a California Prison Eugenics Storify

You may not want to click in, but sometimes all that’s left is for us to bear witness...and remember forever. My apologies for having failed not to double some up, even with 'hide the replies' in Customization.

@ScottHech

We are coming up on the 100-year anniversary of the infamous 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, upholding a statute of compulsory sterilization of the unfit "for the protection & health of the state," & set a precedent for states to legally sterilize people in prisons."

@ScottHech Feb 25

Keep context in mind: -Women are fastest growing prison population -Nearly 80% are mothers -44% are Black -3/4 of are of child-bearing age (18-44) -92% of women in CA prisons have been "battered or abused" in lifetimes -231k women incarcerated. 1.3 women on state supervision

Belly of the Beast: California's dark history of forced sterilizations; Documentary tells story of state-sanctioned process in prisons as activists fight for a reparations bill’, June 30, 2020, theguardian.com (a brief excerpt)

“California banned coerced sterilizations as means of birth control in prisons in 2014, driven in part by Dillon’s testimony. The law requires local jails and state prisons to track and report surgeries and also provides whistleblower protections. While the bill passed unanimously, its carefully negotiated language allowed the state to escape further responsibility. “Their position was that they didn’t want to admit anything or apologize for any wrongdoing or have any real culpability,” said Chandler about the state.

The bill also didn’t address the long and ugly history of forced sterilizations in the state outside of its prisons.

At the turn of the 20th century, the eugenics movements captivated much of white America, fueled by a zealous faith that the burgeoning field of genetics could socially engineer away America’s “ills”, including poverty, crime and “feeblemindedness”. Thirty-two states had sterilization laws, but California’s program was unrivaled. It contributed to a third of total national sterilizations, and set an example for Nazi Germany’s sterilization laws.

From 1909 to 1979, under the state eugenics laws, California forcibly sterilized about 20,000 people in state institutions who were deemed “unfit to produce”. The program disproportionately targeted the Latino community, women, people with disabilities and impairments – even those who had children out of wedlock. The mean age of victims was 17, and they included children as young as 12.”

Subtweeters had added another horror story:

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enhydra lutris's picture

much more common than we know.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

wendy davis's picture

@enhydra lutris

but i tried not to weep. yes, much more common and hidden. we're getting more reports of involuntary sterilizations by ICE, but i'd decide not to research that...for now.

two brief trailers sharing a small amount of the same footage:

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wendy davis's picture

link in the last Tweet a bit:

Some 130,000 Ethiopians, most of them Jewish, live in Israel. The community experiences higher poverty and unemployment rates than the rest of the country's Jewish population. In the past decade, the birth rate among Ethiopian-Israelis has declined by at least 20 percent. Advocacy groups now claim this decline is the result of a birth control regimen forced upon Ethiopian immigrant women.

According to an article in Haaretz, an Israeli news source, one Ethiopian immigrant said that the doctors who injected her claimed that “people who frequently give birth suffer.” While it is possible, if highly unlikely, that doctors genuinely had the women’s health in mind when they forcibly injected them with contraceptives, there is no excuse for depriving women sovereignty over their own reproductive choices.

Israel has acknowledged the issue (without admitting any wrongdoing) and has vowed institutional changes in healthcare for immigrants. By decree of Israel’s health minister, gynecologists have been ordered "not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.” Still, intense scrutiny should be applied by women’s groups and international organizations to make sure these changes are implemented in full. Moreover, more attention must be paid to the plight of vulnerable African immigrants around the world.

That Israel should allegedly engage in this activity is particularly shocking, considering the practice was widely used by the Germans throughout the Shoah. While the scale and effects of these operations cannot be compared, Israel’s implicit intent to limit ‘burdensome’ (read: undesirable) portions of the population recalls the dark eugenics experiments of World War II.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

This is almost entirely composed of what an old teacher of mine would've panned as "loaded language". I'm certainly not assuming it's not true, but after the last 7 years, I can no longer be uncritical of anything that conforms to the IdPo narrative as well as this happens to (or any "narrative", really; I've grown allergic to the very term):

Kelli teamed up w/ radical female lawyers....

What is meant by this? It's one thing if he just means "radical lawyers who happen to be female" (in which case, "radical" how?), but I would no more trust "radical feminists" to deliver an accurate account of this than I would the ADL to deliver an accurate account of Middle Eastern politics.

In the process, they discovered it was more than just forced sterilizations. It was sexual assault...

AFAIK prison guards are all of the same sex as their inmates (no doubt partially in a short-sighted attempt to prevent this sort of thing), which ought not to change/prove/disprove anything but could effortlessly be overlooked/misread in a society that refuses to take female sex-criminals seriously, especially on Twitter (The Mind-Killer![TM]); furthermore, this acts as if the public perception of prison isn't already so heavily biased in the "Don't Drop The Soap!" direction that it probably exceeds the reality (I recall reading an article a while back by a former men's prison guard saying, among other things, that most prison sex is actually consensual - of course, that's where Twain's remark about statistics drifts over the horizon). Of course, given my previous observation, it would sadly make sense if the assumption were reversed for women's prisons.

...Inadequate healthcare...

In an American prison??? No shit, Sherlock!!! Again, what does that even mean in a country where the standards for "free" people are already so bad that even people from the former Soviet bloc are shocked and sorry for us? It could be yet another case of miscommunication via free-falling standards.

...All targeting women of color.

In what manner, by whose volition, for what ostensible purpose, how do we know this...and who the everliving fuck qualifies for this thoroughly ill-conceived and regressive new demographic term?

I'm sorry, but this is riddled with so many red flags that it would be sloppy of me not to be skeptical (remember when "don't believe what you read on the Internet" was THE NORM?).

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat @The Liberal Moonbat

email life, extraordinary and almost surreal 'Microsoft' computer problems, and searching for more on the Zionist Project, i can't make much sense of your comment. i need some rest for my mind (what's left of it) and mine eyes, but i'll be back as i'm able.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis Say what you will about Microsoft, at least it's not Apple!

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

even on a second reading. you seem to believe that everything that seems to be about people of color is rubbish. well...sometimes it' just the plain truth. did you read the piece at the guardian?

now had you objected to some of the weasel words used by the Forbes author as to the ethiopians in israel, i would have agreed.

i'd ask bluntly:

What should we expect in a nation built on the twin sins o genocide and slavery, and Israel, a nation created by parallel lies about palestine? both were stolen lands, already occupied.

oddly enough, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of Lord Balfour's declaration, thus Churchhill's comments are readily available. many like: 'the palestinians never could have made the deserts bloom', and 'palestine was never an Official State'.

as i remember it (don't count on it), it too making agitrprop movies like Paul Newman's 3-hour (?) Exodus to help it pass.

and woe to me, i was a young Zionist shiksa for many years.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis Please try to bear in mind the geographical/generational/neurological-bordering-on-taxonomical differences you and I have established are between us. I like you; most of what you bring here is top-shelf.

now had you objected to some of the weasel words used by the Forbes author as to the ethiopians in israel, i would have agreed.

Let's start with this: I did not read the Forbes article, nor the Guardian article. I was reacting STRICTLY to the contents of the Tweets in your OP (maybe Twitter itself is to blame, I begrudge it its very existence). Does that help any?

and woe to me, i was a young Zionist shiksa for many years.

I suppose that's your cross to bear (hardee-har-har?); I was never like Helen "Back to Germany" Thomas (guess the NYT died with her, didn't it?), but I've certainly never been a Zionist, either. Israel was there long before I was. People have a right to move about wherever they please, there's just no excuse for being a shitty neighbor - and when/if it is truly an issue (I say it is so far less often than many think), I suppose it's just common sense to defer to regional seniority.

Damned straight the US and Israel failed these tests spectacularly, but that has nothing to do with my reasons for criticism/skepticism of the above story.

i'd ask bluntly:

What should we expect in a nation built on the twin sins o genocide and slavery, and Israel, a nation created by parallel lies about palestine? both were stolen lands, already occupied.

