The U.S. has a dark history of "Master Race" thinking - which the Nazis studied and learned from. In this episode, we look at eugenics, forced sterilization and supremacy.
Hamer wasn't the only Black or Brown woman who faced forced sterilization in early and mid-20th century America. It was actually quite common, and purposefully put forward by many of the elite in the U.S. through the theory of Eugenics - or race supremacy - which the Nazis actually copied to formulate their own theories.
In this episode of American Dreams: Reproductive Justice, we look at how white America has tried to control women's bodies - both by keeping "undesirables" from getting pregnant, and keeping "desirable" pregnant women from having abortions.
Sociologist Alicia Suarez notes that anti-abortion sentiment was coopted by the religious right in the 1980s, but was actually propagated by early medical leaders who wanted to keep WASP women controlled by saddling them with children, and non-WASP women controlled by taking away their ability to procreate.
One of the ways the state of California forced sterilization on its residents was through the Sonoma County Children's home, where "deviants" were sent for punishment - for being poor, for not speaking English, for already having too many kids, for being a teenager raped by her father - and given a choice: stay imprisoned or get sterilized.
We talk to journalist Phil Barber about his stunning investigative piece in The Press Democrat in 2021. And with Alexandra Minna Stern and Natalie Lira, who help put our history in context. Hint: It doesn't reflect well on us.
Creators & Guests
What is American Dreams Podcast ?
American Dreams is a podcast that will explore exactly what Reproductive Justice means. Reproductive Justice was an idea birthed in 1994, by 12 Black women who felt unseen by the white establishment.
The four principles of Reproductive Justice are:
1. The right to have a child
2. The right to not have a child (which includes sterilization, which many doctors won’t do)
3. The right to have a child in a healthy environment and then raise them safely
4. The right to bodily autonomy and sexuality
These principles are repeated throughout this podcast, as well as homages to the 12 founders who “gave birth” to the Reproductive Justice movement.
American Dreams: Reproductive Justice is executive produced and hosted by Erika Washington, powered by Make It Work Nevada. The podcast is produced, written and edited by Carrie Kaufman of Overthinking Media LLC. Music by Wil Black of Black Gypsy Music. Artwork by Brent Holmes.