In recent years, many colleges and universities have elected to change the names of certain buildings and campus centers. These name changes have been driven primarily by political concerns: many of the buildings and centers were named after controversial historical figures whom present society regards as problematic if not downright unseemly.
Progressive activists at the University of Michigan are demanding that a building’s name be changed for these very reasons, asking that the university rename a classroom building bearing the name of former Michigan president and noted eugenicist C.C. Little.
However, as one Michigan student points out, the activists are engaging in a bit of selective outrage.
“Little’s detractors conveniently overlook he co-founded a group with Margaret Sanger that would later become known as Planned Parenthood, an organization the university continues to support,” writes University of Michigan freshman Alex Hostetler in The Detroit News.
In the early 20th century, Hotstetler writes, C.C. Little served as president of the university. “While president, Little was consistently at odds with other university leaders due to his outspoken views on birth control, euthanasia and eugenics.”
“In 1929,” Hotstetler reveals, “he left the university and became president of The American Eugenics Society, a group dedicated to ‘improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes of people’.”
Hotstetler points out that, if the activists demanding that Little’s name be stripped from the building “truly opposed what Little stood for,” then they would “face the truth that he created their beloved ‘health clinic’ Planned Parenthood, on those same principles they allegedly despise.”
Indeed, Little co-founded Planned Parenthood with Sanger, which would later become the primary home of the “great eugenic advances of our time,” as told by Frederick Osborn in his essay “Organized Eugenics.” Sanger, with the help of Little, successfully planted her clinics in the lowest income regions of the country, targeting the poor, the disabled and African-Americans.
While many challenge the belief that Planned Parenthood remains rooted in this troubled past, the statistics demonstrate otherwise. Only 15 percent of all neighborhoods in the U.S. are predominantly non-white, yet they contain more than 40 percent of the abortion clinics. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, black women make up 14 percent of Michigan’s female population, yet accounted for 51 percent of abortions in 2016.
As professors and students at the University of Michigan reject C.C. Little for being a racist and eugenicist, they turn a blind eye to his true impact. The university has links on its websites promoting Planned Parenthood, reaching out to college students in need of “pregnancy care.”
“While the protesters profess to denounce the former UM president’s support of eugenics,” Hotstetler observes, “they ignore the de facto eugenics being practiced by Planned Parenthood.”