NEOTB: New Eugenics On The Block

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Obligatory New Kids on the Block reference? Check. Within the article, “Cultures of Eugenics,” subRosa argues for the resurgence of eugenic thinking. Presenting a historical primer on ‘old style eugenics,’ the article contends that the term was derived from the Greek word meaning “true breed.” Moreover, eugenics is defined as “a science that deals with the improvement-as by control of human mating- of hereditary qualities of a race or breed. However, although many believe the use of eugenics has been expunged, subRosa argues that it has been re-appropriated, “this time in the guise of genetic engineering” (subRosa 4). Prior to reading this article, I wasn’t aware of the connection between eugenics and certain medical procedures that are commonly utilized. For instance, the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and cloning could be observed as a form of eugenic activity, in that it is “an improvement of human characteristics through scientifically controlled reproduction” (subRosa 8). Interestingly enough, subRosa brings up a valid point when they as if “our fears of eugenics’ bad history hold us back from pursing theses seemingly beneficial new developments” (subRosa 9)? Personally, although I’ve always associated the practice/term of eugenics with something negative, I do believe that its transformation into beneficial technology should be grounds for endorsement.

-Ro Weissberg

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