What do you think?
Rate this book
501 pages, Hardcover
First published January 9, 2007
In 1915, Dr. Harry J. Haiselden heralded the first wave of U.S. eugenics when he gained fame and wealth by exploiting the evil legacy of the black mother...On November 12, 1915, he announced to newspapers that he allowed the ailing but viable newborn of his patient Anna Bollinger to die in Chicago's German-American Hospital because he would have gone through life as defective. Between 1915 and 1918, Haiselden killed five other babies, drawing fawning attention from the press each time. Practicing negative eugenics very publicly, Haiselden encouraged parents and other pediatricians to follow his example by killing or allowing the deaths of the "genetically inferior." Parents began openly to recruit doctors to kill their children who were born with birth defects, and doctors came forward with their own proud confessions of infanticide....When he decided to make a film to popularize his eugenic ideals, starring himself, it became a hit, making him a wealthy movie star. The film was The Black Stork. It begins with the story of a white, wealthy, well-born slave owner who, in a moment of inebriation, is seduced by his "vile, filthy" black servant.When I was a child, I was gaslit with such implications that since I wasn’t being physically/sexually abused in an obvious manner, I had nothing to complain about. Protest against this of any sort was met with the insistence that of course they had to treat me badly in order to prepare me for the “real world”, as I certainly couldn’t expect to survive in the “real world” if I felt entitled to people treating me humanely, regardless of my circumstances of age, intelligence, physical constitution, and personal appearance. Well. Here is this “real world” everyone’s been talking about, albeit more sordid and strange and terrifyingly consistent than the average parent would wield in front of their children’s faces when it came totalitarian pedagogy. The fact that my childhood imaginings that once kept me in line pale in the face of such truths is a boon rather than a disappointment, for it’s given me an ironclad constitution for research and bred-in-the-bone ethics that trusts the ideologies on top as far as it can throw their idolaters. I don't give a fuck how comfortable the status quo makes you. You either dislike being a cannibal, or you don't, and pulling a Cronus isn't going to save you forever.
Black bodies on anatomists' tables, black[ people's] skeletons hanging in doctors' offices, and the widespread display of purloined black body parts constituted the same kind of warning to African Americans as did the bodies of lynched men and women left hanging on trees where black[ people] would be sure to see them, or cut up as souvenirs of racial violence.In January of 2013, I made the decision to never conduct scientific research for money. Bear in mind this was from the perspective from Bioengineering, not the pre-med track, so I have no idea what kind of ethical bearings those who wish to become doctors get in the course of their university education. However, the beauty of the pre-med is the applicability from a wide variety of majors, thus making it possible for an English major to self-study in the requisite scientific courses and do well enough on the MCAT to get into medical school. After that, how much of that grueling education is medicine, and how much of it is ethics? The reason of all the people I knew for making the pre-med way was money, money, money, so if their classroom doesn't make an explicit effort to make it clear that medicine with compromised ethics is a monster that only the sadists excuse, all they'll come out with is money, money, money, and the power to wield that money in and below and around the laws that bind their creed. The US may have a streak of anti-intellectualism, but I'll let you make the decision whether that's worse than medical researchers kidnapping homeless people and foster children and HIV babies for deals with the devil that were never about "the greater good."
This essentially utilitarian argument presents an ethical balance sheet, with the savage medical abuse of captive women on one hand and countless women saved from painful invalidism on the other.It'd be so easy to turn this into a critique of capitalism. Money needs to be made, so the slaves will be cannibalized to serve the masters. Money needs to be made, so the impoverished need be to cannibalized to serve the masters. Money needs to be made, so the imprisoned should be cannibalized to serve the masters. Money needs to be made, so citizens of third world countries are available to be cannibalized to serve the masters. People who demand I offer them a workable alternative to capitalism think themselves entitled to putting responsibility for a think tank effort onto single person in response to my desire that human sacrifices no longer be rendered acceptable. In response to them, I question their religion, because the only thing saving belief from extinction is some measure of social humanity. In response to them, I question their knowledge of science, for the majority of studies were not only human experimentation, but were riddled with so many scientific flaws that reliance on the conclusive results would more likely than not leave those would-be benefactors dead. In response, I question their faith that the horrors detailed in these pages will never happen to them by way of skin color, or economic security, or intelligence, or sanity. The beauty of eugenics and capitalism is both are hierarchies that always require a bottom tier, and exterminating that bottom for the sake of a better top will only push those middle liners down, a new generation become an antithesis to the concept of those worthy of survival.
However, such an argument ignores the ethical concept of social justice, and these experiments violated this essential value because the suffering and benefits have been distributed in an unfair way, leading to distributive injustice. In this case, the most powerless group, which is also a racially distinct group and a captive group, is the group upon which doctors inflicted harm "for the grater good." Another, privileged group enjoys the benefits but shares near the pain nor the risks. Thus the moral unacceptability is clear.
