It’s always interesting to see which organizations are judged based on their histories and which are given free passes. If you have not had the opportunity to follow the Ellie Kemper story, it was recently “uncovered” that actress Ellie Kemper (known for her roles in The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) was a participant in, and in fact a winner of, the Veiled Prophet Ball. The ball dates back to 1878 and is presided over by St. Louis’ cultural elite. It was founded with strong ties to the KKK, and the accompanying July 4th parade had several racist and antisemitic floats in the rotation.
According to a 2014 article in The Atlantic, in the late 1970s, organizers were uncomfortable with the historical ties and cultural implications and began stripping away at the parts of the events associated with white supremacy and the KKK; in 1992, they even changed the name of the event to the Fair Saint Louis to further distance itself from its past. That’s right: When Kemper won the crown, she was not even competing in the Veiled Prophet Ball. That name had been removed when she was just 10 years old.
Looking on the Fair Saint Louis website, there is little mention of the Veiled Prophet name, and the only reference to its past is a brief sentence stating “many things have changed since 1878.” The organization called the Veiled Prophet Foundation still runs the affair, but largely removed its name from the proceedings. However, despite the efforts of the organizers to reform its dark history, the event is labeled “racist,” and anyone associated with it, including Kemper, is forever tainted in the eyes of the Left. In fact, an opinion article in The Independent calls for “the [Veiled Profit] organization to be abolished altogether if the city of St Louis was to begin freeing itself from institutional white racism and become a prosperous city for all.” There is no room for apology and reform when it comes to an organization that was founded in racism.
Well, there is room for one organization. Enter Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was founded by a eugenicist and actual racist: Margaret Sanger. According to USA Today, “In promoting birth control, [Sanger] advanced a controversial ‘Negro Project,’ wrote in her autobiography about speaking to a Ku Klux Klan group and advocated for a eugenics approach to breeding for ‘the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.’”
Sanger was a vitriolic racist who aimed to aid America in stopping the growing lower class by helping to end pregnancies of those she thought would add to the growing black population. In other words, Sanger looked to advance the country economically by having fewer black people in existence. She valued economic freedom over black life. Eugenics were not just a theory Sanger subscribed to and believed in; it was her primary motivator behind promoting the organization she created.
It’s not like Planned Parenthood doesn’t know this. They have a page on their website devoted to explaining in detail what Sanger believed in. Paragraph after paragraph tells of her beliefs; only at the end is there one sentence telling you that “Planned Parenthood denounces Margaret Sanger’s belief in eugenics.” Yet according to a 2020 study from the National Institute of Health, “Black women have been experiencing induced abortions at a rate nearly four times that of White women for at least three decades, and likely much longer.”
According to the CDC, there were 619,591 “legal induced abortions” in 2018. Planned Parenthood takes credit for 345,672, meaning they are responsible for over 55% of abortions, which are disproportionately given to black women by a rate of 4 to 1.
So to recap: An organization that has historical ties to the KKK works to reform, change their name, allow in previously banned groups, and removes almost all references to their past is still somehow racist. Yet another organization, which was founded by a eugenicist with ties to the KKK in an effort to systematically reduce the size of the black population, and is currently succeeding in carrying out that plan to this day, (while giving space on their website to explain said founder’s beliefs), is championed by the Left.
It’s important to note that no argument was made about the ethics of abortion. That discussion is for another time. This article is simply to highlight the double standard that is so obviously in existence. So how do you know if something is racist? It has little to do with actions or thought; it’s all to do with what side of the aisle you fall. If you believe in the “correct” politics, your discrimination is celebrated or excused. If you do not, your discrimination is exaggerated, resurrected from the dead, or invented out of whole cloth.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.