"Scientific racism" is on the rise on the right. But it's been lurking there for years. - 2017-03-28
Throughout America, states instituted programs of voluntary and involuntary sterilization in order to keep people with low IQs or criminal records from having children. The logic of eugenics also shaped the immigration quota system put in place in the early 1920s, which restricted immigration almost entirely to white populations.
Popular acceptance of eugenics in the United States came to a quick end with World War II and the Holocaust, which had taken the logic of eugenics to its horrifying conclusion. Yet forced sterilization continued in the United States through the 1970s, almost exclusively carried out on black, Latina, and Native American women and men. Not until the late 1970s did the federal government outline prohibitions against forced sterilization.
The idea of good genes, however, did not disappear. Conservatives love to make hay of the link between progressives and the eugenics movement, suggesting that, historically, leftists have been the "real racists." But not all progressives were eugenicists, and the topic always had plenty of support among conservatives, who welcomed practitioners of scientific racism to their ranks after progressives expelled them.