“This May Be the Most Dangerous Thing Donald Trump Believes”: Eugenic Populism and the American Body Politic
Seiten 291 - 302
This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
The 2016 election of a self-declared eugenicist to the most powerful political role in the world signified a widespread and worrying forgetting of America’s eugenic past. This essay shows how America’s current president employs similar rhetorical and fictive devices to those employed by eugenicists and politicians in the 1920s and 1930s, strategies that he now uses to fuel his supremacist fantasies. By linking up Trump’s lifelong belief in his genetic superiority (and thereby the apparent “truth” of eugenics more broadly) with earlier eugenic beliefs of the 1920s and 1930s, this paper explores how, despite being scientifically discredited, eugenics steadfastly remained a popular ideological staple of American meritocratic and supremacist belief.
1 Baynes, Chris. “University College London Launches Eugenics Probe.” The Independent. Independent Digital News & Media Ltd., 11 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-college-london-eugenics-probe-secret-conference-campus-ucl-white-supremacists-debate-lci-a8153326.html.
2 Bertoni, Steven. “How Jared Kushner Won Trump the White House.” Forbes. Forbes Media LLC, 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/11/22/exclusive-interview-how-jared-kushner-won-trump-the-white-house/.
3 Bradner, Eric. “Giuliani on Rigged Election: ‘Dead people generally vote for Democrats.’” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 16 Oct. 2016. Web. 16 May 2019. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/16/politics/rudy-giuliani-rigged-elections-donald-trump/index.html.
4 Currell, Susan. Introduction. Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s. Ed. Susan Currell and Christina Cogdell. Athens: Ohio UP, 2006. 1-14. Print.
5 Davis, Angela Y. “Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights.” Women, Race, and Class. By Angela Davis. New York: Random House, 1981. 202-21. Print.
6 Dawsey, Josh. “Trump Derides Protections for Immigrants from ‘Shithole’ Countries.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html.
7 “Donald Trump Under Fire for Mocking Disabled Reporter.” BBC. BBC, 26 Nov. 2015. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada- 34930042.
8 Dorey, Annette K. Vance. Better Baby Contests: The Scientific Quest for Perfect Childhood Health in the Early Twentieth Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. Print.
9 Goddard, Henry H. The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness. New York: Macmillan, 1912. Print.
10 Galton, Francis. The Eugenic College of Kantsaywhere. Ca. 1910. Galton Archive, Special Collections, University College London. Web. 4 Sept. 2019. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/special-collections/kantsaywhere.
11 Himes, Norman. “Memorandum.” Eugenics Review 27.1 (1935): 22. Print.
12 “International Eugenics Congresses.” Controlling Heredity: The American Eugenics Crusade, 1870-1940. Special Collections and Rare Books, University of Missouri. Web. 16 May 2019. https://library.missouri.edu/exhibits/eugenics/congresses.htm.
13 Kaczynski, Andrew, Chris Massie, and Nate McDermott. “Donald Trump to Howard Stern: It’s Okay to Call My Daughter a ‘Piece of Ass.’” CNN. Cable News Network, 9 Oct. 2016. Web. 16 May 2019. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/08/politics/trump-on-howard-stern/index.html.
14 Largent, Mark. Breeding Contempt: The History of Coerced Sterilization in the United States. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2008. Print.
15 Laughlin, Harry H. Eugenical Sterilization in the United States. Chicago: Psychopathic Laboratory of the Municipal Court of Chicago, 1922. Print.
16 Lombardo, Paul A. Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v Bell. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2008. Print.
17 ---, ed. A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2011. Print.
18 Mendoza, Mary E. “Treacherous Terrain: Racial Exclusion and Environmental Control at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” Environmental History 23.1 (2018): 117-26. https://doi.org/10.1093/envhis/emx124.
19 Montgomerie, Johnna. “Beyond the Zombie Economy.” openDemocracy. openDemocracy, 13 July 2016. Web. 4 Sept. 2019. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/beyond-zombie-economy/.
20 Nies, Betsy. Eugenic Fantasies: Racial Ideology in the Literature and Popular Culture of the 1920s. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.
21 Orebaugh, David. Crime, Degeneracy and Immigration; Their Interrelations and Interreactions. Boston: R. G. Badger, 1929. Print.
22 Osborne, Samuel. “Donald Trump Aides Think He May Have Learning Disabilities, Dementia or Can’t Read.” The Independent. Independent Digital News & Media Ltd., 7 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-mental-health-michael-wolff-learning-disabilities-dementia-adhd-read-semi-literate-fire-a8146176.html.
23 Pengelly, Martin, Sabrina Siddiqui, and David Smith. “Trump Challenges Tillerson to ‘Compare IQ Tests’ after Reported ‘Moron’ Dig.” The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Ltd., 10 Oct. 2017. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/10/donald-trump-forbes-rex-tillerson-moron.
24 Rafter, Nicole Hahn. White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies 1877-1919. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1988. Print.
25 Rucker, Philip, and John Wagner. “Trump Toasts His Nominees: ‘By Far the Highest IQ of Any Cabinet Ever Assembled.’” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/01/19/trump-toasts-his-nominees-by-far-the-highest-iq-of-any-cabinet-ever-assembled/.
26 Rydell, Robert. World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993. Print.
27 Seabrook, William B. The Magic Island. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1929. Print.
28 Seitler, Dana. Atavistic Tendencies: The Culture and Science in American Modernity. Minneapolis: U of Minneapolis P, 2008. Print.
29 Smith, David. “White House Doctor Says Trump Will Remain ‘Fit for Duty’ for Years.” The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Ltd., 17 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/16/white-house-doctor-says-trump-is-in-excellent-overall-health.
31 “This May Be the Most Dangerous Thing Donald Trump Believes.” HuffPost. Verizon Media, n. d. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-genes-eugenics_n_58ffd428e4b0af6d71898737.
32 “Tory MP Ben Bradley ‘Sorry’ for Blog Post about Jobless.” BBC. BBC, 16 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42712180.
33 Trump, Donald. Time to Get Tough: Make America #1 Again. Washington D. C.: Regnery Publishing, 2011. Print.
34 --- (@realDonaldTrump). “Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” 22 Mar. 2018, 3:19 a. m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/976765417908776963?lang=en.
35 --- (@realDonaldTrump). “Sorry losers and haters, but my I. Q. is one of the highest-and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” 8 May 2013, 6:37 p. m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/332308211321425920?lang=en.
36 Watt, Nicholas. “Boris Johnson Invokes Thatcher Spirit with Greed Is Good Speech.” The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Ltd., 27 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 May 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/27/boris-johnson-thatcher-greed-good.
37 White, R. Clyde. Administration of Public Welfare. New York: American Book Company, 1940. Print.
38 Wolff, Tamsen. Mendel’s Theatre: Heredity, Eugenics, and Early Twentieth-Century American Drama. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.