This misses my point entirely. Let's try this: What do you think I am saying that you are arguing with?

you seem to believe that everything that seems to be about people of color is rubbish.

Rule To Live By: There's no such thing as psychic powers (more's the pity, right? I wanna telekinetically blow people's heads up, dammit!!!), so telling other people what they think is a no-no, and says more about the speaker's thoughts than the spoken-to's.

I'm entirely disenchanted with the term "people of color" itself, so that might be what you're seeing. It's a supremely regressive, horrendously abusable term, even more meaningless than all the other group labels. If I didn't know any better (and do I, really?), I'd say it's been popularized in recent years because it is simplistic, divisive, and confusing. When has a binary worldview ever been a good thing? Zoroastrians do alright with it because the cosmic struggle is within the individual, but other than that....

well...sometimes it' just the plain truth.

I thought I'd addressed this in my first paragraph (before the first quote).

Literally anything might be true "sometimes", so it's not a very good argument when applied to a specific. I like to call that the "Cookie Monster Fallacy":

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

you and i have a long history of 'failures to communicate' well. at least half that fault must lie with me, amigo.

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wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

sterilizations:

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis More facts, more individual sources, little-to-no NewSpeak (if "women of color" is mentioned anywhere but your own header, I'm missing it), some might label "eugenics" as "loaded language" but I'm fine with it (with the caveat that intent does matter - the Holodomor brought hell to Earth, but we can recognize that fact without it necessarily being "genocide"), and it all seems to me like just more banality-of-evil-capitalism.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

in a bit of what you'd called 'due diligence'. ; )

i think that 'people of color' came into usage when it was clearer that 'race' was a political construct about skin pigmentation/melanin levels, not a biological one. black, red, brown, yellow, white and so on. 'african-amerikan' was preferred over black'; our kid calls himself black, cuz he is identifiably black, although half Aztecan.

but my larger point is that what happens to people of color is not always divisive ID politics, but just the truth of it. sometimes class enters into it, as well, of course. but modern day eugenics
are almost always aimed at the dark-complected, maybe especially in africa.

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wendy davis's picture

i'm outta gas and need to shut down for the night. can't think of a worthy closing song, so i'll end with this:

‘Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.’

~Edward Said

thank you all for the conversation.

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What have you wrought? I mean "we are the bestest in the world. It can't happen here because liberty, human rights something something. It happens only in China" [end snark]

Following some Chinese diaspora people on SM. They often point how we inflict on vulnerable groups/nations the exact same things we accuse other countries of doing [ esp China lately]. That popped up in my mind as I was reading this. And I haven't come across one reliable source reg sterilisation of Uighur women. Yet. It's always that crackpot Zenz or some stinktank funded by weapons manufacturers. The prison pics in Central CA resemble the Uighur internment camps(as the lamestream media want us to believe).

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wendy davis's picture

@Funkygal

this story (now these stories) needed to be told. they make my heart ache, and my stomach sick.

your second paragraph is fascinating, partially because i'd seen the same thing online and on twitter:

And I haven't come across one reliable source reg sterilisation of Uighur women. Yet.

China, Russia, Iran...Evil. now under biden, Israel and KSA are 'our partners in peace now. and US CENTCOM just added Israel...in the 'struggle' against iran.

thanks, funkygal. yes, the US 'exports' morality and democracy™.

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@wendy davis Thank you Wendy. I dont comment here much - mostly lurk here late night but follow the posts. Much appreciate your work. I esp like your ecelectic sources.

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wendy davis's picture

@Funkygal

you comment rarely, and that i always appreciate them. i have another one to post just now by eva bartlett who always commits brave and true journalism. ; )

best to you, funkygal,
wd

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wendy davis's picture

@Funkygal

Does the West Repeating Claims of China Committing Genocide in Xinjiang Reify It?,
by Kim Petersen / February 22nd, 2021, dissident voice

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