open to interpretation, and cannot defend your interpretation more than mine, as we are both using the exact words as written. The irony here is that that is the point of contention, as Ms. Sanger's language lends itself to multiple interpretations (particularly if divorced from its context).

However, the burden is on you to prove that extermination was her intent. The sentence alone does not do that, nor does her consortion with racists.

As previously noted, if Pro did establish that extermination was even a reason, I would concede the debate. Pro did not do so, therefore the proposition has not been established. The argument fails.

Thank you to my opponent and the readers, and please vote Con.


[1] – http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by babyy 1 year ago
babyy
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Posted by likespeace 1 year ago
likespeace
The analogy of the three apples is quite good. To my eyes, you already established this point during the debate, but that would've been a great way to present your idea.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 1 year ago
GarretKadeDupre
You're right; it's inappropriate to be debating in the comments.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
First off, it's not super appropriate to attempt to continue the debate here in the comments.

Second off: "But racism IS equal to thinking a race is unfit."

NO. There is a difference between thinking that one race is better than another, and thinking one race is UNFIT, in the sense of "should not be able to breed". You cannot, through bare assertion, say the two are the same.

Apartheid is different than genocide.

"And Sanger thought Negros were unfit"
YOU NEVER ESTABLISHED THIS.

Sanger had a specific definition of unfit: those who were defective to the point where they should not be allowed to breed. For the unfit she advocated actual sterilization.

While she was of the opinion African-Americans were inferior to her own race, that does not therefore mean she thought they were unfit to breed.

An analogy: Consider three apples. A regular apple, a small apple, and a rotten apple; you may say that the small apple and the rotten apple are "worse" than the regular apple, but advocating throwing out rotten apples does not equate to advocating throwing out small apples too, since they are not as good as regular apples.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 1 year ago
GarretKadeDupre
But racism IS equal to thinking a race is unfit. And Sanger thought Negros were unfit... and wanted to exterminate unfit people... which translates directly to her wanting to exterminate Negros.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
Actually, Pro, it CAN be argued that she did not think them unfit, particularly in light of the fact she never said that. In order to prove deceit, you have to actually prove deceit. And racism is not equal to a desire for extermination.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 1 year ago
GarretKadeDupre
Planned Parenthood was not designed as compulsory merely because such an endeavor would be unpractical; the goal still was extermination of the 'unfit' Negros, but the means were lies and deceit. It can't be argued that Maragert Sanger did NOT think Negros were 'unfit'; even Con concedes she was racist towards them.

Please vote Pro. Thank you.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
@GeoLaureate8:

As I established in my debate with Pro, there is no indication that Sanger felt that African-Americans were inherently "unfit" to be parents.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 1 year ago
GeoLaureate8
Pro is essentially correct, however, given that Planned Parenthood isn't compulsory, extermination isn't necessarily correct, but she did create Planned Parenthood with the intention to have the "unfit" not have babies and therefore had the intent to depopulate and sterilize.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by likespeace 1 year ago
likespeace
GarretKadeDuprebladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro and Con agree Sanger was racist, but that and an ambiguous quote are weak evidence that extermination was a goal of her personally or of her organization. Con pointed out that was not one of the goals of mainstream racists during this time period. I never heard of "Margaret Sanger" before this debate, nor have I checked her Wikipedia page yet, so my vote is based soley on the evidence presented in this debate.
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 1 year ago
Chuz-Life
GarretKadeDuprebladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to give a definition for what he meant by 'extermination' in the original challenge. This gives not only his opponent a lot of room for speculation but allows for voters to speculate as well. Sanger's words here in this debate and also in writings I have found elsewhere - satisfy this voters mind that Sanger did in fact intend as Pro suggests. That not only blacks but also other 'undesirables' were fair game for elimination by (at least) prevention (birth control) methods and policies. Arguments go to Pro
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 1 year ago
DoctorDeku
GarretKadeDuprebladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The only thing I see Pro proving is that Margaret Sanger is a racist. Pro failed to prove that she founded planned parenthood to exterminates blacks.