Rage, of the Black variety: A Critical Response to Maafa 21

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.

You’re welcome.

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)

Update:

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.

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28 thoughts on “Rage, of the Black variety: A Critical Response to Maafa 21

  1. respectfully i call bs on your assessment for a variety of reasons. first lets address the statistics Black Deaths since 1973 HeartDisease = 2,266,789 & ABORTION = 13 MILLION in 2005, 203,991 blacks died from ABORTION. **thats more than the 7 leading causes of death COMBINED.I believe you heavily missed the point of this documentary. this movies isnt about anyone else but black people. And the Eugenics movement felt as though they were superior to black people an sought to control the black population. The Eugenics movements hate of other groups doesnt lessen the fact that they were anti black if anything it makes them more sinister. Margret Sanger allied her self and stood shoulder to shoulder with the racist eugenicists. she is just as evil as they are. Furthermore there are more abortion clinics in the inner city where we are than there is anywhere else. Is sexual education is important is sexual health important yes. However the fact that planned parenthood does not acknowledge this history is very telling. Ignoring the large picture of what abortion does to our people is idiotic. you have gravely misunderstood the purpose and aim of this documentary.

  2. The purpose and aim of the documentary is to obtain Black support for the pro-life movement. "I believe you heavily missed the point of this documentary."I know you have heavily missed the point of this post. Although I want to call you an idiot, I will not because that would not help me convince you of the illegitimacy of Maafa 21's argument. Please re-read my post and pay very close attention to the links provided within the post. Very close attention. Please.

  3. thanks for sharing this Steve. when the documentary first came out I tried all sorts of google searches trying to come up with some intelligent commentary on why it’s bullshit (I haven’t seen it yet but I strongly suspected it was). I couldn’t find anything at the time, so this is definitely helpful! I’m moving on to the article you linked to now

    • I’m glad to have been helpful. I think the lack of discussion about the documentary can be attributed to the fact that it is fairly recent. It hasn’t had a chance to buzz yet, I guess.

      • She just said that she was trying to build an opposing opinion of this documentary “trying to come up with some intelligent commentary on why it’s bullshit”, without even having seen it. Whether or not I support either side of this argument I cant see the reason in choosing sides sight unseen. MK Wiley is forming a contrarian opinion, arguably for no reason, but more likely because the largely unknown and controversial film, (undoubtedly seen by her peers and haphazardly recited back to her) made her feel stupid. That is likely what sent her here, to one of the first results you get when you type “maafa 21 debunked” into Google search. Now she can go back to her friends and misrepresent the argument you made here in a vein attempt to outdo the initial misrepresentation of fact proposed by her peers as a response to this film. I tip my hat to you sir, you have furthered the cause of ignorance.

        • I think she was trying to respond more to the argument/cause that the film is tied to (anti-abortion) rather than the film itself. So though I agree that her counterargument would be stronger if she had watched the film herself, what she did is no different from resolving a dispute by looking at a Wikipedia page, citing a book or calling in a witness. Plus, she knows/knew me, so I was/am(?) a trusted source.

  4. Hello Black Steve,
    I just want to know how can you tell whether to trust someone. You diss the white producer of the film but seem to believe the self-avowed racist, white eugenicists of history such as Sanger and others mentioned in the film. The point about Jesse Jackson is not that he is relevant today but that he and the other black leaders saw what was happening in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and then some sold out for whatever reason. Looks like it didn’t do him any good in the end. Another important point of the film is to pay attention to what happens more than what people say (by their fruits you will know them).
    BTW, I’m white, if that makes any difference…….
    Peace,
    John

    • I want to respond more fully, but your comment is worded in a confusing way, so this is all I can muster:

      I do not endorse Margaret Sanger in anyway. I just believe that her politics are irrelevant when considering the contemporary practices of Planned Parenthood. To condemn the organization because of the politics of its long-dead founder is a logical fallacy commonly referred to as the genetic fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy). Condemning Planned Parenthood because of Sanger’s beliefs would be akin to dismissing the entire U.S. Constitution because of the Founding Fathers’ beliefs. Such a dismissal would ignore the ways in which history has made the inheritors of the constitution (you and I) aware of their flawed beliefs (which gives us the opportunity for change) and would ignore the ways in which we collectively do not uphold those beliefs (most of the time).

