“Unwed white girls who became pregnant in the postwar years were considered psychologically disturbed but treatable, whereas their black counterparts were presumed to be biologically hypersexual and deviant. Historian Rickie Solinger demonstrates that in the 1950s an unwed white girl who became pregnant could go to a maternity home before her pregnancy showed, deliver the baby and give it up for adoption, and return home to her community with no one the wiser. (White parents concocted stories of their daughters being given the opportunity to study for a semester with relatives.) She could then resume the role of the “nice” girl.
Unwed pregnant black girls, on the other hand, were barred from maternity homes; they were threatened with jail or termination of welfare; and they were accused of using their sexuality in order to be eligible for larger welfare checks. Politicians regarded unwed pregnant black girls as a societal problem, declaring—as they continue to declare today—that they did not want taxpayers to support black illegitimate babies, and sought to control black female sexuality through sterilization legislation.”
– Leora Tanenbaum, Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation
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