Science in Disguise

Eugenics was the scientific field of bettering the human race through breeding and ensuring that certain genes could not be passed on through forced sterilization. Scientists and eugenicists would justify this by means of the theory of natural selection; essentially that it was natural and completely normal to try to further the human race by choosing for certain genes to either be present or not present. As far as whether eugenics provides an idea that separates society from science, I think that it actually proves that the two cannot be separated. The field of eugenics did not come from a desire to “better the human race.” While the situations with the sterilizations of mentally ill were seen as a way to ensure no more continued negative traits, we can see from the data of California hospitals that this was not the entire truth. These people that were not only sterilized, but forcefully sterilized, included “promiscuous” women, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Japanese, and other minority groups. In Nazi Germany, it was specific ethnic and demographic groups that experienced the full force impact of eugenics as well. All of the people that were considered “necessarily sterilized” under the umbrella of the field of eugenics were not targets of negative genetic traits; they were instead the targets of complete and utter racism, and also at times xenophobia. Even though eugenics was developed under the idea of a scientific premise (law of natural selection), it would never have been in any way a purely scientific thing. It has always been associated with controlling the reproduction of those society has deemed as “lesser than” and just another way that people try to justify discrimination. 

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