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Edwin Black

Can America adequately compensate its citizens sterilized during eugenic genocide?

America’s pseudo-scientific crusade to create a white, blond, blue-eyed biologically superior “master race” was a misguided 20th-century quest called eugenics. More than 27 states joined the shameful decades-long campaign. But only one state, North Carolina, is now considering a massive plan of financial reparations to its surviving victims. Just how much North Carolina should pay is now the subject of a historically wrenching debate.Eugenics was a fraudulent social theory claiming that a better society could be created by eliminating "undesirable" human blood lines, while promoting the desirable types. Race science sprang to life in the socioeconomically convulsive first decade of the 20th century, during which Asians, Eastern Europeans, Mexicans, American Indians, African Americans and other ethnic groups and racial mixtures flowed into US cities, creating overcrowding and class conflict.The intellectual, academic, scientific and financial elite believed that better men and women could be cultivated using the same techniques a farmer would employ to create a better herd of cattle or field of wheat — eliminate the bad stock and proliferate the good. They planned to eliminate all those who did not resemble themselves, 10 percent at a time — that is, as many as 14 million people at a slice. Their eventual goal was to eliminate as much as 90 percent of the population from the reproductive future of the United States.The preferred method was gas chambers and other forms of euthanasia. The first public euthanasia laws were introduced into the Ohio legislature in 1908. That measure was unsuccessful, as were other death-panel bills. The next best thing was forced surgical sterilization under specific state authority that was validated as the law of the land in the U.S. Supreme Court by one of America's most stellar jurists, Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1927, Holmes ruled on an obviously collusive lawsuit seeking… Read More