Eugenics were primarily used to “improve the genetic composition of the human race” (“Introduction to Eugenics”). Traits were selectively breed to make the human race better. Many people felt that being Deaf was not a desirable trait and through selective breeding they could get rid of it. They didn’t understand that being Deaf wasn’t something the person could control. Deaf people were not allowed to marry or have children because people were afraid they would have more deaf people
Eugenics was also used in the hope that undesirable diseases would be breed out of the gene pool. But not all diseases are genetic and can’t just be breed out. Diseases like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are not genetic. They are caused by mutations of certain genes. For other diseases, the cause is unknown and those diseases can’t just be breed out. These diseases have unknown causes and eugenics isn’t going to do anything if the cause of the disease is unknown. You can’t breed out a disease if you don’t know where it came from.
People were either encouraged to breed or they were discouraged. If a person(s) had desirable traits, they were more likely to be encouraged to breed with someone that had similar desirable traits. On the other hand, if a person had undesirable traits, they were discouraged from breeding at all. This made it really hard for Deaf people to marry and have children because they were greatly discouraged from doing so. Many famous people supported eugenics, but it wasn’t just about destroying undesirable traits. For them, it was about making the human race better. That was the goal of eugenics. Like many other sciences and even government systems, the idea sounds really good on paper and many people are willing to try it. But, because we are all human and we can become corrupt and make mistakes, once the science was beginning to be put into practice, it didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.
Before the eugenics movement, Plato wrote, “The good must be paired with the good, and the bad with the bad, and the offspring of the one must be reared and of the other destroyed; in this way the flock will be preserved in prime condition'(Goldfarb). It’s very similar to natural selection. In the wild, animals that are weak or have deformities of any kind are usually the first to be killed by predators. That was the thought with eugenics. The weak and those with deformities or other undesirable traits were “breed out”. It wasn’t that people were trying to make other people feel bad or that they didn’t want these people to have families, it was more that they didn’t want to have a bunch of people that had specific problems. They were trying to limit how much people would be suffering because of inherited traits. But not all suffering is caused by traits that are inherited by a person’s ancestry.