What many people do not know is that the use of standardized tests has its origins in the Eugenics movement, where basic tenets assert that certain races are inferior to others biologically and intellectually.
— 

Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union

Standardized testing and the Eugenics movement »

A MUST read by Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. Standardized testing isn’t about improving education, it’s a way for the system to sort out which kids are meant to succeed and which are destined failure.

Nazi eugenicists frequently observed that their laws to bar Jewish-Aryan mating were more liberal than were American laws to separate people of African descent from the white genetic pool. Germans held that a person who was one-quarter Jewish was a legal Aryan and thus fit to marry a German, but parallel marriages and mating between whites and Black people were illegal in much of the United States and, in effect, punishable by death — lynching. The “one-drop” laws of many southern states counted anyone who had even one thirty-second African heritage as Black. Other laws, such as the 1924 Virginia Racial Integrity Act, denominated anyone with any “Negro blood” at all as Black. Editors of German medical journals learned a great deal about eugenic proscription by studying American medical journals, whose charts precisely detailed which racial mixtures were tolerable in marriages to whites, who was “white” enough to vote, and so on. In fact, a cordial rivalry characterized the relationship between German and American eugenicists: “The Germans are beating us at our own game,” Virginian eugenicist Dr. Joseph S. Dejarnette sighed in a thinly veiled admiration during a 1934 speech in which he urged the Virginia legislature to expand its sterilization laws.
— 

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

Americans were so good at medicalized racism that the Nazis learned from us.

No one is “anti-science” for opposing eugenics.

Opposing efforts to eradicate people like you because doctors don’t consider people like you to be valuable is not being “anti-science”. It’s being anti-eugenics.

Everyone should be anti-eugenics.

anonymous asked:

I recently saw some pro-life protesters holding up signs that said something along the lines of 'abortion is always ableist' and 'pro-choice is fundamentally ableist' and I was just wondering what they mean by that? This blog seems to have a good understanding on ableism and I really fail to understand these protesters signs. I'm pro-choice, so maybe I can't see how it's ableist because I'm biased, but I'd like an explaination to how it could be construed this way.

My guess would be that they’re referring to cases where the parents choose to terminate a pregnancy because they’ve been told that there’s a high chance the child will be disabled. Decisions like that are definitely products of an abelist society that devalues disabled lives, gives abled people the power to decide whose lives are “worth living,” makes the resources and knowledge necessary for raising a disabled child very difficult to access for a lot of people, and of course creates the class of “disabled” people in the first place (according to the social model of disability). This isn’t just ableist—it’s eugenics.

But it’s really disingenuous to claim that the fault for this ableism rests solely on the parents’ shoulders in all cases—the solution to this problem would be to destroy ableist structures that devalue disabled existence and deny disabled people resources, not to indiscriminately attack a means by which some of the effects of ableist structures are sometimes enacted (i.e. abortion), especially considering that the people who seek abortions are often vulnerable members of society themselves. If they cared about disabled children, they would push for resources and education to be more readily available to their parents and communities, and I don’t think holding up signs that read “abortion is always ableist” is doing that. So, like I said, really disingenuous.

Besides which, not all abortions occur for this reason? So I’m not sure where they’re even coming from there. I’m stumped.

-Najia

The dark history of the pill you’ve never heard 

The pill. Freedom in a tablet. The cause célèbre of the women’s rights movement. More women (27.5%, according to recent data from the Guttmacher Institute) rely on the pill than any other type of contraception, yet public discourse suggests that most, on the pill or not, have no idea about its past anchored in eugenics, sexism and racism.

The irony of the pill is that before being marketed predominately to white women in America as a symbol of independence, it was tested women of color — many of whom were forced to undergo sterilization.

People With Down Syndrome Disrupt Screening Conference (June 6, 2003)

On May 19th, a group of people with Down’s Syndrome and their supporters disrupted the International Down Syndrome Screening Conference at Regents Collage in London. This is the first time people with Down’s Syndrome have made such a protest and is a major new step in the debate about genetics, eugenics and the rights of disabled people.

