Much (but not all) of Limbaugh's racism is aimed at President Obama:
In September, Limbaugh played
"Barack the Magic Negro" in honor of Ann Coulter's book about race relations. In her book Coulter seamlessly integrates facts with fanciful claims and outright fictions. Some of her assertions are absurd on their face; for example, she claims that "every liberal over a certain age claims to have marched in Selma and accompanied the freedom riders." [Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, page 6]
Other of her lies take a little research to debunk. Coulter claims that all civil rights for blacks resulted from action by Republicans in opposition to Democrats. While there was unquestionably a racist southern wing of the Democratic Party, Coulter refuses to give any credit whatsoever to the liberals she detests. She attributes to Nixon civil rights accomplishments by Johnson, and to Eisenhower accomplishments by Truman.
Ann Coulter – book of lies
For example, Coulter wrote:
Eisenhower ... quickly moved to desegregate the military, something President Harry Truman had announced, but failed to fully implement... As with Truman's unenforced executive order desegregating the military, it took a Republican president to actually get it done. [Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, pages 2-4]
Truman issued an "unenforced" executive order to desegregate the military? Only a supremely creative interpretation of the chronology could yield such a conclusion:
December 6, 1946: President Truman appoints the President's Committee on Civil Rights.
October 29, 1947: The President's Committee on Civil Rights issues its landmark report, To Secure These Rights. The report condemns segregation wherever it exists and criticizes specifically segregation in the armed forces. The report recommends legislation and administrative action "to end immediately all discrimination and segregation based on race, color, creed or national origin in...all branches of the Armed Services."
January 1948: President Truman decides to end segregation in the armed forces and the civil service through administrative action (executive order) rather than through legislation.
February 2, 1948: President Truman announces in a special message to Congress on civil rights issues that he has "instructed the Secretary of Defense to take steps to have the remaining instances of discrimination in the armed services eliminated as rapidly as possible."
July 26, 1948: President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, which states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." The order also establishes the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services.
April 1, 1949: Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson issues a directive to the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force which says it is the Department of Defense's policy that there should be equality of treatment and opportunity for all in the armed services, and that "qualified Negro personnel shall be assigned to fill any type of position...without regard to race."
Ca. June 1950 and following: Commanders at Army training facilities find it impossible to predict how many African-American recruits they will receive, with the result that the Army decides unofficially to integrate basic training.
Ca. June 1950 and following: Segregation in Army units serving in Korea gradually breaks down as white combat units suffer combat casualties and as large numbers of African-American recruits cannot be absorbed into segregated black service units.
Ca. January 1951: The Eighth Army in Korea adopts an unofficial policy of integrating African-American soldiers who cannot be effectively absorbed into segregated African-American units.
March 18, 1951: The Department of Defense announces that all basic training within the United States has been integrated.
April 1951: General Matthew B. Ridgway, head of the United Nations Command in Korea, requests that the Army allow him to integrate all African-Americans within his command.
July 26, 1951: The Army announces that the integration of all its units in Korea, Japan and Okinawa will be completed within six months.
January 1953: Dwight D. Eisenhower takes office as president.
October 1953: The Army announces that 95% of African-American soldiers are serving in integrated units.
[excerpts] Desegregation of the Armed Forces: Chronology
Right wing nut jobs rewriting history isn't any surprise, of course. Limbaugh buttresses his false assertion about Planned Parenthood with the following:
RUSH: Abortion has certainly made us insensitive to pregnancy. That was Margaret Sanger's idea. I'm not supposed to say that either. Margaret Sanger's idea was to convince people in America to abort their own seed... Well, Margaret Sanger was targeting the black community, yes, that's right. That's politically incorrect to say. There are people watching Lincoln, the movie today, or reading commentary about it, I mean, people, elected officials who have no clue that it was Lincoln and the Republicans who freed the slaves. There's all this talk about – the story's somewhere in the stack – some elected Democrat as part of the budget negotiations going on, if we don't stop the Republicans, they want to take us back to slavery. They want to take us back to the days of Lincoln, is what this guy is saving.
Margaret Sanger in 1917
Well, excuse me, Lincoln freed the slaves. The Republican Party, that's Lincoln's party, freed the slaves. But today the truth is obscured by a pack of lies. And the lie is that no Republican ever saw a slave that he didn't want to own, even today. That's what the elected Democrats are out there saying. It's like Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood is all about family planning. Yeah, but not the kind you're thinking about. It's called the elimination of black families. That's what Margaret Sanger was about. Now, she's long gone, room temperature many, many moons ago. And now Planned Parenthood, what is it? Planned Parenthood, wow, does that not sound really nice? They're gonna teach you to plan your parenthood, plan your family. They're gonna teach you how to do it right.
No. We're gonna teach you how to not have one, is what Planned Parenthood's all about. How not to remain a parent once you become one.
–Rush Limbaugh: Obama Aide to F. Chuck Todd: With These Republicans, "There'd Still be Slavery", December 3, 2012
Margaret Sanger became an advocate of education about pregnancy and childbirth after witnessing the results of dangerous and illegal abortions. She is credited with coining the term "birth control". Sanger promoted the concept that women should have control of their own bodies.
|At the time, disseminating information about birth control was illegal – a violation of the Comstock Laws. Sanger faced imprisonment for violation of obscenity laws and for "inciting murder and assassination" for articles that she wrote about birth control, but in 1916, after nearly two years of growing publicity about the case, the government dropped the charges.
Sanger was again arrested in 1917 for distribution of contraceptives. She was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse, but won the right for doctors to prescribe contraceptives on appeal. In all, Sanger was jailed eight times for her birth control activism.
Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which later became Planned Parenthood.
An emblem symbolizing Comstock's New York
Society for the Suppression of Vice
The accusation of racism against Margaret Sanger is primarily due to the misinterpretation of one sentence that she wrote in 1939, at least as interpreted by her supporters. From the Margaret Sanger Papers Project:
In 1939 Sanger teamed with Mary Woodward Reinhardt, secretary of the newly formed BCFA, to secure a large donor to fund an educational campaign to teach African-American women in the South about contraception. Sanger, Reinhardt and Sanger's secretary, Florence Rose, drafted a report on "Birth Control and the Negro," skillfully using language that appealed both to eugenicists fearful of unchecked black fertility and progressives committed to shepherding African-Americans into middle-class culture. The report stated that "[N]egroes present the great problem of the South," as they are the group with "the greatest economic, health and social problems," and outlined a practical birth control program geared toward a population characterized as largely illiterate and that "still breed carelessly and disastrously," a line borrowed from a June 1932 Birth Control Review article by W.E.B. DuBois. Armed with this paper, Reinhardt initiated contact between Sanger and Albert Lasker (soon to be Reinhardt's husband), who pledged $20,000 starting in Nov. 1939. ("Birth Control and the Negro," July 1939, Lasker Papers)
However, once funding was secured, the project slipped from Sanger's hands. She had proposed that the money go to train "an up and doing modern minister, colored, and an up and doing modern colored medical man" at her New York clinic who would then tour "as many Southern cities and organizations and churches and medical societies as they can get before" and "preach and preach and preach!" She believed that after a year of such "educational agitation" the Federation could support a "practical campaign for supplying mothers with contraceptives." Before going in and establishing clinics, Sanger thought it critical to gain the support and involvement of the African-American community (not just its leaders) and establish a foundation of trust. Her proposal derived from the work of activists in the field, discussions with black leaders and her experience with the New York clinics. Sanger understood the concerns of some within the black community about having Northern whites intervene in the most intimate aspect of their lives. "I do not believe" she warned, "that this project should be directed or run by white medical men. The Federation should direct it with the guidance and assistance of the colored group – perhaps, particularly and specifically formed for the purpose." To succeed, she wrote, "It takes a very strong heart and an individual well entrenched in the community. . . ." (MS to Gamble, Nov. 26, 1939, and MS to Robert Seibels, Feb. 12, 1940 [MSM S17:514, 891].)
Sanger reiterated the need for black ministers to head up the project in a letter to Clarence Gamble in Dec. 1939, arguing that: "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." This passage has been repeatedly extracted by Sanger's detractors as evidence that she led a calculated effort to reduce the black population against their will. From African-American activist Angela Davis on the left to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza on the right, this statement alone has condemned Sanger to a perpetual waltz with Hitler and the KKK. Davis quoted the incendiary passage in her 1983 Women, Race and Class, claiming that the Negro Project "confirmed the ideological victory of the racism associated with eugenic ideas." D'Souza used the quote to buttress erroneous claims that Sanger called blacks "human weeds" and a "menace to civilization" in his best-selling 1995 book The End of Racism.
"Birth Control or Race Control? Sanger and the Negro Project," #28, Fall 2001
MSPP documents the scope and impact of lies by Limbaugh and others in the anti-choice movement:
Billboards put up in Atlanta in February with the message: “Black children are an endangered species,” re-energized the campaign among anti-abortion activists to vilify Sanger as a racist and led to a flurry of articles in the national news (See, for instance, “Anti-Abortion Billboards On Race Split Atlanta,” New York Times , Feb. 6; “Georgia Ads Link Race, Abortion,” Newsday , Feb. 15; “Antiabortion Activists See a Racial Conspiracy,” Los Angeles Times , March 2, 2010). The billboards, over 65 in number, link to a website ( www.toomanyaborted.com ) that claims Sanger wanted to reduce the black population. The site includes a short explanation on the Negro Project that contends Sanger tried to do away with “a certain type of black individual.” Even though it draws from articles in the MSPP Newsletter that discuss Sanger’s work within the black community and in conjunction with local and national black leaders to help poor African-American women have access to safe and reliable contraception, the site ignores the documentary evidence. For example it features Sanger’s statement to Clarence Gamble in September 1939 that “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population . . . .” This statement, which has gone viral on the Internet, is presented out of context and doesn’t reflect the fact that Sanger recognized 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. No serious scholar and none of the dozens of black leaders who supported Sanger’s work have ever suggested that she tried to reduce the black population or set up black abortion mills, the implication in much of the extremist anti-choice material.
Quoting Margaret Sanger out of context appears to be a cottage industry in the right to life movement. Journalist Mike Wallace interviewed an aging Sanger in 1957. Wallace seemed more interested in inciting a perceived conflict between Sanger and the Catholic Church than in exploring the issue of birth control. The interview unfolds as a mild inquisition, with some of the social concepts implicit in his questioning seeming as archaic to the modern ear as his hyping of the sponsoring cigarette company. But in spite of some awkward moments, Sanger held her own on many of the questions.
At one point Wallace asked if she believed there is such a thing as "sin". Somewhat flustered by this early example of "gotcha" journalism, Sanger responded, "I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world–-that have disease from their parents that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all such a thing just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin–that people can–can commit." Her general intentions were clear from the context, but anti-abortionists have seized upon her initial statement, "I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world" to portray her as anti-family.
A partial transcript of the interview is here; the full interview is on Youtube in three ten minute segments:
Mike Wallace interview with Margaret Sanger (1/3)
Mike Wallace interview with Margaret Sanger (2/3)
Mike Wallace interview with Margaret Sanger (3/3)
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