Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Darwin’s “natural selection” actually has strong influence on the topic of eugenics. For instance, Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), who was influenced by and a half cousin of Darwin, was the first person to talk about eugenics. Galton believed that eugenics is a branch of study which is concerned with the genetic improvement of human population by the systematic eradication of genetic characteristics which are deemed dysfunctional and the simultaneous promotion of preferred genetic profiles. He also believed that some individuals and entire groups of people, such as Jews, Africans, and Latinos, were more predisposed to the defective genes. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) was an American birth control activist. In her own words, she argued that “it is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one care for both, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for then. Herein lies the key of civilization. For upon the foundation of an enlightened and voluntary motherhood shall a future civilization emerge.” (Sanger 1915, p.40) In the 1960s, Sanger combined birth control with eugenics and white supremacist. In other words, she thought that people of colour and the colonized people needed to have their population reduced. Consequently, in 1972 between 100,000 and 200,000 American women (Relf sisters) were sterilized under different US federal funds, and 20% of the black women and 24% of the aboriginal women were sterilized. In 1970s 35% of Puerto Rico women of childbearing age were sterilized. In Canada, in 1970s, Inuit women were coerced into sterilization by government health services. In Alberta, the government also forced sterilization on native, disabled, unemployed, and catholic women, and at that time 2800 women were sterilized by the Alberta government. Overall, eugenics originated from Darwinism. However, eugenics brought many negative impacts to our society, and it also caused many social problems, such as racism and discrimination, and it is also an inhuman and unmoral concept.
Davis, S. Population Control and Reproductive Rights: Technology and Power.
Sanger, M. (1915). What Every Girl Should Know.

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