Our VoiceImmigration

America’s Unfinished History of Scientific Racism


Jill Garvey • Oct 27, 2009

Buried in the first half of the 20th century are the shocking practices of our state and federal governments.

One such practice was the forced sterilization of over 60,000 people. These horribly cruel acts were advocated by a group of so-called scientists who thought they had the right to control human reproduction and evolution. They called themselves “eugenicists,” believing that if they could not control the world’s population, they could at least attempt to control America’s.

At the heart of their studies and political ambitions was and is the belief that they could build a superior race of human beings.

Whenever I hear or read about eugenics I can’t help recalling the final scenes of the James Bond movie Moonraker (1979), when the villain Drax vocalizes his plot to repopulate Earth with a super race of his own design. Perhaps the most telling shots are those of Jaws (Bond’s over-sized nemesis) as he begins to realize that he won’t be considered a “desirable” repopulater, i.e. he’ll be eradicated with the rest of humankind.

Thank goodness Jaws decides to switch sides and join forces with James Bond.

I guess being excluded from the ‘superior race’ can do that to a person. This Bond movie, while possibly one of the worst, was no doubt exploring the motives behind the international tragedies humankind had inflicted upon itself in decades past.

In his book War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, Edwin Black writes:

“American eugenic crusades proliferated into a worldwide campaign, and in the 1920s came to the attention of Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, careening out of control into the Reich’s infamous genocide. During the pre-War years, American eugenicists openly supported Germany’s program.”

The same eugenicists who openly supported Nazi Germany also appeared as witnesses before Congress to advocate against immigration in the 1920s.

It is believed that they helped pass laws that ranked immigrants based on ethnicity. At the time, Nordic and Anglo Europeans were considered the most “pure”; Asian immigrants were considered the least desireable.

Over time, eugenics movements have found genetic fault with nearly every ethnic group outside of the “Nordic race.” The following groups have been amongst their targets over the past 100 years: brunettes, Gypsies, Africans, Jews, brown eyes, Southern and Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, etc. into infinity.

Despite being almost wholly renounced and reviled around the world after World War II, eugenics and its practitioners survive.

Sterilization programs remained intact into the 1980s in some states. The eugenics movement of the 20th century has robbed untold numbers of Americans of their right to control their own futures. Perhaps its biggest influence is evidenced amongst the leaders of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement.

One doesn’t have to look further than the leading “immigration restrictionist” groups, as they often caustiously label themselves, to discover strong connections with eugenics movements.

According to the Center for New Community, John Tanton, the founder of such influential groups as Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Center for Immigration Studies, is mirroring his early-century mentors and employing doctrines of eugenics to fuel an anti-immigrant crusade.

The founder of FAIR has financially supported platforms to debate pseudo-scientific research (racial eugenics) purporting to show that African Americans and Latinos are mentally inferior to whites because of their genetic makeup. Tanton’s activism with regard to racial eugenics is based on the disturbing belief that those identified as the most productive “gene pool of the human stock” should be the ones with access to and control over scarce resources.

It is time for elected officials and mainstream media to scrutinize more closely the motives behind these so-called “immigration restrictionists.”

As for the rest of us, do we stand with the anti-immigrant movement or would we rather be counted as one among the undesirable masses?

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