Last week, I briefly noted that many respectable pundits (and editorial boards) have always been horrible. In fact, many of the same horrible people from twenty to thirty years ago not only perpetuated themselves via ‘mentoring’ (finding younger, equally horrible people), but they’re still in charge of things–or even have more authority. In case you dang kids don’t believe me, by way of a locked account on Twitter (one of the lefty OGs akshually!), is an editorial–not op-ed piece, but an actual editorial from the Philadelphia Inquirer–not some podunk rag–arguing poor women (who just happened to be Black, especially in Philly in 1990) should not receive government assistance unless they ‘voluntarily’ go on hormonal birth control, titled “Poverty and Norplant Can contraception reduce the underclass*?” (boldface mine):
Two stories from yesterday’s newspaper:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Norplant, a contraceptive that can keep a woman from getting pregnant for five years.
- A black research organization reports that nearly half the nation’s black children are living in poverty and that the younger the child, the more likely he or she is to be living with a single mother on welfare. “Growing numbers of them will not succeed,” the study’s author says.
As we read those two stories, we asked ourselves: Dare we mention them in the same breath? To do so might be considered deplorably insensitive, perhaps raising the specter of eugenics. But it would be worse to avoid drawing the logical conclusion that foolproof contraception could be invaluable in breaking the cycle of inner city poverty one of of America’s greatest challenges.
The main reason more black children are living in poverty is that the people having the most children are the ones least capable of supporting them. (The black middle class is growing, but its birth rate is very low.) This trend, as Children’s Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman has said, “practically guarantees the poverty of the next generation of black children.”
Now there are many ways to fight back from better prenatal care to better schools. But it’s very tough to undo the damage of being born into a dysfunctional family. So why not make a major effort to reduce the number of children, of any race, born into such circumstances? (More whites than blacks live in poverty, though poor blacks make up a higher percentage of people who are more or less permanently on welfare.)
No one should be compelled to use Norplant, which involves a doctor implanting matchstick-size capsules in a woman’s upper arm. But there could be incentives to do so. What if welfare mothers were offered an increased benefit for agreeing to use this new, safe, long-term contraceptive? Remember, these women already have one or more children. And they can change their minds at any point and become fertile again. (This is not Indira Gandhi offering portable radios to women who agree to be sterilized.) At the very minimum, Norplant, which will probably cost $600 to $1,000, should be made available for free to poor women.
All right, the subject makes us uncomfortable, too. But we’re made even more uncomfortable by the impoverishment of black America and its effect on the nation’s future. Think about it.
This was considered an acceptable liberal opinion**. Of course, the people who were (along with those who would become) the White Christian supremacist right didn’t really object either (every sperm is sacred, unless it belongs to the…’underclass’). Of course, it never occurs to the writers to offer all women free birth control–we just want to make sure the undesirables stop breeding (the “The black middle class is growing, but its birth rate is very low” sentence gives the game away, though they cover their asses by qualifying with “of any race” later on). Meanwhile, mainstream Democratic politicians, such as both Clintons, would talk about ‘superpredators’ and ‘the underclass’ (and then wonder why Black people didn’t turn out to vote for them…). For people who believe U.S. politics began in 2014, this might explain some of the within-Democratic Party dynamics in 2016 and 2020, by the way.
Keep in mind, many people who openly agreed with this are still opining and editing, including some high-profile opiners on the subject of trans children. Just a coinkydink, I’m sure. Of course, a fair number of them have (very) quietly repented: looking forward, not back, if you will. But too many can read the marketplace and have the brains to keep their bigotries and prejudices to themselves–and bigotry is never contained, it always metastasizes.
Whether this explains decisions by several major editorial staffs and their op-ed writers is left as an exercise for the reader.
Related: Atrios has similar thoughts too.
*Regularly describing people, who again, were often perceived as overwhelmingly Black, as an ‘underclass’ was all the rage back then.
**If you’ve ever heard us olds use the phrase “Even the liberal New Republic”, it was from their publishing crap similar to this.
While back in the real world what we should be doing is giving tests for white trash values and sterilizing all the racists.
How about just making birth control and reproductive health care free to all women.
That way we can just deal with poverty directly instead of being constantly sidelined by this idiot idea.
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