Idaho Planned Parenthood agreed to racist donation

ppidaho.jpgPlanned Parenthood of Idaho is taking (justifiable) heat after an employee agreed to take a donation aimed at aborting black fetuses.

The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.
On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because “the less black kids out there the better.”
Kersey laughed nervously and said: “Understandable, understandable. … Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited and want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.”

You can read the whole exchange here and listen to it here; it was part of an anti-choice effort to “catch” abortion providers taking funds from obviously racist donors.
What so awful about this, in addition to Kersey’s horrifying response on the call, is that this plays directly into anti-choice talking points about abortion and race.
Rebecca Poedy, CEO of PP of Idaho said, “A fundraising employee violated the organization’s principles and practices when she appeared to be willing to accept a racially motivated donation…We apologize for the manner in which this offensive call was handled. We take full responsibility for the actions of the fundraising staff member who created the impression that racism of any form would be tolerated at Planned Parenthood. We took swift action to ensure that each of our employees understands their responsibility to communicate clearly with donors about the fact that we believe in helping all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, make informed decisions about their reproductive health care.”

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  • heathersf

    avast-
    you misquoted me, but that’s ok.
    the part where i suggest people just get honest and admit that this woman was racist isn’t an argument, its the only response that has any integrity…
    the argument (or evidence for madam jury chair) is presented quite clearly in the call.
    man, the racism was evident as soon as he starts talking about affirmative action and wanting to have less black kids out there. that would have been a good point for her to end the call.
    you have demonstrated glaringly simplistic ideas about racism, and a great willingness to excuse it.
    that middle finger your throwing up to the advocate is also a sign to all those allied against racism, in all its subtle, insidious forms, that you don’t take it seriously.

  • EG

    This was someone dishonest running rings around an unsuspecting person to get her to say something embarassing.
    The only way this woman could have fallen for it, however, was if she didn’t mind saying something racist. That doesn’t mean that she has secretly wanted there to be fewer black babies all along. It means that she didn’t have a problem expressing agreement with an obviously racist statement, whether or not she really agreed with it, because she didn’t think that the obviously racist statement was so outrageous as to merit a swift rejection and denunciation. And that’s racist.
    Come on, “unsuspecting”? Like, what, white people have to be given a pre-emptive heads-up in order for them to remember that saying that there are too many black babies in the world is racist and wrong?
    Honestly, I don’t give a fuck if she’s secretly been harboring racist thoughts her whole life, or hates black babies, or just slipped up in the heat of the moment. (Actually, I do care if she hates black babies, because that really makes her a foul person, but in the context of what PP’s response should be, I don’t.) I don’t care about her purity of heart or otherwise. The fact is that, acting as a public face of Planned Parenthood, an organization that has had to work to shed the stigma of Sanger’s eugencism and an organization that has often been regarded with suspicion by black communities, she vocally agreed that the world would be better off with fewer black people in it. End of story. Whether she felt terrible about it right afterward, whether it reflects her innermost thoughts, that doesn’t matter.
    When an organization is publicly embarrassed in this manner, in order to even begin regaining the trust the wronged group, the organization has to demonstrate that it is taking the problem seriously and distancing itself from the employee who did the foul thing. In this case, PP has to fire Kersey. She did something racist in PP’s name; not only does she deserve to take the heat for that, but PP’s integrity and good name as an organization depend on her taking the heat for that.
    Do you really expect black women to say “Oh, we understand, you were just manipulated, heck, anybody could be talked into admitting that we shouldn’t be having kids”? PP-Idaho needs to do some serious make-up work, and it wouldn’t hurt for the national organization to issue a no-holds-barred condemnation.

  • kenyatticee

    ^5 malaika924, you’ve said everything that I have been thinking and you have said it much better than I could have. Thank you…..

  • avast2006

    I’ve spent the last I don’t know how many posts complaining about one specific set of objections to one specific incident, and that translates to a “great willingness to excuse [racism]“? Wait a minute. I thought racism was this enormous edifice, constructed brick by brick. I’ve been objecting to the twisted nature of one specific brick. That’s a “great willingness to excuse”? You haven’t shown your work.
    As far as being simplistic about racism, consider the following. LA Advocate’s attack strategy can be summed up like this: “I’m going to pretend very publicly to be your worst PR nightmare, and when you are insufficiently quick to denounce me, your own supporters will tear you to shreds.” I happened to notice how this little gem of cynicism worked, and called it what it is, a very dirty trick. You, on the other hand, are doing exactly as the LA Advocate intended, certainly to Kersey and arguably to the organization. Congratulations on falling for Advocate’s ploy. And yet I’m the simple one.
    Oh well, at least we have come to consensus on one thing: Kersey’s individual mindset is irrelevant in doling out punishment. You’ve said yourself you don’t care about her purity of heart or otherwise. So there’s little point in determining whether she was trying to trace the phone line or what. I may as well drop that line of reasoning, since it won’t matter one whit to the verdict whether it’s true or not. What is important is not her actual racism or lack thereof, but the appearance of racism that her comments provoke. Just so we’re all agreed now, it’s appearance over substance. (How very just.) Someone has to pay for that embarassing appearance. C’est la guerre.

