Eugenics – how it has affected Deaf and others with disabilities

Have you ever wondered why …

to be beautiful you have to have flawless skin, blonde hair, and be thin?
a husband must be “tall dark and handsome?
your value is based on your IQ, SOL, or SAT scores?
“people of color” were so actively discriminated against
the reason for Ellis Island
Jews were turned back from entering America in the early 1920’s
laws were passed forbidding marriage of “certain types of people”
people “encouraged” parents who had children with disabilities to institutionalize them
intermarriage of “races” was illegal
Deaf were not allowed to use sign language ?

You might say ok – that was in the old days. But those attitudes are still with us. Its there in the “you have to get good grades to get into college” its there when parents say “what family does he come from ?” its ingrained when older people tell young parents ” you shouldnt have your (disabled/handicapped) child in public – its there when a poor black teenager is forced to have an abortion- its there when a doctor tells a pregnant woman “your child has Down Syndrome.any type of disability and here is where to solve the problem” Its there when anything that a person with a disability needs to be more independent costs more -when the average person can get it at a cheap price, Where did these attitudes come from ?? These are links to sites that explain the roots of it all. Unfortunately the people who started it all left their legacy and it continues today

Focus on Deaf

Eugenics Archive
Vlog in ASl about eugenics and Deafness
Deaf culture and eugenics
Deaf and the Holocaust
Deaf German experience in the Holocaust
Gallaudet  – Eugenics and the American Experience
Eugenics and sterilization in the Deaf community
The Experience of the Deaf during the Holocaust
Deaf History Lecture -Eugenics through the back door
Eugenics and Disability Discrimination 
The Holocaust -Deaf perspective -on video in sign language
Inerview with Holocaust survivor in ASL
Deaf people of the Holocaust  -ASL

General information
Old and new eugenics
Galton letters – views of “inferior people”
Death of the Defenseless – focus on Galton 
Eugenics beginnings in Britain
History and Politics of Eugenics
Biology and genetic engineering
Eugenics and its Shadow chapter tw0        chapter 4
Eugenics history – University of Missouri
“Science” of Eugenics
Members of Social Biology -Formerly known as the American Eugenics Society – 1945 to present  includes articles that they wrote with documentation as to the University/Research group they were affiliated with Colorado
Harvard and the Holocaust

Organizations fighting eugenic attitudes today

Terri Schindler Schiavo
National Right To Life


Eugenics is usually defined as a science that believes that socially accepted traits are heriditary. That means that if your parents were lazy and dirty that meant you automatically would be too. If your parents were poor then you would too. That is the SCIENCE but the philosophy behind the science was much more crude and destructive. The fear behind the so called science was that White Northern Europeans who lived in America were being outnumbered by Southern Europeans(which included Jews) Blacks and anyone who could not trace their ancestry to the early New Englanders. There was also the fear that “poor white trash” the “mentally unstable ” and the ” physically unfit” would also take over the country and be the end of it. So in the late 1800’s and into the mid 1930’s  a campaign was begun to eliminate the above. Anyone who was not physically fit was put into an institution or sterilized. Immigration laws were restricted (which is why thousands were turned away at Ellis Island)for anyone from Southern Europe or Russia.  Jim Crow laws were put into effect in the South to “keep the Negro in his place” as a laborer. Paul Popanoe wrote ” Applied Eugenics” in 1916.   He worked closely with European countries to ensure that there would be “More room” for them and excluding the Slavs and Jews.  Germany put his book into practice and the results are known worldwide.  According to the Eugenics leaders certain peoples would be allowed to live -as long as their numbers were limited. However when it came to disabilities the consensus was that they did not deserve to live. It became shameful and embarrassment to produce an imperfect child. A mother who did so could fear (and rightly so) that her children would be sterilized and that the entire family would be ostracized. Families kept their handicapped children “in the back room out of sight” not because they were themselves ashamed but because the state could come in and forcibly remove the child from the home. Not to mention the safety of the child from the potential dangers of wringer washers, open wood stoves, farm animals,  lye and other dangers. For decades school children were taught that to be disabled was to be shamed and an embarrassment and akin to being not quite evolved. Is it any wonder that bullies were given free reign on the playground to attack anyone they deemed weaker than they?

For those who blame Hitler for coming up with the idea of gassing people  and for the Super Race I am going to quote from a book that I recently downloaded for free – this was published in 1911  in America !

the Progress of Eugenics – page 50

” a motley literature , for the most part marked by advocacy of radical remedies , has been another result. An extreme example is W.D. McKim’s  Heridity and Human Progress,  the author of which satisfied “that heredity is the fundamental cause of human wretchedness” and without faith in the adequacy of systematic segregation to root out the evils he describes, argues for  Nature’s method of elimination by means of a gentle painless death” from carbonic acid gas asphyxiation, “restricting the plan however to the very weak and the very vicious ” idiots, imbeciles, most epileptics, insane, or incorrigible criminals, and others who for one grave cause or another are now supported or detained by the State”