      I don’t know why you bring up trust. Trust has nothing to do with this.

  5. racism still exist in this country on a great scale, but it has gone underground, just because we don’t see hoods, doesn’t mean that an agenda has changed. Planned Parenthood is wrong regardless of what they originated from. Abortion is wrong. Unfortunately we blacks as people are most ignorant of these agendas, we generally just allow we see on the surface lead us. Man’s heart is inherently wicked regardless of his skin color, and the only solution to changing ones heart is through the blood provided through Christ’s death, and through the meditation, and understanding of God’s word! Politics are just that politics!
    I believe the documentary was well researched and written. It did not incite any hatred in my heart for whites, planned parenthood, but it did confirmed to me that we trust in what the powers that be tells us very easily because we have been programmed to do so, then we trust our God our Creator and His Son Jesus Christ. There is so much deception in this world!

    • The documentary was not well-researched and is laden with historical inaccuracies and falsities. Regardless of what you “believe” about the documentary, its shittiness is a hard fact. I don’t know what Jesus has to do with my critique of the film, but whatever. You are a crazy person.

  6. At the risk of being called some name or insulted about my grammar, I’ll take a leap of faith and leave a comment.

    As much as you may not agree with the points made in the documentary, it does give a starting point for understanding the history and thinking behind this eugenics movement and planned parenthood here in America. If you want the “true” history of Planned Parenthood, try making a request to their corporate offices for their version. You will either not receive a response or you’ll get a highly preposterous work of fiction.

    I believe that you watched this documentary in the same way that you have read the comments of the people here on this board. You looked at it long enough to find what you thought was an attackable point and then pounced. I’m assuming you don’t seek mature discussion here.

    You talk about Margaret Sanger being dead and that she has nothing to do with the way planned parenthood is run today. That’s like saying that the ideas that were the premise for the KKK died along with those who founded the KKK. Worse still, you seem to miss a few other very important points of the video. Margaret Sanger was just the face of the organization. She likely didn’t really call any shots. White elitists were pulling her puppet strings. Those White Elitists occupy different physical bodies today, but their aim is the same. Also, Planned parenthood will NEVER run out of money.

    My own feelings about the video is that it revealed further evidence of how this government uses all sorts of trickery and the like to negatively impact my black people. I’m further torn because I come from a place where I know abortions are necessary most often due to fiscal difficulties. However, I’m pissed to know that we were and still are being targeted in the way the video made clear.

    Please stay true to yourself and not help others rewrite, reconstruct history.

    mike b

    p.s. keep in mind that you or I could have easily ended up a client at one of these abortion clinics and neither of us would have the opportunity to indulge in this discussion.

    • Mike, playing the “what if” game does nothing in this instance.

      I don’t disagree with the points made in the documentary: I view them as factually wrong. I knew nothing about the documentary when I saw it other than that it was endorsed by my school’s Pro-Life organization. My critique of the documentary stems solely from my knowledge of the history of the eugenics movement, which the film grossly and misrepresents and distorts to draw specious connections to Planned Parenthood’s modern day practices. Seriously, the idea that Planned Parenthood is committing genocide against black bodies is both reductive, offensive and sensational, even with its history. Yes, Margaret Sanger is no hero. I would never argue that she is.

      That being said, it is absurd to argue that her ideology dictates modern-day Planned Parenthood. Even if Planned Parenthood is reluctant to acknowledge its murky past (It would be political suicide, honestly), that doesn’t mean that it is involved in some genocidal conspiracy. Abortion rates are certainly disproportionately high among black (and brown) folks, but it is facile reasoning to point to one institution, one cause, for this disproportion. Class, history, social inequality, education and various other factors contribute to that disproportion, not just Planned Parenthood, if at all.

