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North Carolina’s Reparations for Eugenic Victims Debate


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COE Professor weighs in on North Carolina’s Reparations
for Eugenic Victims Debate

COLLEGE PARK, MD (January, 2012) –Between the years of 1929 and 1974, an estimated 7,600 people were sterilized, many against their will, in the state of North Carolina. An estimated 2,000 of these victims may still be alive today. This injustice was not limited to North Carolina; in fact, 33 states sponsored similar programs as part of a national movement known as eugenics.

Dr. Steve Selden, professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, Policy and Leadership, explains that the national eugenics movement was about altering the gene pool and eliminating people who spoke, looked or behaved differently.

North Carolina is one of the few states to apologize formally for this atrocity (in 2002) and the first state to consider reparations to surviving victims. A five–member task force created last year, has met over the past 10 months and is recommending $50,000 in compensation to the victims.

Dr. Selden an expert on the history of eugenics and author of the book “Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America” was recently featured in a CNN article discussing North Carolina’s recommendation for compensation to the victims.

Selden said $50,000 is a substantial amount that carries symbolic significance. But, he believes paying any amount can be part of an ethical slippery slope that allows a price to be assigned to something that’s priceless.

“It’s a bad idea,” he said, “because paying victims can start to seem like an easy way out.”

To read the full story on the CNN blog, please click here.



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