In an otherwise non-political quiz, a biology professor at Gettysburg College asked her students to define President Donald Trump in a multiple-choice question, with the correct answer being that Trump is a “eugenicist.”
“Trump is a ____?” the question asked. If students clicked on “Eugenicist” as their answer, they were provided an explanation that defined the term as “the ‘science’ of human improvement through better breeding. It was discredited in 1939 but Trump thinks he’s smart because his uncle was an MIT professor and healthy because he has good genes – we don’t know if he’s healthy, they haven’t released the results of his last check-up.”
“He’s orange,” concluded the statement.
Screenshots of the quiz were provided to the Young America’s Foundation through its Campus Bias Tip Line. The sender wished to remain anonymous. YAF reported the other four questions on the quiz were about “actual biology concepts such as pleiotropy, heritability, and twins.”
Gettysburg declined to comment on the quiz but told YAF that its Office of the Provost “plan[s] to investigate this in a timely manner.”
“This absurd accusation by a professor of higher education should not go unchallenged. Ferster’s ideological biases are shining through in a BIOLOGY class– where politics should have no relevance. Ridiculously invoking the President replaces education with indoctrination,” wrote YAF’s Kara Zupkus.
Many people have claimed they have good genes without buying into the eugenics movement, so it is odd (but not surprising) that a professor would declare Trump to be a eugenicist for a few offhand remarks.
It is especially odd given there is a famous example of a person who openly supported the eugenics movement: Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
Sanger bought into the movement while pushing the use of birth control in the early half of the 20th Century. Sanger preached eugenics, advocating for “the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
In July 2020, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced it would remove Sanger’s name from its Manhattan clinic due to her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement.” The New York Times reported at the time that the group also said it would talk to city leaders to possibly replace Sanger’s name from the street sign near their offices.
“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” said Karen Seltzer, who chairs the Planned Parenthood of Great New York’s board.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America released a fact sheet in 2016 condemning some of Sanger’s belief while ultimately arguing she was well-intentioned. Among the beliefs the group condemned was Sanger’s attempts to sterilize the disabled, banning disabled immigrants, and for wanting to place “so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends on farms and in open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”
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