When Racism Was Cool

eugenics congress announcement

Edwin Black:

The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics

Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a co-called “Master Race.”

But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.

Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the Twentieth Century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe, as well as members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stamford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.

Stanford president David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.


Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton’s ideas were imported into the United States just as Gregor Mendel’s principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenic advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man.

In an America demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early twentieth century. Elitists, utopians and so-called “progressives” fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton’s eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: populate the earth with vastly more of their own socio-economic and biological kind–and less or none of everyone else.

The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark-haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.

How? By identifying so-called “defective” family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior–the so-called “unfit.” The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.

Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point eight was euthanasia.

There’s a bunch more and you really should read it. It’s all true.

I first learned about the American roots of Nazi eugenics almost twenty years ago when I was taking a class on Hitler and the Nazi era. I was pretty shocked.

The reason the American eugenics movement ended is because the Nazis gave it a bad name. We were prosecuting Nazis for crimes against humanity because they sterilized people. Ever seen Judgment at Nuremburg? They also gave racism a bad name, which is a lot of the reason why the Civil Rights movement picked up speed after the war.

Just 100 years ago white supremacy and eugenics were considered scientific facts. The debate was settled. But it wasn’t those Southern Klansmen who were advocating the ideas, it was the Progressives. That’s how Planned Parenthood got its start – Margaret Sanger was a big supporter of eugenics.

In a way it kinda makes sense. They were just applying the principles of breeding animals to humans. But after seeing eugenics in practice we decided that it really wasn’t such a great idea.

So we swept it under the rug and tried to pretend it never happened.


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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76 Responses to When Racism Was Cool

  1. The Klown says:

    Can you blame them?

  2. DeniseVB says:

    Nevermind Alinsky, sometimes I think the Obama team is waging a eugenics war against white male conservatives who seem to be the biggest threat against his Utopian world. Not to mention how conservative blacks, gays and women are treated. Damn that pesky Constitution getting in his way, huh? He’d be King of the World by now!

  3. DeniseVB says:

    About that awkward Obama-Carney “hug” ….. who else thought Michael and Fredo Corleone ? Was so happy to see this ….. (vines of bro-hugs, lol !)


    • The Klown says:

      It’s not gay if your balls don’t touch.

    • leslie says:

      Doesn’t this brief moment shine the light on just how removed Obama is from human-ness and the ability to relate to people, feelings, & human touch. It is sad, really.

      (and I still feel creeped out having seen it.)

    • votermom says:

      Did Obama actually kiss him? It kind of looks that way, on Carney’s cheek that is facing away from the camera, just before he releases Fredo, er Carney. Obama’s lips are still pursed as he lets go.

  4. driguana says:

    Not possible with Carney and Obama…neither one has any balls!

  5. driguana says:

    Got two things to say about he eugenics thing…everybody is colored and everybody has some prejudices.

    • Mary says:

      True, but this Sanger eugenics philosophy really is where the origins of Planned Parenthoood came from. And lotta ‘Mericans don’t know that.

      • 49erDweet says:

        Great post, Klown. Spot on re: the California roots of Eugenics.
        But there’s more!
        IMO Eugenics is a logical offshoot of earlier attempts to absolve “guilty” wealthy parents for giving birth to mentally retarded children. Go all the way back to the work of Francis Galton, in 1885, and then later and more specifically in 1905 when Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon created the world’s first standardized IQ test, very rich (and supposedly brilliant) families demanded scientific answers “why this happened” to them.
        Trust me on this. Parents of developmentally disabled children all initially blame themselves, first, and over decades have spent billions of dollars – not all their own, either – on “scientific” attempts to explain away the embarrassment and humiliation they feel for bringing forth children who might, at least in some eyes, be less than perfect. It’s a strong drive!

      • 1539days says:

        Planned Parenthood, like many other organizations from the early 20th century, still have to shake off their roots in social engineering. Hitler was very much hated after the fact because he found murder and torture so much easier than waiting for their undesirables to die off.

        Genetics is unknowable to our level of understanding. Natural selection is the ultimate in libertarian theory. People get together for any number of reasons, and the ones whose genetic lines survive (for whatever reason) win. Picking winner and losers can remove genetic traits that could be invaluable in the future.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    Back to the Nazi topic, this clip of Dr. Ben Carson on CNN just made me realize why CNN could possibly be suckier than MSNBC ?


  7. DeniseVB says:

    Yes, this started out as Dear Denise. Barack needs my help, how special am I ? (chortle,snort,guffaw). I really need to unsubscribe to these, but it’s nice to know how much the Dems care about me and my fellow middle classers, heh…….

