Right now I am incredibly pissed. I just returned from a viewing and discussion of Maafa 21, a heavily politicized and poorly constructed documentary that asserts that abortions, specifically those given by Planned Parenthood, are apart of a conspiracy – which allegedly stretches back to the time of Darwin – to destroy the Black community.
Before continuing, please stop and uncontrollably convulse and scream.
The film begins by vastly misrepresenting the American Eugenics movement’s development during the late 19th century. It asserts that the notions of superiority that were held by these Eugenicists only applied to Black people. This is false. Eugenicists believed that Blacks, Asians, Indigenous Americans, the Irish, “licentious women,” the mentally retarded, criminal, the “lazy,” homosexuals, the “indifferent” and basically everyone else that was not White, Christian, heterosexual, socially “normal,” and law abiding was somehow inferior and sought to prevent the dissemination of their “tainted genes.” I’m actually reading the book Eugenic Nation, which talks about the Eugenics movement in America (before WWII) and in it Blacks are barely mentioned. The book actually spends most of its time discussing how eugenically-influenced policies in the early to mid twentieth century primarily affected women, Asians, Mexicans and those of Mexican descent. So from the beginning , by presenting Eugenics as this historically anti-black rather than anti-[insert what we think are inferior], the film is destined to be wrong.
Using this misrepresentation of history as the foundation of its argument, the film begins to assert that because Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was affiliated with Eugenic organizations and had questionable morals, the ultimate goals of Planned Parenthood are eugenic and anti-black. The film then proposes that Planned Parenthood centers exist in urban areas because blacks live there and that this is evidence that abortions are marketed toward Blacks. After this, it makes a terrible proposition for why abortions increased after Roe v. Wade. There are many problems with this proposal.
First, there is a misunderstanding of economics. There was a demand for abortions before Roe v. Wade and it was being supplied way before Planned Parenthood. They just weren’t being documented. Abortions did increase after Roe v. Wade, but not just because Planned Parenthood started providing them. Also and most importantly, Blacks are not the only people that get abortions or the only people that live in urban areas! What about Miami? The Cuban population is the largest ethnic population in the city. So many Cubans live in Miami that it is considered an ethnic enclave! Do you know what enclave means? I fucking do. Also, renting space is cheaper when you do it urban areas. When you’re a nonprofit organization, you need to save money.
Second, Margaret Sanger was not for abortions and her eugenic beliefs did not necessarily deal with race. They might have, but honestly, even if Margaret Sanger was some paternalistic, eugenic-supporting, Black-hating, succubus bitch from hell, I could care less. Now, in 2010, Planned Parenthood supports comprehensive sex education, female reproductive rights, health care and many other positive things. It is a positive force in the community. There is nothing wrong with investigating the origin of something, but it is utterly stupid to make conclusions based just on that origin, especially if you do not understand it.
Incidentally, it is important to note that this film was sponsored by my school’s Pro-Life organization and shown as a Black History Month event (which really pisses me off). Additionally, the film features irate Black people talking about the issue, which is supposed to somehow prove how disturbing this is to the Black community. At one point the film randomly cites, without any evidence, that certain chapters of the Black Panther Party and Jesse Jackson were against abortions. No one under the age of 54 cares about anything Jesse Jackson has to say. By this point though, the message was pretty clear. Pro-Life organizations want more black members and they are willing to sponsor the shittiest documentary ever filmed to acquire them.
The most disturbing thing about the film is that it is marketed as “Black genocide.” Moreover, at multiple points in the film, aborted fetuses are equated with Holocaust victims.
Appropriately, there was an imbecile(who was unfortunately a black woman) present to defend the film. She is responsible for the recent offensive billboards in Atlanta. While I could list her terrible opinions and debunk them, I will just provide you with some of her memorable quotes and my [internal] responses to them.
“No woman would want to kill her child(fetus).” A fetus is not a child. It is a fetus.
“There are families everywhere that are willing to adopt. All babies can be adopted.” Sure they can be adopted, but they aren’t. Why do so many kids grow up in orphanages?
“Some women have up 15 abortions.” Bullshit(I literally said this out loud). These women are so anomalous they might as well not exist.
“We don’t have an overpopulation problem. We could fit the entire population of the United States in Texas.” […] (No response)
I finished Eugenic Nation last Saturday and I have an interesting quote.
“The dividing line between family planning and eugenics is murky” (Stern 202).
So there is some merit to Maafa 21’s accusations, but this merit is lost in the film’s heavy and slanted political message. Even if it was not slanted, it would still be committing the genetic fallacy.
For further reading, check out this article.
Update 2: I have closed this article for commenting.