Eugenics, race discrimination, and anti-immigration laws in the United States, James Watson
Interviewee: James Watson. Eugenic data, collected by Harry Laughlin, fed into racial prejudice, and provided the scientific rationale for restricting immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Here James Watson discusses how eugenicists reacted to the problem of mental illness and sought to lessen the threat of the "unfit" to the United States. (DNAi Location: Chronicle > Threat of the unfit > Threats > Immigration restriction)
Well, how did you avoid the unfit, and it fed into racial prejudice and one way to avoid the unfit was not to let them in the United States. So he decided the people from northern Europe were much more fit for, than those people from southern or eastern Europe. And his sidekick here, Harry Lawland was an advisor to the U.S. Congress, who in 1924 passed the infamous Immigration Act that greatly cut back immigration from southern and eastern Europe. So effectively no more Italians immigrated into the United States, likewise Jewish immigration was shut off.
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James Watson how science was misused to support eugenics.
James Watson talks about Eugenicists were concerned about the increasing cost of caring for the feebleminded, because they were thought to reproduce more quickly than normal individuals.
James Watson talks about eugenics and mental institutions in the early 1900's.
"Feeblemindedness," a catch-all mental illness characterized mainly by low scores on intelligence tests and supposed promiscuity, was a major concern of eugenicists.
Eugenicists were concerned about the hundreds of thousands of southern and eastern Europeans who were entering the country each year through the U.S. immigration facility at Ellis Island,
Types of aliens awaiting admission at Ellis Island station. Source: National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
"Brains and the immigrant," by Melville Herskovits, The Nation (2)
11090. "Relaxing quotas for exiles fought" and "Science and immgration," New York Times, May 4 and August 12, 1934 (Laughlin against exemptions for Jews)
"Relaxing quotas for exiles fought" and "Science and immgration," New York Times, May 4 and August 12, 1934 (Laughlin against exemptions for Jews)
James Watson talks about The American eugenics movement and bad science
The eugenics movement applied Mendel's laws to complex human behaviors.