    If you look at where Democrats stand on the most important issues out there, the public is on our side.

    Growing the middle class, comprehensive immigration reform, equal pay for women — these are the things we are fighting for, and people agree with us.

    But it’s not enough just to be right on the issues. It’s not enough just to have the right values. We also have to go out there and win some elections.

    It takes a major effort to do that. It takes field offices, a digital and technological edge, volunteers, and organizers — and it takes folks like you being just as committed to supporting Democrats in 2014 as you were to supporting me in 2012, Denise.

    Before the fundraising deadline at midnight tonight, be one of 35 people in Virginia Beach we need to chip in $5 or more to support Democrats during the midterms:



    Barack Obama

    P.S. — Any contribution you make today will automatically enter you for a chance to meet me at an event in New York City in June. I’d love to thank you in person for your support.

    Lying sack of sh*t. 😀

  8. swanspirit says:

    I have been telling people for years that “race” as applied to homo-sapiens is a false and many times scientifically proven false theory from some flakes in the 17th ,18th and 19th centuries. There is no such thing as race , we are a species , and we have proven it over and over by interbreeding and producing offspring that can also reproduce.
    Even the “scientists” of their day were wrong on race , because they focused on outward characteristics , like hair curliness skin color and eye color .
    Even Carl Linnaeus The Father of Modern Taxonomy attempted to classify human

    (1707–1778), the physician, botanist, and zoologist, modified the established taxonomic bases of binomial nomenclature for fauna and flora, and was a pioneer researcher in biologically defining human race. In Systema Naturae (1767), he labeled five[18]” varieties”[19][20] of human species. Each one was described as possessing the following physiognomic characteristics “varying by culture and place:”[21]

    The Americanus: red, choleraic, righteous; black, straight, thick hair; stubborn, zealous, free; painting himself with red lines, and regulated by customs.[22]
    The Europeanus: white, sanguine, browny; with abundant, long hair; blue eyes; gentle, acute, inventive; covered with close vestments; and regulated by customs.[23]
    The Asiaticus: yellow, melancholic, stiff; black hair, dark eyes; severe, haughty, greedy; covered with loose clothing; and regulated by opinions.[24]
    The Afer or Africanus: black, phlegmatic, relaxed; black, frizzled hair; silky skin, flat nose, tumid lips; females without shame; mammary glands give milk abundantly; crafty, sly, careless; anoints himself with grease; & regulated by will.[25]
    The Monstrosus were mythologic humans which didn’t appear in the first editions of Systema Naturae. The sub-species included the “four-footed, mute, hairy” Homo feralis (Feral man); the animal-reared Juvenis lupinus hessensis (Hessian wolf boy), the Juvenis hannoveranus (Hannoverian boy), the Puella campanica (Wild-girl of Champagne), and the agile, but faint-hearted Homo monstrosus (Monstrous man): the Patagonian giant, the Dwarf of the Alps, and the monorchid Khoikhoi (Hottentot). In Amoenitates academicae (1763), Linnaeus presented the mythologic Homo anthropomorpha (Anthropomorphic man), humanoid creatures, such as the troglodyte, the satyr, the hydra, and the phoenix, incorrectly identified as simian creatures.[citation needed]


    This is a very good and timely post , putting the true history of racism gives great perspective ( Klown gives great perspective?) and helps relegate racism to history , much to the consternation of modern progressives , who are trying so hard to keep it around.

    • votermom says:

      They totally missed Genus Klownus.

    • The Klown says:

      Racism and slavery are the two most misreported subjects in American history. There is a whole lot about those topics that people think they know that is wrong, and there is a bunch of ugly truth that simply gets ignored. You have to be careful when talking about them because there is a taboo against discussing anything but the PC approved versions.

      For example, many abolitionists were racists who wanted to end slavery so that they could send all the blacks back to Africa before they polluted the pure European bloodlines.

    • driguana says:

      Unlike Carney and Obama, Klown has balls.

    • 1539days says:

      Many of the characteristics of different “races” are a response to the environment humans lived in. Do you live in a hot sunny place? You’ll probably have dark skin and brown eyes. Live in a moderate climate with a lot of cloud cover? You may end up with pale skin and light hair. My Sicilian father was “swarthy” which is what they call dark skinned when you’re European. My mother was very fair. They both had blue eyes.

      People who move from one continent to another may find their external characteristics change over the generations, not entirely due to racial disambiguation.

  9. piper says:

    My ears hurt – couldn’t force myself to finish listening to that crappy elite boy band – video you posted the other night.