Via Operation Paperclip, the U.S. government supplied American hospitals and clinics with seven hundred Nazi scientists.Beginning this, I quipped about a curiosity to discover from whence the Nazis drew their inspiration. Ending this, I'm tired, cause it's all right there, laid out in spades. History always makes everything a hell of a lot more complicated, because more often than not, the argument you're making only exists because of its history of abuse. People say fear of autism is the only reason anti-vaccinators have and I, looking at the CIA experimentation funded at home and abroad say no, that's not right. Others say Planned Parenthood is only capable of doing good with its proving for abortion and I, looking at its eugenicist creator and original goals of involuntary sterilization say no, that's not right either. The human population is burgeoning, but that doesn't mean we ignore the pockets that have been carved out for purposes of genocide or the military industrial complexes that require three earths to sustain their current rate of consumption. Medical advances are nice, but if you're willing to be treated by people who would gleefully forget the difference between therapy and research if they didn't live in fear of hoards amateur journalists descending on hospitals and scientific centers, camera phones and Wikipedia articles at ready, you're just a meal that's currently off limits.
A common apology for experimental abuse insists that we should not apply present-day medical ethics to the medical behaviors of yesterday, which were governed by less enlightened medical standards fro everyone, not just African Americans. However, ethical strictures did govern the behavior of nineteenth-century physicians. Before the mid-twentieth century, these binding ethical standards were not enforced by federal laws, but consisted of medical oaths, professional codes, and rules governing clinical conduct within medical schools, hospitals, and other institutions. These rules were carefully adhered to in cases of white patients but were routinely broken for African Americans.
Yale Law School ethicist Jay Katz, M.D., avers that in the eyes of many American researchers [the Nuremberg Code] was "a good code for barbarians but an unnecessary code for ordinary physicians."
Medical theories of criminality are important because medicine has long claimed a special provenance over criminality. The very frequent reference to a prison as a site of rehabilitation and treatment is the sine qua non of modern penology.The kind of shifts that would fulfill the adage of learning from history in order to avoid the doom of repeating it would require reparations for slavery and holistically ethical learning and all sorts of things that will never happen so long as society defends to death its playing to the tune of your money or your life. Those with scientific training that hide behind the excuse that the public who volunteers as subject material will never understand it aren't scientists, but piss poor socioeconomic abusers who aren't qualified enough to perform research due to a lack of ability in being able to explain every aspect to all and sundry. All and all, this work is an exact reason why the willful pretense that there is no confluence between science and the arts will forever entail that children are trained from the cradle to be sadists, because what is consent? What is worth? What can history tell us about why "the world" is acceptably wielded as some vague juggernaut to scare people into line, up until the point someone deconstructs "the world" and attempts to publish their findings of things more nightmarish and more unquestioned than the metaphor itself?
Leaving aside for a moment the egregious social fallout of selecting only black and Hispanic boys, this racial selection also created serious scientific error. When only one ethnicity is considered in an experiment to elicit general information about a heterogeneous population, an unacknowledged set of socioeconomic variables are introduced.
Silence governs those risk factors that cannot be laid to a blame-the-victim paradigm that emphasizes patients' high-risk behaviors.
South Africa's systematic murders via biological agents are important to this book because so many of the scientists involved in crafting South Africa's racist bioterror were Americans. In fact, the science of the apartheid could not have existed without the avid participation and guidance of a handful of American scientific renegades.People who aren't African Americans or Africans or in anyway associated with the concept of "black" can afford to read this because the process doesn't dehumanize via proxy for 500+ pages, especially in the case of those who gulped down The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and all its white author glory. There are instances of broad spectrum eugenics involving mental illness and poverty that touch upon other demographics, but intersectionality is the goal of this work, and you can't have that without black women. If you can't do it because you have a weak stomach, don't become a doctor. If you won't do it because it doesn't interest you, don't go to a doctor. It's alright for medicine to cost more than the human beings it sacrificed to better itself can afford, but for it to cost a recognition of those human beings? Absurd. Wouldn't you agree?
During World War II, prisoners had been commonly used as research subjects, and after the war, the United States was the only nation in the world continuing to legally use prisoners in clinical trials.
...[W]hen the desperately ill are confronted with extreme measures and heroic experimental ventures, they risk confusing research with therapy, and so do their doctors. Patients rarely understand that physicians conducting the research are primarily interested in the research, not an individual patient's survival and quality of life.
It is not necessary to waive informed consent in order to provide the unconscious with treatment: Laws already exist that permit doctors to offer the best-available treatment to patients who are comatose, unconscious, underage, or in other ways unable to consent to treatment. But these laws do not extend to experimentation, and rightly so.
"We now know, where we could only surmise before, that we have contributed to their ailments and shortened their lives."
-Oliver Clarence Wenger, M.D., U.S. Public Health Service, 1950