      Your KKK example is a terrible comparison. First of all, the KKK is a hate group. Second of all, the terror of the KKK is more symbolic than actual (see here: http://www.readability.com/read?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgawker.com%2F5898493%2Fmy-kasual-kountry-weekend-with-the-knights-of-the-ku-klux-klan).

      In the end Maafa 21 just isn’t acceptable. As I said in the original post, the movie isn’t wrong when it asserts that the eugenics movement and Planned Parenthood have a shady past; but it is definitely wrong to grossly misrepresent that past and then divorce that fictional past from the present just to push an agenda. It is even more wrong to sensationalize that agenda with the term “genocide,” which is a real phenomenon that is cheapened and reduced every single time it is employed outside of its actual occurrence. It’s just not cool, man.

  7. gen·o·cide   [jen-uh-sahyd] Show IPA
    noun
    the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

    Maafa 21 provided evidence that what Planned Parenthood has done can most certainly be classified as genocide.

    You say:

    “Seriously, the idea that Planned Parenthood is committing genocide against black bodies is both reductive, offensive and sensational, even with its history.”

    But you don’t actually acknowledge that it is false. I guess this would be your nod to the Republican party with the elections coming up and all. With all the unfair, underhanded things (the list is long) that have been done to black folks in distant, recent, and future history, would it be totally outrageous that this could be one of Planned Parenthoods functions, stated or not.

    I don’t see my KKK example as being a terrible one. I must question your agenda when you claim that the terror of the KKK is more symbolic than actual. You cannot be serious! I did not go to the link you provided because I didn’t wait until I have reached well into the age of maturity to study all of the heinous and senseless acts committed by the KKK on my people. I know that their terror was real and someone is drinking the kool-aid if they allow themselves to believe anything less. With that kind of bs being passed along by you and the those like you, history will rewrite itself and before you know it the KKK will have just been a friendly group of white guys getting together for beer and bonfires every once in a while.

    If what Maafa 21 reveals is anything near the truth, which I firmly believe it is, I would include Planned Parenthood, and the several aliases it has had through history, as a hate group. It is a very powerful, yet secretive, organization. That’s true even today. I would not be at all surprised if Planned Parenthood had some covert connection to hate groups today.

    You and I will agree to disagree to the end of time on this issue. However, I respect your position and appreciated your generally well constructed argument.

    Once again, though, I have to laugh aloud at your “the terror of the KKK is more symbolic than actual” comment. Come on man! It would be even more funny if it wasn’t so damn sad.

  8. Hmmmm…. take a look at what actually happens at planned parenthood.

  9. Hi! Thanks for talking about the video. I thought Maafa 21 was pretty well done, though I have to say I am critical of a few points, but overall, I think it is accurate in its portrayal of Eugenics in the early 1900s. It should trouble you that someone so into the Eugenics movement founded a business that is still operating under the same vision. The goal of PP is not women’s health; it is the prevention and abortion of the unfit, which is mostly the “poor” in today’s society. The real problem is that our society sees financial poverty as an evil, rather than moral poverty as the true evil. We tell our kids to have sex whenever they want, but we make the unborn child the “evil” result that will reduce them to poverty. So they kill the baby so they won’t be “poor”.

    • Hi!

      I think the goal of PP is exactly women’s health. Yes, I agree that Sanger’s eugenics affiliation is troubling, but I don’t think we should consider history to be destiny. The organization continues to provide amazing services for women that have nothing to do with the initial wishes Margaret Sanger.

  10. Hey Steve, I want to respond to this thread as I just watched the movie today and have many new things to ponder. However, this thread is all sorts of opnions and I don’t necessarily feel inclined to reply to one reply in particular, so I will give a very basic query.

    Do you feel that abortion at any time is murder, yes or no? Elaborate your response.

    Thanks,
    Charley

    • Hi Charley,

      No, I don’t feel that abortion is murder. Murder is characterized by an indifference or hostility towards life and abortion just doesn’t qualify as either one for me. For me, abortion honestly seems to be characterized by a certain reflection on what life is and under what conditions life should and can be cultivated.

