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Back to the eugenics drawing board in SC

“We pick up stray animals and spay them. These mothers need to be spayed if they can’t take care of theirs. Once they have a child and it’s running the street, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable.”
— Charleston, SC City Councilman Larry Shirley, “starting a dialogue” on how to reduce crime. He later “apologized.”

South Carolina was one of many states that used to sterilize people in prisons and institutions. The state did not apologize to its citizens until 2003.

Unfortunately, Larry Shirley must have missed that bit of business when he felt the need to “joke” about crime reduction techniques. To refer to sterilization is bad enough, but to call it “spaying” implies he thinks minorities are animals. That’s an outrage. (MSNBC):

“I know we can’t really sterilize people, but I wanted to start the dialogue,” Councilman Larry Shirley said Monday. “I could have done that over tea and crumpets, but we’ve been doing that. Nothing has happened. But if they don’t want a dialogue, I’ll shut my mouth.”

“I apologize to those I upset, but I believe this crime has got to stop,” Shirley said.

Black leaders have called for Shirley’s resignation, and the councilman said he has received death threats.

He’s ignoring calls for his resignation.

And that’s the Tony Snow Lesson on Racism for today.


Graphic: The fabulous Mike Tidmus for the Blend

Read my earlier post for the Tar Heel state’s history on forced sterilization. A snippet:

Over thirty states had eugenics programs like this one. You may want to do a little digging into your state’s history. These procedures were ruled constitutional in Buck v. Bell, a 1924 Supreme Court decision that is still the law of the land.

the health of the patient and the welfare of society may be promoted in certain cases by the sterilization of mental defectives, under careful safeguard, &c.; that the sterilization may be effected in males by vasectomy and in females by salpingectomy, without serious pain or substantial danger to life; that the Commonwealth is supporting in various institutions many defective persons who if now discharged would become a menace but if incapable of procreating might be discharged with safety and become self-supporting with benefit to themselves and to society; and that experience has shown that heredity plays an important part in the transmission of insanity, imbecility.

H/t, Warren O.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding