VISUAL 'STIGMATA' & CRIMINAL TYPES
Criminologists including Italian eugenicist Cesare Lombroso posited that a person inherited their criminal tendencies and bore markers of those pathological traits in pronounced features, including large or crooked noses, sloped foreheads, long arms, and dark skin tones. His anthropological measurements of criminals predated fingerprints and helped establish the concept of "criminal types," who were considered genetic throwbacks. Lombroso classified criminals into 5 categories: Born criminals, occasional criminals, criminals by passion, moral imbeciles, and criminal epileptics. Many of his theories persist in policing and law enforcement today.
THE POOR AS 'HUMAN WASTE'
Children living in impoverished households were often classified, eugenically, according to the mental capacity of their parents. Birth control advocates, including Birth Control League / Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, conflated the relationship between poverty and fecundity with feeble-mindedness, a catchall term used to categorize those considered to be mental and moral defectives who had no outward signs of poor stock. The ability of feebleminded persons to hide in plain sight, caused significant alarm among reformers and led to overt surveillance of marginalized communities through public institutions (health services, schools, and benevolent societies). Sanger wrote; "feeble-minded women 'constitute a permanent menace to the race' and one which becomes serious at a time when the decline of the birth-rate is unmistakable." She cited eugenicist Dr. Alfred Tredgold's research in his book, Mental Deficiency (1908) of degenerate families averaging 7.3 babies at a time when respectable families averaged only 4.
STERILIZATIONS OF THE 'UNFIT'
EUGENIC BIRTHS OR NONE AT ALL
Birth control constituted a game-changer for eugenicists who wished to ensure the healthy production of fit Americans, while offering a safe alternative to sterilzations for the unfit. Condums, which were illegal until 1960s came in packaging that attested to its function as a tool for "racial hygiene." Reformers also stressed the dangers of pregnancies and abortions to the individual, while affirming the necessity of culling the unfit. "Today society treats feeble-minded or "defective delinquent" men or women as "criminals," sentences them to prison or reformatory for a "term," and then releases them at the expiration of their sentences. They are usually at liberty just long enough to reproduce their kind, and then they return again and again to prison. The truth of this statement is evident from the extremely large proportion in institutions of neglected and dependent children, who are the feebleminded offspring of such feeble- minded parents." [Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization, New York: Brentano, 1922 (83).]
FANTASY vs. FUNCTION
EUGENICS IN PLAIN VIEW