Examining Pseudo Race IQ Theories (Part 2)

The Historical Impact of Pseudo IQ Testing and Bias Eugenic Laws Towards’ American Immigration

In this article, I will show how America’s immigration policy was grounded in eugenics and pseudo-science. Before attempting to debunk or present counter arguments, it is first important that I continue to show the root of the problem, and the arguments that are often made by those who embrace theories of IQ variations among races. In “Part One” I introduce the leaders promoting IQ variations among races, and the history behind their views. In this article, I will examine the link between pseudo IQ testing and eugenics studies in America, resulting in the creation of bias and discriminatory laws. If you have not read “part one,” I suggest you read it before reading this article.

Make Sure To: Read Part 1 Read Part 3

Let’s start with examining how Adolf Hitler viewed America’s immigration policies.

“I realize fully that nobody likes to hear these things. But it would be difficult to find anything more illogical or more insane than our contemporary laws in regard to State citizenship. At present there exists one State which manifests at least some modest attempts that show a better appreciation of how things ought to be done in this matter. It is not, however, in our model German Republic but in the U.S.A. that efforts are made to conform at least partly to the counsels of commonsense. By refusing immigrants to enter there if they are in a bad state of health, and by excluding certain races from the right to become naturalized as citizens, they have begun to introduce principles similar to those on which we wish to ground the People's State.” - Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement

Chapter III: Subjects and Citizens

Congress passed America's first naturalization law in 1790. It limited the privilege of US citizenship to only "free white persons." About a century later, immigration laws began to restrict who could enter the country. The 1882 Act to Regulate Immigration prohibited entry to "any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge". The law was designed to exclude immigrants whose undesirable conditions might prove costly to society – including convicted criminals, the poor, and the mentally ill. In that same year, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first measure to specifically target immigrants by race or ethnicity. In the 1890's the federal government assumed sole jurisdiction to monitor immigration, a task that had previously been delegated by contract to states with port cities. The government built a depot on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, through which all immigrants were to be processed. By the turn of the century, that number had increased to almost 800,000, and in 1907 it passed 11/4 million. As the numbers of immigrants increased, eugenicists allied themselves with other interest groups to provide biological arguments to support immigration restriction. In 1911, Immigration Restriction League President Prescott Hall asked his former Harvard classmate Charles Davenport of the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) for assistance to influence Congressional debate on immigration. Davenport recommended a survey to determine the national origins of "hereditary defectives" in American prisons, mental hospitals and other charitable institutions. Davenport appointed ERO colleague Harry Laughlin to manage the research program. - Paul Lombardo, University of Virginia

From 1892 to 1954, New York’s “Ellis Island” was the United States main immigration gateway, attending to over 12 million immigrants. In 1913, The United States Public Health Services administered versions of the “Binet – Simon Test” to immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. Those studying eugenics wanted to know how intelligent Europeans Immigrants were that were arriving. Meanwhile, the first mass administration of IQ testing in the United States took place in the early 1900’s when 1.7 million civilians applied to join the United States army during World War I. Lewis Madison Terman, a huge supporter of eugenics, served in a psychological testing role with the United States military. Terman was able to work with psychologists like “Robert Yerkes” to analyze and categorize army recruits. While Terman is known for the “Stanford- Binet Intelligent Scale,” Yerkes developed the Army's Alpha and Beta Intelligence Tests, the first nonverbal group tests, which were given to over 1 million United States soldiers during the war.

Lewis Madison Terman’s views:

“High-grade or border-line deficiency... is very, very common among Spanish-Indian and Mexican families of the Southwest and also among Negroes. Their dullness seems to be racial, or at least inherent in the family stocks from which they come... Children of this group should be segregated into separate classes... They cannot master abstractions but they can often be made into efficient workers... from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem because of their unusually prolific breeding.” - The Measurement of Intelligence, 1916, p. 91-92

"Perhaps a median IQ of 80 for Italian, Portuguese, and Mexican school children in the cities of California would be a liberal estimate. How much of this inferiority is due to the language handicap and to other environmental factors it is impossible to say, but the relatively good showing made by certain other immigrant groups similarly handicapped would suggest that the true causes lie deeper than environment." - Mental and Physical Traits of a Thousand Gifted Children, Volume 1, 1925, p. 57

The recruits were given group intelligence tests. Testing options included:

1) The Army Alpha Test - a text-based test.

2) The Army Beta Test - a picture-based test for nonreaders.

Between 25 to 30 percent of the recruits were unable to read the Alpha test. The results concluded that most of the Italians, Hungarians, Jews & Russians were “feeble minded.” Testing concluded that recent immigrants, especially those from Southern and Eastern Europe, scored considerably lower than older waves of immigrants from Northern Europe.

