The Lost Tapes: Nixon's Rants and Racism Now Public


Fifteen years after 37th U.S. President Richard Nixon passed away, thousands of papers and over 150 hours of tapes from Nixon's oval office—made between January and February 1973—have been dumped, via the National Archives, into the American collective consciousness. (Check the audio files and some documents here). And as you would expect, they're quite the epilogue to an already sordid, colorful and controversial political career.

Many smart folks are sifting through the tapes and transcripts now—but The NEW YORK TIMES report flags an early, ugly find from the day that the abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court:

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”


Yuck. One can't even excuse Nixon for being a product of his time—the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision came years after the Loving v. Virginia case that legalized interracial marriage, and over a decade after young mixed-race children like, um, Barack Obama began to be born.


MORE: Be sure to check out THE ROOT's coverage of mixed-race couples, the Loving v. Virginia case, abortion rights, and the Supreme Court's recent activity.

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