  11. Black Steve: Why are you so upset with the documentary? If one abortion isn’t bad then millions aren’t worse, right? If millions of abortions aren’t bad, then the reasons those abortions are happening, and the history behind the reasons those abortions are occurring shouldn’t be of any consequence to you. What difference does it make to you, Black Steve?
    ~Peace be with you~

  12. Yes the the documentary is poorly made and is an obvious pro life peace. But it is full of truth. The direct quotes and money are easily followed. Truth enough foe this feeble minded embicile.

  13. Honestly, I stumbled across this because having seen “Maafa 21”. It occurred to me that the documentary was religiously biased and I was looking forward to hearing what anyone had to say that would balance out the story, so to speak. I became frustrated after attempting to read your “debunk” because it was simply trash. You actually reinforced my belief in the hard, cited evidence in the film. You cite nothing. You offer absolutely nothing that would make anyone with common sense take this article seriously. One tell tale sign of a lost argument is a personal attack upon the other party. By calling them names repeatedly, much like a child, you basically said, “I got nothing”. This “debunk” was an abysmal failure and you shouldn’t ever write again until you’ve learned the skill called “research”.

    • I’m not really sure what you read, man. I very clearly cited the book Eugenic Nation and despite the tone of my article (which is admittedly pretty charged because I wrote this while angry), I do actually follow the basic argument of the film. The only name-calling was directed at the presenter of the film and that comes at the end of the post. Furthermore, this name-calling was qualified by the quotes I presented at the end. Sure, it was personal, but I did it to elaborate the kinds of people who are circulating the film. Sometimes the distributor of a film is just as important as the film itself.

      I also used the word “debunk” precisely once. Thanks for reading.

  14. @Black Steve

    Just watched the documentary I found it to be extremely thought provoking. After reading your posts I’m hoping you could answer a few questions for me…What do you have to say about the numerous statements about “population control” made by extremely high ranking officials in our government? Are you willing to concede that the early 20th Century Eugenics agenda remained prevalent and resonated in the minds of very powerful people later on in the century?

    I agree partly with your assessment on Stanger and Planned Parenthood. It is a logical fallacy to say that just because the founder of an organization is morally desolate than so to is the organization. However, the origins of Planned Parenthood (American Birth Control League being basically an extension of the Eugenics movement) if true, is extremely damaging to your argument. It is clear that many white elites at that time favored the negative eugenics approach. It is also clear that these same elites bankrolled The ABCL, an organization that held similar views. When the ABCL morphed into Planned Parenthood, what changed? What made Planned Parenthood separate from the ABCL? They were led by the same people right? They were funded by the same people, right? I agree with you about Planned Parenthood providing many different services for women, and i agree with you about not pigeonholing PP into a category based on the racist views of its founder, but there are very troubling realities of Planned Parenthood’s history from its origin till now. It seems as though Planned Parenthood was founded by, bankrolled by, and led by individuals who had a misguided racist Eugenics agenda on their mind. When in Planned Parenthood’s history did that change?

    Is it true that Planned Parenthood is saturated in minority neighborhoods? D you really believe its because the rent is cheaper? PP is one of the most well-funded “non-profits” in the nation, I promise you they aren’t worried about rent. Black people are 12% of the population, there are more poor whites (and more poor white neighborhoods) than there are blacks just by virtue of numbers. What possible reason could they have for wanting to completely over-saturate African American and Hispanic neighborhoods? If it was about poverty there should be vastly more PP centers in poor white neighborhoods than in minority ones. These questions must be answered BEFORE we all throw this film out the window like you seemed so eager to do.

  15. I would like to point out that I do not believe abortion is “murder” for the simply fact that there is not a scientific consensus on the person hood of a fetus. So I agree with your point on the word “genocide” being a bit misleading. However, I believe your argument (and the argument of the film regarding genocide) is besides the point. The point isn’t to prove that abortion is killing, the point is to discover whether Planned Parenthood and the minds of the white power structure who ran and still run this country adopted the agenda of the Eugenics movement. The case is relatively strong that they both did at least to a certain extent.

    In addition,

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