By the early 1890s in America, the influx of European Jewish, non-Jewish Eastern European and Italian immigrants was becoming a flood and had the American establishment concerned. It wanted more immigrants from Anglo-Saxon and Nordic countries, ethnicities that the American movers and shakers were themselves from. White folks across the land felt that they were being deluged and they had to arrest the flood of inferior races. (Oh yeah, even being white wasn’t good enough, if you were a Jew or an Italian or Croatian).
This was not the land of the primitive native American savages, no. This land now belonged to them, the white people from across the oceans. Hadn’t they civilized them? Hadn’t they brought Jesus to them? Of course they had and now this land was theirs, QED. There was absolutely no way they were going to let themselves be swamped by Jewzinskys, Spics, Chiccos, Slavs greasy Italians. Something had to be done to reverse the trend.
And it was done. The Immigration Act of 1924 was enacted to limit the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States before 1890. The influx of the ‘undesirable’ dropped dramatically. Before the legislation 200,000 Italians were coming in every year and that number dropped to just 4000 in 1925. Numbers from among Jews and Eastern Europeans went down similarly. The Act barred Arabs, Asians and Africans completely. Donald Trump proposing to bar only Muslims makes him look like a Mother Teresa in comparison.
The quotas remained in place with minor alterations until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
In the 1990s, correspondence surfaced that showed that sometime during the late 1930s, when the Nazi Brown Shirts were beginning to wreak havoc on Jewish people and their businesses, wealthy Amsterdam-based Jewish banker and businessman, Otto Frank, had written repeatedly to the US State Department, begging for visas for himself, his wife and their two daughters, Margot and Anne.
As a result of the quota restrictions imposed on Jewish immigrants, Frank’s applications were refused by the US Embassy at Amsterdam. In despair, the Franks moved into a secret annex at the back of their Amsterdam apartment in 1942, leaving the front portion in disarray to create the impression that they had left in a hurry. A tight-knit group of loyal non-Jewish friends on the outside provided them regularly with supplies, until one grey morning in August 1944, when the Nazis broke down the entrance to the annex and arrested them, after receiving a tip-off from someone who has not yet been identified.
14-year old Anne Frank, the author of the now world-famous Anne Frank – The diary of a young girl, later died of typhus at the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp on the 30th of March 1945, less than 15 days before a British reconnaissance company from the VIII Corps driving around the countryside, stumbled upon the camp by accident and liberated it.
The history books tell us often that Anne Frank died because the Nazis believed that Jews were genetically inferior and that they were lesser mortals than the Aryans. That may be so but didn’t she also die because the US Congress believed that as well?
Restricting immigration was fine, but there was something else equally important that the American establishment had to take care of – the internal ‘threat’ to the purity of the already existing gene pool, from ‘unfit’ people already living for generations in America as American citizens.
One of the first proposals that the elite made was to make it mandatory for all married couples who wanted to have a baby, to apply for a license and undergo examinations, to determine if they were capable of producing healthy ‘Nordic’ children. This too proved unfeasible. The manpower and infrastructure required for processing marriage applications and carrying out tests on prospective couples was horrendously expensive.
Meanwhile, the American Eugenics Society was getting itself organized. Those deemed ‘unfit’ were properly labelled with a set of terms to define them. Broadly classified under the term ‘feebleminded’, out popped terms like ‘pauper’, ‘slovenly’, ‘promiscuous’, ‘licentious’, ‘indolent’ and scores of other words to designate unfit persons who could not in any circumstances be allowed to procreate. Collectively they were used to refer to anyone who was…..
- white but destitute, living on the streets, or
- white but female and ‘sexually promiscuous’, or
- white but atheists, or
- white but physically disabled/paraplegics/deaf-mutes/blind, or
- white but LGBT
In time, another attribute got added to the list, for reasons no one seemed to know why…..Love of the sea. No kidding. Anyone who expressed a love for the oceans became fair game. Maybe it had something to do with immigration, ocean crossings, etc.
The degree of feeblemindedness also needed to be defined and to that end, three categories were created. The least undesirable was labeled an ‘idiot’, second – an ‘imbecile’ and the worst – a ‘moron’. If you were judged a moron, you could find yourself in a colony that resembled the leper colonies they had in Ben Hur – for life.
One by one, individual state legislatures in America began passing laws and conducting hearings that resembled kangaroo courts, to determine if a particular person fell into any of the above categories.
The other category – coloreds – referred to Chinese, Asians, Arabs and African Americans. These were not listed anywhere because they were barely considered human. To white American supporters of eugenics, black folks were nothing more than apes.
The story goes that when New Yorkers went to the Bronx Zoo one Saturday in September 1906, they were treated to something novel at the ape enclosure in the Monkey House.
At first, visitors weren’t sure what it was. It… he…seemed like less of a monkey than a man – small and dark, with grotesquely pointed teeth, a bulging belly and splayed gnarled feet. The new resident of the Monkey House was indeed a man, a Congolese pygmy named Ota Benga. There was a board beside the ‘exhibit’ that gave Benga’s height as 4 feet 11 inches, his weight as 103 lbs and his age, 23. At the bottom, it read – “Exhibited each afternoon through September.”
To tackle the ‘internal gene pool threat’ America’s eugenicists had a few ideas. The first – preventing the feebleminded from reproducing through marriage. The US state of Connecticut passed a law in 1895 that banned certain kinds of marriages between people who were already deemed feebleminded, but it didn’t work. Folks still f—ked and made babies outside marriage.
After the unfit had been identified and categorized, the next brainwave was segregation – get persons deemed feebleminded institutionalized, particularly the women. Prevent them from reproducing by incarcerating them for the entire length of their reproductive years. And then – just let them go, since they would no longer be a threat to the exalted gene pool. This idea, like the marriage license madness, proved too expensive – there were millions who had to be housed and fed.
It is the third bright idea that proved the most effective and also made my jaw drop – grab the feebleminded and sterilize them forcibly and let them go. Make it legal by enacting laws. And this is what the American establishment finally organized – mass sterilizations of any folks who were simply deemed ‘feebleminded’.
In America those days, the method used to sterilize women was a scary, horribly invasive and hazardous one – salpingectomy. The woman was administered spinal anesthesia, cut open and the ends of the two fallopian tubes were cauterized, a procedure that was fraught with the risk of a host of afflictions, such as partial paralysis – brought on by incorrect administration of the anesthetic, uncontrolled bleed leading to demise and in the best case – weeks, recovering from the operation.
Here’s what will make your jaw hit the floor – the women were never told what was going to happen. Obviously, they couldn’t possibly be told. How could any government strap a woman to the bed and tell her ‘we have decided you are feebleminded and therefore unfit to reproduce because you’re going to give birth to horribly inferior babies. So, you must be sterilized. Don’t worry, we’ll let you go right after.’
This is where we come to the tragic story of young Carrie Buck. But let’s take a breather first, to calm our frayed nerves. To get to know what was done to Carrie, we’ll need the resilience. The human heart can take only so much evil in one sitting……
(Continued in Part-3…..)