Friday, April 6, 2007
Hernández on the Repression of Radical Immigrant Birth Control Advocates at the Turn of the Century
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Boston College, has posted a new paper, Of Inferior Stock: The Two-Pronged Repression of Radical Immigrant Birth Control Advocates at the Turn-of-The-Century. Here's the abstract: The history of birth control advocacy in the USA at the turn of the twentieth century is well known. So too is the federal government's attempt to quash radical political organizing during this period. This paper explores these well-known historical phenomena as they operated on radical immigrant birth control advocates at the turn-of-the-century. By combining the threat of criminal prosecution with the ability to deport immigrants, the federal government brought a two-pronged attack on immigrant subversive political activists that was not available against “native” (i.e., considered to be white) activists. This paper argues that the legal suppression of radical immigrant birth control advocates derived from an intensely racist desire to protect the nation's alleged racial purity. In this zeal, “foreign” was identified with language, ideology, class, and appearance, and anyone marked as “foreign,” regardless of formal citizenship, was denied the protections of social and legal citizenship and therefore eligible to be targeted for deportation.