When Racism Was a Science


When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. ”

“The Eugenics Record Office was built around very systematized ideas that still might be seen as legitimate today,” said Noah Fuller, an artist and co-curator of the exhibit. “At the time, this was widely accepted as legitimate science.”

By the 1920s, the office had begun to influence the United States government. Laughlin testified before Congress, advocating forced sterilization and anti-immigration laws. Congress complied. The Immigration Act of 1924 effectively barred Eastern Europeans, Jews, Arabs and East Asians from entering the country. And thousands of people who were deemed unfit were sterilized.

See previously posted article that discusses the current forced sterilizations of incarcerated women, largely women of color in California.

All of the past ain’t past.