Before we go any further, this posting is NOT asking anybody to boycott anything. I am not writing about the Procter and Gamble corporation; I am writing about the private activities of the owners and operators, and their families. You may go ahead and buy your soap in peace.
One of the founders of P&G was Clarence Gamble. In addition to selling soap, Mr. Gamble was also a hard-core racist. Having made his millions, he sought ways to fund his quest for racial purity. Enter Margaret Sanger and her organization, Planned Parenthood. She devised a scheme known as the "Negro Project", with the stated goal of reducing the birthrate among African-Americans. Gamble funded it generously.
This was part of a larger social movement at the time known as "Eugenics", the desire and attempt to control human breeding so that only the "best" and "fittest" people would procreate. There were various forms of Eugenics, from state eugenics (controlled by the government in the interests of the state), to vicious quests for "racial purity". Margaret Sanger would go on to be invited by the KKK to speak at one of their rallies; she happily accepted the invitation, and considered her speech there a success.
The Gamble family's racist quest continued into the next generation: Sarah Gamble Epstein, Clarence's daughter, publicly defends and supports the government of mainland communist China and its program of forced abortion against the will of pregnant women. She states that Americans should be "praising China for looking forward", and that Chinese women should know that it is "both patriotic and beneficial" to cooperate with the government's program of involuntary abortions.
Other financial leaders were involved in funding racist schemes: the Carnegie Institute, founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, funded the work of Charles Davenport, who took eugenics into the sphere of government policy. Following the ideas of Francis Galton, who first proposed the intentional breeding of humans, Davenport, and his assistant, Harry Laughlin, encouraged the U.S. government to reduce the immigration quotas for those seen as "racially inferior", including Jews. This was during the 1930's, when Hitler was gearing up for the Holocaust, which would begin in 1938. Jews who might have lived were denied admission to the U.S. and forced to remain in Germany. Laughlin praised the Nazi policies of enforced sterilization and breeding, and received an honorary doctorate in eugenics from the Nazi government.
Wesley Smith, an opponent of eugenics, writes that "eugenics springs from a poisoned intellectual well. The very idea that we have the right to decide which human traits to enhance and which to eradicate is what leads to trouble. Social pressures can oppress even without formal government actions. Besides, if the new eugenics became popular, it wouldn't take long for politicians to get into the act." The "new eugenics" to which Smith refers are the attempts at genetic engineering, combined with decisions based on pre-natal testing.
Author Harry Brunius asks, "what is the foundation of human dignity ... ? Or, more precisely, what is the ... basis for individual rights ... ?"