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By: John G. West November 8, 2011 11:35 AM | Permalink
North Carolina is all over the news this week as it deals with the shameful legacy of its eugenics program that forcibly sterilized minorities, the poor, and others well into the 1970s. Ironically, this same week Hollywood is releasing on DVD the film Alleged, a new feature-length movie that dramatizes the personal impact of forced sterilization in the American South.
The main focus of Alleged is the infamous Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1920s Tennessee, but a key subplot depicts the attempt to sterilize a mixed-race girl who is wrongly labeled feeble-minded based on her family history and IQ tests. The subplot is fictional, but it draws on the actual history of forced sterilization at the time.
The movie correctly shows how many doctors and scientists in America embraced forced sterilization because of the so-called science of eugenics, which sought to breed better human beings by applying Darwinian principles.
Darwin himself helped provide the inspiration for eugenics in Chapter 5 of his book The Descent of Man, where he argued that civilized societies were degrading the human race by inoculating people against smallpox, helping the poor, and saving the sick. According to Darwin, by preserving defective people that natural selection would have killed off, we were ruining the human race: “No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”
More from the Movie – The Darwin Trial:
Darwin was ambivalent about what to do about this problem, one time writing that human sympathy wouldn’t allow us to go back to the law of the jungle, and other times insisting that if man “is to advance still higher he must remain subject to a severe struggle.”
Darwin’s followers were not so double-minded. Like Darwin, they thought that simply reinstating natural selection would be cruel, and so they suggested that a more humane approach would be to re-institute selection by sterilizing or segregating those natural selection would have killed off. Thus, the “science” of eugenics was born.
Although eugenics involved artificial selection rather than natural selection, it was based fully on Darwinian ideology. Indeed, the whole reason we needed to apply artificial selection according to eugenists was because we had abandoned natural selection. We had to reinstate something equivalent to natural selection in human society or we were doomed.
Eugenics is typically regarded today as an example of fringe science from the past. In reality, it was the consensus view of the scientific community for decades, and it was embraced in particular by the leading evolutionary biologists at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. Refreshingly, Alleged accurately conveys both the pervasiveness of eugenics in scientific and medical circles of the 1920s, and its ideological connection to Darwinism.
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How Eugenics against Black People is still being carried out today- Darwin is NOT dead:
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( H/T) Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967. The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized. Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.
“I have to carry these scars with me. I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.
Riddick was never told what was happening. “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said. “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”
Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”
“I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina. They took something from me both times,” she said. “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given.”
It wouldn’t be until Riddick was 19, married and wanting more children, that she’d learn she was incapable of having any more babies. A doctor in New York where she was living at the time told her that she’d been sterilized.
“Butchered. The doctor used that word… I didn’t understand what she meant when she said I had been butchered,” Riddick said.
North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program. By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs.
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“They cut me open like I was a hog,” said Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at age 14. “I didn’t even know nothing about this stuff.”
Riddick, now 57, said her only crime was being poor, BLACK, and from a bad home environment.
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Listen to what the State of North Carolina’s Eugenic Board (Funded by Margaret Sanger supporter- Clarence Gamble more below) did to this “African American woman” : Elaine Riddick
( this clip below from the powerful documentary on eugenics and black genocide called: Maafa21 )
Clarence Gamble a supporter and funder of the founder of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger… funded the North Carolina Eugenics Society which sterilized this woman and many black women as well. Click Here : Clarence Gamble.
Gamble also supported Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Movement. Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood and she had many of her board members and presidents were members of the American Eugenics Society.
According to the North Carolina Winston-Salem Journal, “Clarence Gamble who helped found the Human Betterment League of North Carolina in 1947 did so to promote eugenic sterilization. Journal research shows a long history of abuses in the N.C. sterilization program – abuses that Gamble consistently glossed over..” Gamble wanted sterilizations to increase rather than decrease, and increase they did.
Think the targeting of blacks for sterilization was coincidence? Just like they way they are targeted today for abortion??? Think again:
Read what Planned Parenthood Founder, Margaret Sanger, wrote to Dr. Clarence Gamble (who funded the State of North Carolina’s Eugenics Programs) in a letterdated December 19, 1939,
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. The minister’s work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation [of Eugenicists] as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” that plan was called “The NEGRO Project”.
