Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Spreading misinformation

Margaret Sanger
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.

Whenever I see a quote that seems really outrageous being attributed to some famous and/or controversial person, whether on the left or right, I am generally suspicious. In many cases the quote turns out to be wholly fabricated, misattributed or, at best, taken out of context.

That was my thought when I recently saw the following quote being attributed to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.

I saw this quote on a blog and was curious enough to Google it.
What I found were dozens of anti-abortion web sites and blogs all attributing this inflammatory quote to Sanger and using it as justification to accuse her of being a racist, a Nazi and much worse things.
This is quite disturbing since it is quite apparent to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of SangerĂ¢??s life and works that she would never have said anything of the sort.
Planned Parenthood has a good summary of Sanger's life that refutes many of the malicious quotes that have been falsely attributed to her. But it is like a drop in the bucket compared to the flood of sites that are condemning Sanger with this kind of gross misinformation.

There are resources on the Web such as the Margaret Sanger Papers Project where anyone with an interest in knowing the truth can find the historical documents that relate to her life. I would challenge any of Sanger's critics to look at the historical record and try and verify a quote like the one above before spreading it around like a savory piece of malicious gossip.

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