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  • Ayshi Sen

Eugenics & Scientific Racism


Eugenics is defined by the belief that the human population could be selective bred to improve the population and perpetuates an inaccurate understanding of Mendelian genetics. It started in the late 1800s due to the rise of immigration. As more and more people began immigrating to the United States, eugenic beliefs increased along with racist xenophobic attitudes. Eugenics is used to exacerbate scientific racism, which is used to argue that white Europeans are superior to people of color. Over the years, Eugenics and scientific racism has been used to justify forced sterilization, segregation, and social exclusion. In the 1920s, the Germans employed eugenics to discriminate against Jewish people, and other minorities, resulting in the Holocaust and the death of over 6 million people. 

Current and Future

Although many of the atrocities such as forced sterilization are now outlawed, eugenics still exists. Modern technology such as CRISPR opens up possibilities of editing genetic sequences to treat genetic diseases and improve human health. However, this opens up many misuse of the technology. With many scientists already attempting to genetically modify babies, there is a potential risk that with the improvement of gene editing tools there could be a surge in selective gene editing to change the babies looks or intelligence. This would further perpetuate scientific racism and ableism.

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