The studies enforced negative stereotypes despite its flawed methodologies. The results would later be criticized as very clearly “only measuring acculturation,” as the test scores correlated nearly exactly with the number of years spent living in the US. The effects of Yerkes work would have a lasting effect on American xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. His work was used as one of the eugenic motivations for harsh and racist immigration restrictions. He was appointed as an "Expert Eugenic Agent" to The House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, where his work would contribute to the creation of the discriminatory National Origins Formula. - Connell, W.; Gardaphé, F. (2010). Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice. Springer. p. 48. ISBN 9780230115323

Emergency Quota Act, also known as the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921, restricted immigration into the United States. Although intended as temporary legislation, the Act "proved in the long run the most important turning-point in American immigration policy" - John Higham, Strangers in the Land (1963), 311

The law added limits on immigration and the use of a quota system for establishing those limits. Those limits came to be known as the National Origins Formula.The Emergency Quota Act restricted the number of immigrants admitted from any country annually to 3% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States as of the U.S. Census of 1910. This meant that people from northern European countries had a higher quota and were more likely to be admitted to the U.S. than people from Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, or other, non-European countries. Professionals were to be admitted without regard to their country of origin. The Act set no limits on immigration from Latin America. The act did not apply to countries with bilateral agreements with the US, or to Asian countries listed in the Immigration Act of 1917, known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act. - Wikipedia

Harry Hamilton Laughlin was a leading American eugenicist in the first half of the 20th century. He was the Superintendent of the Eugenics Record Office from its inception in 1910 to its closing in 1939, and was among the most active individuals in influencing American eugenics policy, especially compulsory sterilization legislation. In 1920, Laughlin appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. Using data for the U.S. Census Bureau and a survey of the number of foreign-born persons in jails, prisons and reformatories, he argued that the "American" gene pool was being polluted by a rising tide of intellectually and morally defective immigrants – primarily from eastern and southern Europe. Sympathetic to Laughlin's message, Committee Chairman Albert Johnson of Washington State appointed Laughlin as "expert eugenics agent." Laughlin’s research culminated in his 1924 testimony to Congress in support of a eugenically-crafted immigration restriction bill. The Eugenics Research Association displayed a chart beneath the Rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington showing the cost to taxpayers of supporting Laughlin's "social inadequates." This resulted in the “Immigration Restriction Act of 1924.” - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States as of the 1890 census, down from the 3% cap set by the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which used the Census of 1910. The law was primarily aimed at further restricting immigration of Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans, especially Italians and Eastern European Jews. In addition, it severely restricted the immigration of Africans and outright banned the immigration of Arabs and Asians. (Wikipedia) Another change to the quota altered the basis of the quota calculations. The quota had been based on the number of people born outside of the United States, or the number of immigrants in the United States. The new law traced the origins of the whole of the U.S. population, including natural-born citizens. The new quota calculations included large numbers of people of British descent whose families had long resided in the United States. As a result, the percentage of visas available to individuals from the British Isles and Western Europe increased, but newer immigration from other areas like Southern and Eastern Europe was limited. - Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs/United States Department of State

The Immigration Act of 1924 targeted:

Southern and Eastern Europeans

Eastern European Jews

Mainly Italians

Restricted Africans

& Banned Arabs and Asians

It was done in the name of eugenics to control undesirable immigrants. Under the new law, the quota of southern and eastern Europeans was reduced from 45% to 15%. The 1924 Act ended the greatest era of immigration in U.S. history. Upon signing the Act, President Calvin Coolidge commented, "America must remain American." This phrase would become the rallying cry of anti-immigration sentiment until after World War II. The eugenic intent of the 1924 law and the quota system it established remained in place until they were repealed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's

The collection was not limited to this broad category of mental disabilities either, as the population of those affected by the eugenics movement was composed of people with physical disabilities as well. Additionally, there existed an underlying concern for specifically racial degeneration – that is, the concern that the “superior” white race was threatened by potential population growth of minority races. - Devan Forbes As a result, the racially bias views promoted in eugenics resulted in experiments like the “Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.”

“Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment," originally known as the “Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro”, the Tuskegee study (1932-1972) was experiment conducted by the United States Public Health Service (PHS) on African American males who had been diagnosed with non-infectious Syphilis in Tuskegee, Alabama. The subjects were led to believe that they would receive treatment in the form of drugs and spinal taps, but were not given any form of medical intervention. The subjects believed that they suffered from an ambiguous condition called “bad blood”, and were not treated with penicillin even when it was scientifically proven to be the ideal treatment for syphilis. Today, Tuskegee is an example of deception, lack of informed consent, failure to grant autonomy, and racism and scientific hubris. It is believed that the African American community faith in public health efforts has been diminished since the unethical and racist details of the study were released. - Wikipedia

