The Effects of Scientific Racism on Black Women
Scientific racism has been used to oppress, enslave and to justify torture. In my essay I will explore how scientific racism has been used to detriment the health of women of colour. Throughout history women of colour have been experimented upon, sexualized and reproductively abused with scientific racism as justification or the underlying premise for the thought behind this abuse. I will explore this idea using examples throughout various periods of history, as well I will show the contemporary effects.
First, I will look at the enslavement of Africans in the New World. During this period women of African descent were raped and abused. They were deemed as sexual beings and were used not only as producers but also as reproducers, to replenish the enslaved population. This latter role was also perpetuated through the rape of enslaved African women by their white slave masters. Thus, the health of these women was negated for the welfare of the plantation system. This system was justified by scientific racism and my essay will show how Europeans came to the conclusion that this was morally permissible. I will also explore how this has affected the idea of motherhood, showing the eurocentric view of African motherhood and contrast this with
Another historical issue I will investigate is the governmentally coerced sterilization of women of colour in North America. I will particularly focus on Native American women, women of African descent and Puerto Rican women. I will look at the historical influence of governmentally funded sterilization from the beginning of the eugenics movement, a movement, which originated through scientific racism, in the nineteenth century to see how this affects women of colour today. I will also investigate the social prejudices and rationalizations for sterilization of the "less-talented" members of society advocated by the most influential social and biological scientists in North American history. These "science"-based eugenic influences break through the lines of science in to the world of politics, promulgating anti-humanistic views of poor women of colour in the form of legislation fraught with bigotry and baseless generalizations. This political view flows through the judicial system, as courts apply eugenic philosophies in determining who should be sterilized and for what reasons.
Black feminists have investigated how rape as a specific form of sexual violence is embedded in a system of interlocking race, gender, and class oppression (Davis 1978, 1981, 1989; Hall 1983). Reproductive rights issues such as access to information on sexuality and birth control, the struggles for abortion rights, and patterns of forced sterilization have also garnered attention
Examining the links between sexuality and power in a system of interlocking race, gender, and class oppression should reveal how important controlling Black women's sexuality has...