As a result of the protest, the conference organisers allowed Anya Souza to speak from the platform. Ms Souza, who is a trustee of the Down Syndrome Association, told the doctors that she opposes Down’s Syndrome screening and that people with Down’s Syndrome are people not medical problems. Her speech was warmly applauded by the conference delegates

The protesters consisted of three people with Down’s Syndrome, another disabled person with learning disabilities and their families and supporters. They had written to the conference organisers in advance and asked to speak, but were refused by the main organiser, Professor Howard Cuckle. It is unacceptable that doctors discuss better ways of preventing people with Down’s Syndrome being born, whilst excluding their voices from the debate. This runs directly counter to one of the main demands of disabled people: ‘Nothing about us without us’.

The protesters expect that their action will persuade the conference organisers to ensure a full debate at next years conference with proper representation of disabled people with learning difficulties. This should be the start of a national debate on prenatal screening.

In her speech, entitled ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about Down’s Syndrome… but never bothered to ask’, Anya Souza said: I can’t get rid of my Down’s Syndrome. But you can’t get rid of my happiness. You can’t get rid of the happiness I give others either. It’s doctors like you that want to test pregnant women and stop people like me being born. You can’t abort me now can you? You can’t kill me…sorry!

Together with my family and friends I have fought to prevent my separation from normal society. I have fought for my rights. I have the right to a job, to services when necessary, to a decent standard of living, to know about my medical problems, to speak my mind, to make choices about my friends, whether to have sex, and so on. To do this you have to be independent when you grow up and not get separated from society… I may have Down’s Syndrome, but I am a person first.

Kitty Gilbert, who also has Down’s Syndrome, said: ….. I enjoyed watching the conference although I was a bit scared of what the conference people were saying. I think screening pregnant mothers with Down’s Syndrome babies is wrong. They are wanting their offspring to be able to enjoy their world around them and have endless happiness. I for one gave my mum pride and joy and I will continue to do so. I think that we should be treated fairly and equally, not being getting rid off because there is so much more in life that we can do. We are what we are and ask our opinion.

— 

LDOnline

I remember when this happened.  Nobody expected that people with Down syndrome could even have an opinion on genetic screening, even though they’re more affected by it than most people.  When they weren’t allowed to speak the regular way, they barged in and made sure people listened.

Every time a pregnancy is intervened upon to prevent disability, eugenics is operating. Every time someone is sterilized or administered birth control against their will or without their knowledge, eugenics is operating. Eugenics is insidious and pervasive and continues to be a threat to disabled people, especially racialized disabled people and/or disabled women.
—  A.J. Withers, Disability Politics and Theory
A miniature evolution rant for science fiction writers

1. A living thing cannot be more or less evolved. It can be more or less derived, meaning it differs from some basal ancestor in more or fewer ways. It can be more or less complex, which is by no means the same as more or less derived, nor do being more derived and being more complex necessarily correlate. But evolution doesn’t stop. Even when an organism changes very little over many, many generations, that is because those same traits that served its ancestor well are still beneficial or non-detrimental and thus still being selected for. Claiming something is more evolved because it is either more derived or more complex is like claiming a cubist painting is more painted than a Renaissance painting.

2. Likewise, it is impossible to reach the pinnacle of evolution. Evolution does not have a linear plot. It is a sandbox game. Our personal brand of human intelligence is glorious and wonderful and tremendous, but it was neither inevitable nor necessary. Again, evolution doesn’t stop. It is a constant interplay between species and environment, defined by birth, death, and change. A change in the environment alters the needs of the species. A change in a species alters the environment. Nothing is ever “perfectly evolved”, even for its specific environment, because every alteration requires alteration in response, even if that alteration is very small. There is certainly no such thing as a perfect species.

