eugenics is a scientific and social movement, based on charles darwin's theories of human evolution, which was originally defined as the science of racial betterment - its name being based on the greek words for "good" and "born"*. eugenics is related to social darwinism, which focuses on extending darwin's theories of plant and animal evolution to the social lives of human beings, especially in regard to societal processes. eugenics also drew on malthusian assertions that human social problems are caused by overpopulation by the poor and other marginalized groups as well as by a parallel decline in the birth rate among those perceived as socially superior. eugenics, together with social darwinism and malthusian-based concerns about overpopulation, were highly influential in wealthy industrialist nations around the turn of the twentieth century, professed by those who claimed to be both socially conservative as well as the socially liberal. these views granted wealthy western groups an empirical standing for their supposed pre-eminence and the correctness of their political and social values, as well as absolution from their responsibility for inequality, wars, or poverty. these theories were also central to the establishment of what became known as scientific racism and sexism, often treating varied ethnic groups as disparate species and women as an inferior sub-species. eugenics remains a significant influence on the writings of contemporary white nationalists and promoters of white racial superiority, including psychologists who adhere to these values.
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eugenics in the united states:
forced sterilization policies in the us targeted minorities and those with disabilities and lasted into the 21st century