Monkee Armada on American Eugenics

During the summer, Monkee Armada put up a couple of posts on the “secret history” of American eugenics. While most of this is not exactly secret, there are some interesting details, especially about North Carolina. You can see part 1 here and part 2 (with it’s NC focus) right here.

One of the things that Monkee Armada focuses on are the demographics of eugenic sterilization in North Carolina, especially those of sex and race.  For example, 6/7 sterilizations were of women, and the proportion of those sterilized class as Black shifted from 23% in the 1930s and 40s to high 50s – low 60s during the 1960s.  But I’m curious as to whether the shift in racial sterilization rates was, seemingly like shifts in the sterilization rates of women (which approximated 100% during the 1960s) a function simply of sterilizing fewer members of the dominant category–Whites in the case of rate, and men in the case of gender.  During this time, the absolute numbers of people sterilized went down, and my guess is that there were changes that made it more difficult or less desirable to sterilize men and Whites, rather than that there was a heightened focus on sterilizing women and Blacks, during this time.  Maybe I’ll ask.

More generally, having some information on base-rate demographic populations would help understand the trajectory of North Carolina’s eugenics history.  What was the racial composition of the population, for example, both in general and in the feeder institutions for eugenic sterilization?

For a few other What Sorts posts on American eugenics, see also

Regents University site on eugenics history

Eugenics and disability history in washington

Sterilization compensation in North Carolina

Let’s talk about it: contemporary eugenics for Louisiana

Eugenics history in 10 minutes


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