  • http://dont-read.blogspot.com Malaika924

    You haven’t shown your work.
    I and everyone else who have disagreed with you have been trying to drill a little knowledge into your head – even going so far as making a few concessions towards your point – but if you don’t want to open your eyes, then that’s not our problem; it’s yours. And you’re the one who has to live with it. Sleep well.
    As far as being simplistic about racism, consider the following…
    Translation: “…blah, blah… look over here and see what the Advocate is doing…racism from PP? What, me worry?”
    And yet I’m the simple one.
    Now, you’re getting it.
    Oh well, at least we have come to consensus on one thing: Kersey’s individual mindset is irrelevant in doling out punishment. You’ve said yourself you don’t care about her purity of heart or otherwise. So there’s little point in determining whether she was trying to trace the phone line or what.
    Reach a little higher! That straw is just out of your grasp!
    What is important is not her actual racism or lack thereof, but the appearance of racism that her comments provoke. Just so we’re all agreed now, it’s appearance over substance. (How very just.)
    Intent is a moot point. Even in instances of sexism, it’s a moot point. Example: The “Problem. Solved!” tee-shirt. The intent was a humor, but the actuality was the complacency for violence against women. Ms. Kersey’s intent was to raise money for a good cause, but the actuality was complacency against racism.
    In other words: If you don’t want to be called a racist, DON’T SAY RACIST SHIT.

  • EG

    In other words: If you don’t want to be called a racist, DON’T SAY RACIST SHIT.
    Exactly. EXACTLY. I don’t see what’s so hard to grasp about this. Just as a man making a sexist comment doesn’t get to decide whether or not his comment was “really” sexist or if offended women are just being “unreasonable,” a white person who makes a racist comment doesn’t get to decide whether or not her comment was “really” racist. Is not saying racist shit really too high of a standard to hold people to?
    The intent of the privileged person DOES. NOT. MATTER. If a guy on the street means “shake that ass, baby” as a compliment, I do not care. It is sexual harrassment.
    LA Advocate’s attack strategy can be summed up like this: “I’m going to pretend very publicly to be your worst PR nightmare, and when you are insufficiently quick to denounce me, your own supporters will tear you to shreds.”
    Ah, no. If only. In fact, it is “when you utterly fail to denounce me.”
    Also…trace the call? What is this, Law and Order? PP doesn’t have the facilities to trace calls. And, what, they’re gonna call the cops and say “Please, put a trace on this line,” and the cops will ask why, and they’ll say “There’s a guy on here saying racist things”? Being a racist isn’t a crime, and no cop is gonna trace a call to find out who the racist is. PP doesn’t have the resources to trace a call, and why would they bother, anyway? Why would you need to trace calls, when you could say “Sir, we do not accept racist donations” and hang the fuck up?

  • Mark Temporis

    Racist or not, the donor was factually correct: the less people there are of ANY COLOR, the better.

  • subgrrl8

    I’m coming real late to this party, but was hesitant to respond because of how vilified the PP employees are in this thread.
    I know one of the people affected by this prank. When this came out, she was physically ill byt he implications- for PP, for herself, and for the cause of choice. She INSISTS that the audio HAS BEEN TAMPERED WITH. The audio has been PURPOSEFULLY edited to make the PP employees sound like racists assholes.
    “OMG!” you must be thinking. “I thought that this was serious journalism!”
    Well, guess what? IT’S NOT. The assholes deliberately led the employees into the call with promises of giving money to “those who can’t afford teh choice” and then the LAST THING they said was the “so there are less black babies” thing. Then they took the audio- taken without permission or without the knowledge of the employees- and edited it to make the employees sound like racists.
    She was devastated, just utterly decimated, when it came out. She was sick with worry about how this would look to the outside, and even to other feminists. She is NOT racist, not even one little bit.
    And I’m sorry, but if YOU are going to believe some right-wing pro-“life” assholes over our OWN FUCKING PP PEOPLE, then you are just naive.
    Of course, there is no way to prove that digital audio has been tampered with. And the transcripts are taken from this edited audio, so there’s no proof there. But I believe what my friend has said on this. She is a courageous full-time PP employee. She is an artist and a great person. She in no way shape or form is racist, not even a little bit.
    Think about who you are vilifying before you post, people.
    It makes me think really bad things about the Feministing peeps, and I don’t want to, because this has been a really good forum for feminism and activism. But don’t believe what these shmucks are peddling. It’s not true, it’s all just designed to do what you all just did- break our lines by villifying our own people. Don’t play into it.

  • Jenna

    I know her too; and I still can see the rationale behind why people are angry. It’s not personal – I do like her. But that seems immaterial to the issue at hand.
    But something you said here struck me – “She is NOT racist, not even one little bit.” I’ve got to take issue with that, because as it’s been pointed out here time and again, racism is an inherent part of the culture. To some extent, all White people carry those messages inside themselves. And yes, that’s hard to admit. But if you’re going to make a full commitment to ending oppression, confronting that is imperative. It makes no difference whether or not she’s a great person – the point is that this has caused damage. Intent doesn’t always outweigh outcome.
    Also, I’m having a hard time understanding why pointing out a need for increased education around race is so painful. I’m not trying to vilify anyone; but the fact remains that White women need to be accountable when they screw up, inadvertently or not.

  • lauren

    This is the most ridiculous “controversy” ever. Of COURSE they should humor this person, take the money and and put it on whatever PP needs to fund. Idiot money is just as green as kind, liberal money.
    I feel terrible for the person who answered the phone– they were just doing their job: be nice, get money. Unfortunately they weren’t trained to deal with PR stunts.