Read all the ways Eugenics Financier Clarence Gamble supporter Planned Parenthood’s founder: Margaret Sanger, on the website of the Pathfinder Website, an organization founded by Clarence Gamble Here
Learn More on eugenics in the film Maafa21 (trailer below)
NEVER NEVER FORGET WHAT THESE EUGENICS PEOPLE DID:
Lela Mae Moore Dunston lives in Raleigh, just a few miles away from where a board of men and women she’d never met voted to have her sterilized in March of 1963.
She was 13, living with her mother in Wilmington, and pregnant with her first child. It would be the only child the state would allow her to have.
Dunston, who was termed “mildly retarded” as the justification for sterilization, says she is not mentally handicapped and is one of a growing number of sterilization victims demanding that the state compensate them. Their mental evaluations were often based on flawed intelligence testing. Others were sterilized for reasons including epilepsy, blindness or rumors of promiscuity.
Many of these victims have read the petitions for sterilizations that social workers wrote about them. Often, they contain more racism and class prejudice than hard facts. The petition to sterilize Dunston says that she and her mother “live in an area that has a low socio-economic level.” Dunston is described as “a rather alert little Negro girl” who “wore a very ragged sweater and her hair literally stood on end all over her head.”
That was “a bunch of baloney,” Dunston said.
In the early 1960s, as Gov. Terry Sanford was leading North Carolina through integration, the sterilization program, which operated beneath the radar, began targeting black women of modest means. Sometimes, the petitions contained outright lies, as in this line from Dunston’s: “Both the mother and Lela Mae understand that sterilization will result in Lela Mae not being able to reproduce and both seem happy with this.”
Dunston said she didn’t know what the operation was about. “I was only 13,” Dunston said. “Thirteen years old you don’t know nothing about this kind of mess. You’re a child yourself.”
Elaine Riddick: “I have to get out what the state of North Carolina did to me. I am not feeble minded. I’ve never been feeble minded. They slandered me. They ridiculed and harassed me. They cut me open like I was a hog, My body was too young for what they did to me. I had to have a child at the age of 14. When I had my son, at the same time they took my child in cesarean and then did that to me. What do you think I’m worth? … I’ve never had nobody to take care of me. I’ve had to do this all by myself. I never had anyone give me anything. I had to pick my own self up…What am I worth? The kids I didn’t have. Couldn’t have. What are they worth?”
Tony Riddick added, “You harmed my mother and killed her womb . When u look forward – It’s genocide – premeditated murder – you deserve to be punished….This is sinister. I know I don’t have the power to bring justice myself….We say we are a nation that’s concerned and compassionate and these victims have not been compensated yet. For my mother, it’s been 43 years…God will hold you accountable for what you have done to my mom.”
“This right here is a good example of what God is capable of doing.My mother’s life and my life, by ANY measure, would have been, should have been, COULD have been totally written off.”
LeLa Dunston (victim)
“I can’t have no babies…They told me to sign papers. I didn’t sign papers. That was not my signature on these papers…I need a reward or something…some kind of compensation for all they put me through. I wanted more children. I wouldn’t have minded having a daughter. Maybe two, maybe three.”
Australia Clay (victim’s family member)
“Every victim that went through any of this victimization was a guinea pig. A science guinea pig. It was bogus medicine. Bogus science…This is North Carolina’s holocaust. We need a wall. We need a library. My mother needs her name and picture in a library room.”
Melissa Hyatt (victim’s loved one)
“Nobody explained what the surgery was for, at least to him.”
Karen Beck (victim’s family member)
“I’m sure the surgeons that wielded the knives against their small bodies believed they were doing the right thing. Indeed, how could any of them be wrong?”
Deborah Chesson (victim’s family member)
“The eugenics board has deemed my mother nothing. To me, she is everything….You tore families apart. You hurt people. There’s no compensation that can put that back.”
Janice Black’s crooked signature crawls across the consent form. She didn’t know what kind of paper she was signing. Her name was the only thing she knew how to write. It was 1971. She was 18. Janice’s IQ had tested out at 44. Her estimated mental age was 7. Her family decided she wasn’t fit to raise children.
Her stepmother took her to Charlotte Memorial Hospital. Janice didn’t know why. She didn’t feel sick. She woke in a hospital bed. She tried to get up, and it hurt. She looked and saw an incision from her belly button on down. The state of North Carolina had sterilized her.“Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been born, you know what I’m saying?” she says. “Sometimes I – what I feel like – that I wasn’t treated fairly. Like I was a human being. I was treated like I’m not no human being.”