Eugénisme : certaines juridictions des USA ont passé des lois « anti-laideur » : des personnes considérées comme étant peu attrayantes, dégénérées, difformes, etc., devaient même se cacher.
Mauvais sang : l’histoire de l’eugénisme aux Etats-Unis, entre la fin du 19ème siècle et le milieu du 20 ème (et ce n’est pas fini...)
FIXING THE POOR
Eugenic sterilization and child welfare in the twentieth century
304pp. Johns Hopkins University Press. £40.50 (US $54.95).
Scott W. Stern
THE TRIALS OF NINA McCALL
Sex, surveillance, and the decades-long government plan to imprison “promiscuous” women
356pp. Beacon Press. £25 (US $28.95).
....It’s perhaps easy to see in the logic of America’s mass incarceration, or its so-called “school-to-prison pipeline”, or the internment camps where ethnic Japanese citizens were confined during the Second World War, or the enduring scar of slave auctions by which familial relationships were rendered irrelevant as children were snatched from their mothers and sold as chattel. Less well remembered, however, is the Progressive Era’s embrace of social Darwinism – a pseudoscience popular in Britain and Europe as well, but which, in America, came together as a powerfully institutionalized set of laws and enforcement mechanisms premissed on a mixture of misogyny, class bias, race panic and anti-immigrant resentment. It was during this period, from the late 1800s through to the first half of the twentieth century, that New York’s infamous Eugenics Records Office was formed to issue “pedigrees” of Nordic purity. This was the era of the Social Hygiene movement, which justified moral purges, intimate oversight of poor women’s reproductive choices, separation of children from parents, mass sterilizations, and the indefinite detention of those deemed “unfit”. This, too, was a time when the “American Plan” for eugenic manipulation flourished and grew – and which, when studied and implemented by Nazi Germany, morphed into the Final Solution....
...The American Plan (not to be confused with the anti-union movement of the same name) was a programme designed to control sexually transmitted disease. It was different from the earlier French Plan instituted by Napoleon, which sought to confine prostitution by semi-legalizing it. Known as “regulationism”, the French system required sex workers to register, submit to regular genital inspections, and confine their activities to particular (red light) districts. In contrast, the American Plan never completely bought the idea of prostitution as something that could or ought to be regulated; true to its more Puritan legacy, the US set about trying to eliminate “immorality” by outlawing it....
...Under the American Plan, degeneracy was also a matter of youth, aesthetic appearance and “obvious” abnormality . Children as young as eleven, including those who had been abused or the victims of incest, could be carelessly labelled “incorrigible” if they looked “slovenly”, and quarantined or scheduled for tubal ligation. And as #Susan_Schweik has shown in her masterly study The Ugly Laws: Disability in public (2010) , many states were also passing ordinances during the Progressive Era limiting the ability of people deemed unpleasant-looking to move about in public without licences. The limping, burnt, or blind, polio sufferers, those with shrivelled limbs, conspicuous birthmarks or speech impediments – all might be banned not only from begging but from conspicuous “display” of themselves in public.