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Recently, Jennifer Cramblett lost her “wrongful birth” lawsuit, which centered on a troubling ideology that has been creeping into mainstream discussions in ways not seen in decades. Cramblett claimed that the sperm used to inseminate her came from the wrong donor, leading to a biracial child, which she had not wanted. Her lawsuit claimed that this mix-up in the lab caused her and her family personal injuries of various kinds.
This lawsuit was shadowed by a troubling logic: the idea that race is a biological reality with particular traits and behaviors that can be avoided through proper breeding practices. In doing so, Cramblett’s claims echoed arguments made in a darker era of global history of “scientific” racism.
Consider a recent paper that argues that ethnic conflict throughout history is a result of genetic diversity among communities. The authors argue that genetic diversity is the dominant force behind conflict among groups. It pushes religious communities into battle, causes distrust among neighbors and dictates support for problematic social policies. Such an argument places the history and future of human conflict in genes, as if human interaction and environmental influences cannot match their power.
White supremacist groups use news from increased research on genetics and racial differences to explain not only athletic results, but larger racial inequalities in the world. For example, Dylann Roof — the alleged Charleston, S.C., massacre shooter — wrote in his manifesto: “Negroes have lower IQs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior.”
Read full, original post: Born that way? ‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. Here’s what to watch out for.