G: Unfit

G: Unfit

Update: 2019-07-1791
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When a law student named Mark Bold came across a Supreme Court decision from the 1920s that allowed for the forced sterilization of people deemed “unfit,” he was shocked to discover that it had never been overturned. His law professors told him the case, Buck v Bell, was nothing to worry about, that the ruling was in a kind of legal limbo and could never be used against people. But he didn’t buy it. In this episode we follow Mark on a journey to one of the darkest consequences of humanity’s attempts to measure the human mind and put people in boxes, following him through history, science fiction and a version of eugenics that’s still very much alive today, and watch as he crusades to restore a dash of moral order to the universe.


This episode was produced by Matt Kielty, Lulu Miller and Pat Walters. 


You can pre-order Lulu Miller’s new book Why Fish Don’t Exist here.


Special thanks to Sara Luterman, Lynn Rainville, Alex Minna Stern, Steve Silberman and Lydia X.Z. Brown.


Radiolab’s “G” is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.










Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate

Comments (30)

Anne Foley

This story isn't so surprising to marginalized groups. Maybe I was just lucky to hear about it previously, but not so surprising.

Dec 11th
Reply (1)

g

how can Jad say Korematsu is irrelevant or just old bad law technically on the books when we have people in concentration camps now and a president who would like to overturn birthright citizenship? It sounds like he would love to round up all the American Citizen children of illegal immigrants one day. It's in the realm of possibility; or do I not understand Korematsu?

Aug 21st
Reply (2)

Holls Balls

If someone is fully unable to care for themselves or others (and could have sex by choice or god forbid rape) then it’s total reasonable and rational to do?!? That’s not eugenics, that’s protecting an innocent person and their potential offspring.

Jul 26th
Reply (1)

Holls Balls

Eugenics is bad.... but some people should not reproduce. Is that so crazy?

Jul 26th
Reply (2)

Gary North

I enjoyed this episode and then heard more about the court case on Hidden Brain. All the history that is never taught.

Jul 22nd
Reply (1)

L K

6:30 shows already that you guys dont understand natural selection at all.

Jul 18th
Reply (11)

Lara Day

the phone call @23:00 - jaw to floor holy crap

Jul 18th
Reply (3)

TurtleToast

Sending LOVE✌💙🐢

Jul 17th
Reply (1)
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G: Unfit

G: Unfit

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