Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 27, 2018

Racism and Eugenics, American-Style

Filed under: Counterpunch,Film — louisproyect @ 2:36 pm

As the Trump administration’s openly racist policies become ever more pronounced, two timely documentaries serve as an anti-toxin. Available exclusively from its distributor Bullfrog Films, “A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream” takes on the bogus science that underpins Trump’s complaint about too many people from “shithole countries” like Haiti and not enough from Norway. In September 2016, the Independent reported that Donald Trump’s biographer Michael D’Antonio accused him of subscribing to the “racehorse theory” of genetics taught to him by his Fred Trump, who was arrested at a KKK riot in 1927. D’Antonio wrote that “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

Under Trump, police terror continues unabated with the most recent occurrence being the killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento in his grandmother’s backyard. The cops thought that the cell phone he was holding in his hand was a gun just like the wallet that Amadou Diallo removed from his pocket to identify himself to trigger-happy cops who poured bullets into him. In reality, the fear of a cell phone and a wallet was lubricated by a racism that has been the high-octane fuel behind all these incidents. For most activists, it was the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that propelled Black Lives Matter into a mass movement. Although I am probably like most CounterPunch readers in keeping up with Michael Brown’s death and the aftermath, I was stunned by the investigative reporting manifested in “Stranger Fruit” that can be rented on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes. It will also have a broadcast premiere in June on Starz.

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  1. Thanks for featuring this film Louis. By coincidence I just finished reading the revised and expanded edition of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man that covers the history of race science, eugenics and intelligence testing, debunking the premises and science of all of the above, and laying bare the underlying racist assumptions of race science.

    Comment by Richard Modiano — April 27, 2018 @ 3:18 pm

  2. great reviews. I will look foward to watching both films. You may remember that I wrote a long series of articles about eugenics and their links to the rightwing parts of the green movement for Swans in the distant past. I brought together many of those essays in my book Under the Mask of Philanthropy. here is my review of a useful book about an early contributor to this field Henry Fairfield Osborn http://www.swans.com/library/art18/barker100.html

    Comment by mbarker2012 — April 27, 2018 @ 7:38 pm

  3. I just read “Racism and Eugenics” on CounterPunch. The only point I would make is that you called Joe Scarborough (MSNBC Morning Joe) a liberal “along with Geo Stephanopoulos.” Mr Scarborough is, without a doubt, a Conservative who only left the Republican party because of Trump’s presidency.

    Comment by Joshua88 — April 27, 2018 @ 8:37 pm

  4. I think you are right but in today’s fucked up political environment, he is as liberal as Nelson Rockefeller was when I was young,

    Comment by louisproyect — April 27, 2018 @ 8:42 pm

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