American eugenics refers inter alia to compulsory sterilization laws adopted by over 30 states that led to more than 60,000 sterilizations of disabled individuals. Many of these individuals were sterilized because of a disability: they were mentally disabled or ill, or belonged to socially disadvantaged groups living on the margins of society. American eugenic laws and practices implemented in the first decades of the twentieth century influenced the much larger National Socialist compulsory sterilization program, which between 1934 and 1945 led to approximately 350,000 compulsory sterilizations and was a stepping stone to the Holocaust. Even after the details of the Nazi sterilization program (as well as its role as a precursor to the "Euthanasia" murders) became more widely known after World War II (and which the New York Times had reported on extensively and in great detail even before its implementation in 1934), sterilizations in some American states did not stop. Some states continued to sterilize residents into the 1970s. - Lutz Kaelber

Beyond its laws, the Nazis also admired America’s conquest of the West. In 1928, Hitler praised the Americans for having "gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand" in the course of founding their continental empire. The US stood alone in the world for the harshness of its anti-miscegenation laws, which not only prohibited racially mixed marriages, but also threatened mixed-race couples with severe criminal punishment. Again, this was not law confined to the South. It was found all over the US: Nazi lawyers carefully studied the statutes, not only of states such as Virginia, but also states such as Montana. In 1936, Nazi law makers remarked at how the U.S formed second-class citizenship for other minority groups of the Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Native Americans, scattered all over the Union and its colonies. American forms of second-class citizenship were of great interest to Nazi policymakers as they set out to craft their own forms of second-class citizenship for the German Jewry. Hitler wanted to learn how Americans did it. He believed what made America great was American racism. - Devan Forbes

Compulsory Sterilization’s - forced or coerced sterilization, programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical or other sterilization. The reasons governments implement sterilization programs vary in purpose and intent. Eugenics was a commonly accepted means of protecting society from the offspring (and therefore equally suspect) of those individuals deemed inferior or dangerous. Coerced sterilization is a shameful part of America’s history, and one doesn’t have to go too far back to find examples of it. Used as a means of controlling “undesirable” populations – immigrants, people of color, poor people, unmarried mothers, the disabled, the mentally ill – federally-funded sterilization programs took place in 32 states throughout the 20th century. Driven by prejudiced notions of science and social control, these programs informed policies on immigration and segregation. – Independent Lens

Interesting facts:

Beginning in 1909 and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent. Approximately 20,000 sterilizations took place in state institutions, comprising one-third of the total number performed in the 32 states where such action was legal. - The UC Santa Barbara Current

California’s eugenic laws and programs inspired Nazi Germany.

Researcher Alex Stern, author of the new book Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in America, adds: “In the early 20th century across the country, medical superintendents, legislators, and social reformers affiliated with an emerging eugenics movement joined forces to put sterilization laws on the books. Such legislation was motivated by crude theories of human heredity that posited the wholesale inheritance of traits associated with panoply of feared conditions such as criminality, feeblemindedness, and sexual deviance. Many sterilization advocates viewed reproductive surgery as a necessary public health intervention that would protect society from deleterious genes and the social and economic costs of managing ‘degenerate stock’.”

California was such a prominent practitioner of forced sterilization that it was held up as a model by the Eugenics Record Office, the Long Island think tank that was the movement's unofficial headquarters. The Eugenics Record Office, in turn, had links to the Nazi party during the 1930s. - Tom Abate / SF Gate

While California’s eugenics programs were driven in part by anti-Asian and anti-Mexican prejudice, Southern states also employed sterilization as a means of controlling African American populations. “Mississippi appendectomies” was another name for unnecessary hysterectomies performed at teaching hospitals in the South on women of color as practice for medical students. This NBC news article discusses North Carolina’s eugenics program, including stories from victims of forced sterilization like Elaine Riddick. A third of the sterilizations were done on girls under 18, even as young as 9. The state also targeted individuals seen as “delinquent” or “unwholesome.” – Independent Lens

Gregory W. Rutecki, MD writes about the forced sterilization of Native Americans, which persisted into the 1970s and 1980s, with examples of young women receiving tubal ligations when they were getting appendectomies. It’s estimated that as many as 25-50 percent of Native American women were sterilized between 1970 and 1976. Forced sterilization programs are also a part of history in Puerto Rico, where sterilization rates are said to be the highest in the world. – Independent Lens

In 1974, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Relf sisters, revealing that 100,000 to 150,000 poor people were being sterilized each year under federally-funded programs.

“The Black Man has never been a competitor, but has always been subservient to the white race. And just as long as he remains subservient, his position is secure, and just as soon as he becomes a competitor, his fate is sealed.” - Dr. Benjamin Hayes, Eugenicist, 1905

​Eugenics Compensation Act: In December 2015, the US Senate voted unanimously to help surviving victims of forced sterilization. North Carolina has paid $35,000 to 220 surviving victims of its eugenics program. Virginia agreed to give surviving victims $25,000 each.