One of the obstacles to the eugenics goals was the belief that Christians had that all people were created by God and were valuable. Paul (author of the above mentioned Applied Eugenics) deals with this in a chapter on how to get religious people to support eugenics. He writes on page 397  ” 2. Reward and punishment in a future life. Here the belief in the absolute,verbal inspiration of sacred writings and the doctrine of salvation by faith alone are rapidly passing, and it is therefore the easier to bring eugenics into this type of religion. Even where salvation by faith is still held as an article of creed,it is accompanied by the concession that he who truly believes will  manifest his belief by works……..What is needed here then is to impress upon the leaders in this field that eugenics is a “good work” and as such they may properly include it along with other modern virtues. such as honest voting and abstinance from graft as a key to heaven. Dysgenic conduct should equally be taught to be an obstacle to salvation”    Obviously they were effective in this because soon after church leaders of all denominations started questioning the validity of Scripture and the ” The Bible is a story” began infiltrating seminaries and colleges.

How do we protest/combat this ? How do we fight back ? After reading several books written by eugenic authors and understanding their vision -I realized these are some ways to “throw a wrench in their works” What are the things that aggravate and irritate them ?

1. Firmly believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that God created us all equal. In most of the books this is the one that really bugs them. More than one author has said that if they can only get Christians to stop believing the Bible and stop believing that God created us – then they could accomplish their goals
2. Believe and live so that everyone has an equal chance for education,employment and housing –
3. Don’t ostracize a child for their parents actions – yes teach them that they dont have to follow their parents footsteps- but dont write them off simply because their parents are making bad choices
4. when an older person says ” I couldnt do such and such because I didnt come from the right family ” good chance is that they are right. I can remember meeting a woman who walked 20 MILES to school as a child (when there was a school within a mile of her home) . This was in the early 1980’s and she was probably in her 60’s at the time.
5. Realize that education will not reform anyone – its a SIN problem not an education/environment problem.
6. Don’t fall for the lie of overpopulation or climate change – do you know that eugenics were already worried about running out of coal in the early 1920’s and using that as a reason for “we need to limit population” ?

After reading a lot of what eugenicists wrote AND what others wrote about them I have come to the conclusion that there are 4 types of people in this world –

there are 2 categories of those who in the eugenics
1. those who firmly believe and practice it – these are the ones who make it loud and clear that their goal is to to rid the world of undesirables and have no shame in writing/publishing/making laws to prevent those of us who they classify as “taking up space” from breathing the same air space they do. These would be people such as Paul Pompanoe, Margaret Sanger, Henry Ford etc
2. Those who PUBLICLY deny the practise of eugenics but in reality are more than happy to participate in the agenda – these include politicians , Board members of foundations, the next door neighbor who would be the first to march in a Civil Rights rally BUT would have a major problem with their daughter marrying a person of another color OR having an African American being their boss. they would also privately encourage their family member to have an abortion if the child had a disability.

The 2 categories of those who DON’T believe in eugenics are

1. those who risk their lives and employment to protect people who are being discriminated against. those who publish information exposing the agendas of those in power who want to limit population. Those who agitate and speak out and generally make it clear that they will encourage anyone with any type of “impairment” to make the most of their lives.
2. those who may PUBLICLY say they are for eugenics – they want a perfect world – protect the environment- limit population etc BUT privately speak with horror at the idea of aborting a child with Downs Syndrome, would advocate hiring Persons of Color to be in any position , and actually have no idea exactly what eugenics is.

What makes it difficult is that Eugenicists are well trained in manipulation and have learned years ago how to use the number 2’s to work together and to attack those who expose and refuse to go along with their agenda. The important thing to remember is that they have had almost 200 years of learning how to use the media and people’s fears to bend to their wishes. So they have changed their names since the Holocaust BUT the motives and the agenda are still there.

How to find if an agency/ religious organization is controlled/funded by them ?
1. what is their mission ? values? statement of faith ? If Christian do they say ” we believe the Bible is the TRUE Word of God” ?
2. Who do they affiliate with ? What organizations do they belong to ? Are they a smaller subset of a larger organization ? If so then check THAT organization
3. Who do they partner with – and how close is the partnership ? Is it a ” we just hang out socially” or is it a tightknit group ? Check Those
4. Who do they “help?” who is in leadership of those they are assisting ? where do they assist? Who else is working with that group at the same time ?
5. Who is praising them ? Giving them their seal of approval? that will say a lot on what type of org it is.
6. Do a search of the names you find in 1-5 and see what news reports say about them -especially LOCAL news reports -that you get what they are actually doing – preferably look for what people in that area are saying about the organization and what they are doing (also good to check who they are also).

Many organizations depend on peoples lack of ability of do the above to manipulate and control and to keep donors. They will have one set of glossy publications for those who are donors and then another set of information for what they are actually doing. They depend on smooth talking down to earth folks who can deflect questions and make it seem that anyone who does is being divisive and confrontational. The key is information and then letting others know how to get that information !

So what is YOUR story? Would love to hear from anyone what you think!

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