Racial Conspiracy Theories, Family structure

Study Reveals Top Racial Conspiracy Theories Black People Believe About Government Interference Of Family Structure And Reproduction

New research finds the two top racial conspiracy theories Black people believe about government interference in the Black family.

New findings from the Pew Research Center unveiled the two top racial conspiracy theories Black people have come to believe over the last century.

According to the Pew study, about six in 10 Black adults (62%) are aware of racial conspiracy theories about government intervention in their family structure and family planning. 62% of Black adults believe the U.S. government has encouraged single motherhood over the years to eliminate the need for Black men. 58% of Black adults think the government promotes birth control and abortion to Black women to keep the Black population small.

Past research dating back to the 1960s found that “man in the house” rules introduced by social welfare programs prevented women who received government assistance from having a man present in the household. If a woman who received welfare payments were found with a man in their home during a welfare home visit, the woman would be accused of welfare fraud and no longer receive payments.

The rule is believed to have encouraged women from having or pursuing relationships with men while receiving welfare benefits. While the Supreme Court shut down these rules in 1968, the stigma it put on Black people remained.

Ideologies about birth control being used to weaken the Black population date back to the formation of Planned Parenthood and its founder, Margaret Sanger. In 2022, Reuters claimed that a 1939 quote from Sanger was being taken out of context on social media.

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she wrote.

Taken from Sanger’s 1939 The Negro Project, the piece was released with the goal of expanding birth control services for Black communities in the South. While the quote was real and used to advocate for the employment of Black physicians and ministers who could more easily gain the trust of the communities they were trying to serve, Sanger wanted to avoid the suspicion that the program sought to stop Black people from having babies, which having a leadership team of predominantly white people could create.

“The minister’s work is also important, and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation, as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach,” Sanger wrote.

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

When it comes to belief about the government encouraging single motherhood among Black women, more Black men are more aware of this notion, with 65% having heard the idea compared to 59% of Black women. As to if the conspiracy is still happening today, 55% of Black adults believe so.

As for whether the government promotes birth control to control the Black population, 51% of Black adults believe it still occurs today. Black adults with higher education and income levels are the least likely to believe in racial conspiracy theories related to reproductive health.

Only 44% of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher believe that the government is promoting birth control and abortion to manage the Black population size. In contrast, 53% of Black adults with some college education or only a high school diploma hold this belief. Additionally, 58% of Black adults with lower incomes are the most likely among income groups to believe that the government is using reproductive health techniques to control the Black population.

Research also finds that Black Republicans are more likely than Black Democrats to believe these racial conspiracy theories still exist today. Black Americans living in the Midwest (57%) are more likely than those in any other U.S. region to believe that the government is still promoting birth control and abortion to control the size of the Black population. Additionally, Black adults in rural (56%) and urban (54%) areas are more likely than those in suburban areas (46%) to hold this belief.

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