3. A change in the environment is a change in the environment. Until someone discovers or invents a form of true immortality, nothing we do can actually halt our own evolution- it can only change the course. As a general rule, the more members of a species who survive each generation, the better that species is doing, and the more diverse its genome, the less likely one or two catastrophic things will wipe it off the face of the planet. You don’t know what traits will be valuable for future challenges we face and what traits won’t be. If I remember correctly (I’ll dig up my notes later), the jaw was derived from an initially bizarre and useless mutation in the skull, and several of our ear bones were derived from what used to be part of our jaw articulation. So eugenicists and people who claim not to be eugenicists but use eugenics arguments can all fuck right off.

4. A single individual cannot evolve. Evolution does not occur on the individual level. It occurs on the population level. When a single individual changes to better suit their environment, that is adaptation, not evolution. Adaptation is of course a part of evolution, but it is not the same thing. This, combined with points 1 and 2, means you personally cannot become or choose to be more evolved than other people. That is not how anything works, at all, ever.

Thank you for your time, everyone!

"Judge authorises sterilisation of mother-of-six with learning disabilities"

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/04/judge-sterilisation-mother-learning-disabilities-pregnant

from the UK

Don’t even say that “sterilizing someone in their best interest” is not eugenics. This is how they did it the last time, too, in the 1920s. They would point at a disabled person, usually a poor, disabled woman with kids, and say, “she’s a danger to herself and society,” and order her sterilized. Sound familiar? Hey, it just happened.

Google Cloud and Autism Speaks

Most of you know that Google Cloud is working with Autism Speaks to gather and track autistic DNA.  If you want to learn why this is bad through facts, click here.  For stories, click here.  People with a bad track record are being creepy for a more homogenous humanity.  If you have something to say about that, look at this:

[The image reads #GCPOffice Hours/ Join us for Office Hours with the team from Google Cloud Platform.  On June 12 at 11 am PT, we will be answering questions on Twitter.  Ask us anything using #GCPOfficeHours and we will respond then].

Payments Start For N.C. Eugenics Victims, But Many Won’t Qualify

BY ERIC MENNEL

Debra Blackmon was about to turn 14 in January 1972, when two social workers came to her home.

Court and medical documents offer some details about what happened that day. Blackmon was “severely retarded,” they note, and had “psychic problems” that made her difficult to manage during menstruation.

Her parents were counseled during the visit, and it was deemed in Blackmon’s best interest that she be sterilized.

Blackmon is among the more than 7,000 people in North Carolina — many poor, many African-American, many disabled — who were sterilized between 1929 and 1976 in one of the country’s most aggressive eugenics programs.

North Carolina passed a law to compensate victims of the state-run program last year. This week, the state sent out the first checks to qualified applicants. But Blackmon, like many others who are fighting for restitution, is not among them.

[Continue reading article and listen to the story on NPR.]

Unlike horror and fantasy, however, SF is kinda obsessed with stories of “cure,” and other medical stuff like prosthetic technologies and genetic engineering (a.k.a., eugenics). Because of that technological (and medical) focus, SF opens up spaces to question/challenge/explore what it means to human, and, perhaps more importantly for this conversation, who gets to be counted as human. Since SF is a genre where writers set out their visions of what may come, it’s essential that care is taken in how they create their idealized (or dystopic) futures: if disability is “cured” in the future, a very common notion in SF, then what does that tell people with disabilities of how they are valued today? I really believe that SF holds the potential to be a leading genre in re-imagining disability in creative ways that challenges the reductive and harmful stereotypes that society currently holds…it’s just going to take a while for a good chunk of SF writers to identify their (often able-bodied) assumptions about what it means to live with a disability and to start writing three-dimensional, realistic characters who have a disability. Also, we need a plurality of voices in SF creating visions of the future and that must include people with disabilities (visible and invisible, physical and mental)!
—  from my interview with Kathryn Allan, co-editor of Accessing the Future 

Current forms of eugenics are complementary to, if not the product of, neoliberal ideologies and policies. These complementarities include:

Concepts of burden – Competitive capitalism has long required rationales for why people are poor and expendable. Under neoliberalism, the shrinking of the welfare state (which never truly existed in the U.S. in any case) casts more and more people as drains on the economy and the state — not just the poor and people of color, but also elderly people and people with disabilities. It is not surprising then that one can hear echoes of negative eugenics in population control measures and technologies targeted at poor women (welfare ‘reform’ family caps, the Project Prevention organization that gives incentives to drug users to use long-term contraception or be sterilized, recent FDA approval of quinacrine chemical sterilization trials) and in genetic screening for fetal disability.