  10. DeniseVB says:

    From Dec 2007 and yes a link to Daily Kos when Obama wasn’t so cool. Beware the wrath of Hillary supporters in those pre-PUMA days…..this is good, trust me 😉


    Senator Obama appeared to have missed some very, very important votes to help veterans, not to mention all those Veterans Affairs committee meetings he didn’t attend. Yes, our Liar in Chief has been aware of VA hospital problems since 2005.

    • insanelysane says:

      Holy Moly Denise, that was a walk down memory lane, for sure. It really puts things in perspective and some of the comments are so prophetic.
      One comment: ” But although Obama didn’t show up (7+ / 0-)
      (for important VA votes)
      he felt free to criticize the votes of those who did. There seems to be a pattern emerging here—I might find the outrage about this diary more credible if I didn’t know that Obama has missed 33 votes. ”

      and “the point of this diary is that Obama isn’t showing up.”

      Hahahahaha…good times.

    • swanspirit says:

      STOLEN !! what an oldie but goodie .. and gee , what has “changed ” since then , not a whole hell of a lot .

      • DeniseVB says:

        I did Yearly Kos in Aug that same year, from wiki …..

        The 2007 YearlyKos was held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois from August 2–5.[2]

        Seven of the eight major Democratic Presidential candidates attended the Convention in a debate moderated by bloggers. The candidates were Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson. The most memorable moment was when Hillary Clinton refused to join John Edwards and Barack Obama’s pledge to stop taking money from Washington lobbyists.[3]

        Before and after the debate the candidates held their own break-out sessions.

        Media coverage called out the emergence of the Netroots in current political discourse (“Liberal bloggers can count the ways they are making their presence felt in the presidential race.” –Chicago Tribune)[4] and beyond 2008 (“The Netroots appear to be here to stay. Much of the debate at this year’s conference is aimed not at defining who the group is but rather at on what the group should do in 2008 and beyond.” –Chris Cillizza, Washington Post).[5]

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were expected to appear, but were held up in Washington due to various votes. On Saturday night of the Convention, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial FISA legislation to expand George W. Bush’s powers.

        I think I also learned that Markos was a former Republican who switched to vile prog to follow the money. It’s why I trust no one who runs blogs/websites for profit 😉

  11. votermom says:

    Just 100 years ago white supremacy and eugenics were considered scientific facts. The debate was settled. But it wasn’t those Southern Klansmen who were advocating the ideas, it was the Progressives.

    Climate Change is very much this era’s Eugenics Movement. Believers are going full throttle into policies that create very real human suffering. Because “science.”

  12. The Klown says:
    • The Klown says:

      I’m guessing it will be someone at CNN.

      • The Klown says:
        • DeniseVB says:

          Yes, he went AWOL to get laid in the local town and got “caught” by the Taliban. Desertion is being gone for 30 days or more. He was just thinking with the wrong “brain” that night. Just hope Obama doesn’t give him a medal /sarc.

  13. The Klown says:
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  17. The Klown says:
    • 1539days says:

      Republicans had the power of the purse. That’s how they could have stopped Obama’s crap. Now they have no budget power and Obama is closing down all the coal plants.

  18. 1539days says:

    Great post, Klown.

    The most interesting irony of this is that many Atheists love Darwin and blame religion for all the evil in the world. In reality, the greatest evil of the 20th century was powered by the teachings of the church of Darwin. No matter if it is religion or science, any powerful ideas can be used for evil.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Ditto Days 🙂

    • 49erDweet says:

      War is never funny, but a huge irony that escaped absolutely no one at the time was the
      Fueher of the germanic master race was forced to accept as allies a swarthy race and a “yellow” race. Talk about a fail!!!!

      • The Klown says:

        We know from genetics that “purity” of a particular race/breed leads to a higher incidence of genetic defects, while cross-breeding results in hybrid vigor.

        • The Klown says:

          A number of science fiction writers have explored the topic of selective breeding in humans. Robert Heinlein wrote about breeding for longevity in Methuselah’s Children and Time Enough For Love. Larry Niven wrote about attempts by an alien species to breed a “lucky” human in Ringworld.

  19. helenk3 says:

    just dropping in for a minute
    I am very proud of me. i am having a garage sale and a man came in wearing an obama hat and I did not charge him triple for what he bought.

  20. The Klown says:
  21. The Klown says:

    When you see it . . .

    That only looks like 8-9 inches to me.

  22. The Klown says:
  23. DeniseVB says:

    I’m working on a x-blog for Saturday Night …..stay tuned 😀

  24. The Klown says:
  25. Somebody says:

    This was a very good post Klown, quite enlightening.

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