Monday, February 27, 2017

America’s Got Talent, My Grandmother, My Mom and Planned Parenthood

Recently, Singer and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon doubled down on his criticism of Planned Parenthood, saying the abortion provider was designed to “exterminate” black people.
Grandmother Virginia Blair

I can't speak to what Planned Parenthood has become, but I must speak for my Mother and Grandmother -- as they can't -- as to what Planned Parenthood was designed to do and did during their tenure.  My Grandmother, Virginia Blair, was on the original Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood when Margaret Sanger founded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 1942. Among other initiatives, PPFA: "worked to publicize health problems of African Americans and the scarcity of contraceptive services in black communities."  I can say unequivocally that "exterminating" black people was never on my Grandmother's agenda. Indeed, just the opposite.
Mom, a/k/a The Rev. Blair

My mother was even more involved.  Starting in 1962 as a "dirty volunteer", Mom would clean the exam rooms in the Rochester, New York Planned Parenthood clinic after each gynecological examination  In due course, she rose to become President of the Rochester, New York Planned Parenthood, then President of Planned Parenthood Northeast and ultimately from 1974-1976 the Executive Director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).   

Thus for Mr. Cannon to exclaim through his public megaphone that Planned Parenthood was designed to "exterminate" black people, is not only offensive, but it is simply ignorant.  Had he known my Grandmother and Mother, he could not in good conscience utter such an offensive remark.

Mom gave an extensive interview to Radcliffe College in 1976 about the early days of Planned Parenthood.  I find it interesting that back then Mom, when talking about Planned Parenthood and the African-American community, said: "We'd been through the closing of the clinic and seen the black women insisting that we open the clinics. Oh, this happened in Pittsburgh. The black people, the black males, had said this is genocide and forced 'the clinic to closeand the black  women said, "You're not raising the babies, we want the clinic."

So Mr. Cannon, perhaps you know not of what you speak. Just because fate has given you a public megaphone doesn't relieve you of the truth from Mark Twain's famous quote:
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.


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