Consumer choice – Just as the concept of burden is intrinsic to negative eugenics, so is the concept of individual choice to ‘positive’ eugenics and new reproductive technologies. These technologies are often promoted to well-off women in terms of consumer choice and ‘designer babies.’ In a sense, burden and choice are two sides of the same coin as both impose reproductive duties on women. (See Dorothy Roberts.) Eugenics, past and present, is also intricately linked to industrial mass production through the design and marketing of ever more standardized ‘ideal’ consumer goods and the associated rise in social expectations and conformity, faith in technological progress, and belief in consumer rights as the foundation of free enterprise and democracy. (See Christina Cogdell.)

Globalization – Here we need to look more carefully at both ideologies and practices of global out-sourcing when it comes to genetic engineering and assisted reproduction. In addition, stem cell and cloning research is becoming the latest marker of which country is ‘out front’ in the competitive race to the new technological frontier.

Efficiency – Linked to all of the above is the heightened focus on ‘efficiency’ as privatization, competition, the information technology speed-up and the time/space compression of globalization put ever more demands on the human body and body politic to make more ‘efficient’ use of resources. Just as at the beginning of the last century, eugenics is linked to the mad drive for efficiency. Nowhere is this clearer than in health policy where the priority given to finding, treating and preventing the genetic causes of both physical and mental disease is touted as more efficient than, for example, identifying and ameliorating environmental and social causes. Most disorders are blamed on genes today, and the quick-fix solution is pharmaceutical. Genetic screening, meanwhile, threatens to become a means by which health insurance companies, in their ‘efficient’ search for higher profits, can deny people coverage.

—  Everyday Eugenics by Betsy Haartman

Now we enter the age of genetics, which offers such hope for advancing healthcare but has also sparked a new form of eugenics, with scientists talking of eradicating disabilities at birth from the human condition.

…Those preaching this new eugenics conflate health and disability, harm and difference. They dismiss how diversity enriches the world, reject complex issues of choice, ignore implications of inferiority. They sweep aside Stephen Hawking writing about how motor neurone disease focused his work, or studies showing people with Down’s syndrome to be far happier with their lives and looks than the average person.

Sorry kid. That guy you’re with accidentally helped eugenicists rank races like Pokemon.

6 Geniuses Who Saw Their Inventions Turn Evil

#6. Alfred Binet’s IQ Test Got Hijacked by Eugenics-Obsessed Racists

First, Binet himself knew his test wasn’t all that scientific. It came with tons of disclaimers stressing that the test does not measure static intelligence and should not be used to label people in any way. And, for the single purpose of figuring out a kid’s level of development, it worked pretty well. But then American eugenicists got hold of his work. The eugenicists loved the idea of intelligence tests because they wanted to use them to identify and weed out “the idiots” from the gene pool, which, by sheer coincidence, all happened to include anyone who wasn’t a white American. Never mind that the score can absolutely be improved with education — why burden the system with teaching children when we can just breed superior intelligence into them!

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Virginia’s forced sterilization victims each to get $25k restitution payments for eugenics program

Virginia is set to become the second state to compensate the victims of its eugenics program ‒ people whom the state deemed mentally or physically unfit to procreate and were then forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.

 The commonwealth will give $25,000 each “to individuals who  were involuntarily sterilized pursuant to the Virginia Eugenical  Sterilization Act and who were living as of February 1,  2015,” according to Virginia’s revised 2014-2016 budget that  was passed by the General Assembly at the end of February. A  total of $400,000 was set aside for forced sterilization victims,  the Virginia Gazette reported.