A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream
Directed by Stephanie Welch • Documentary • 2017 • 106 minutes
There is a dangerous idea that has threatened the American Dream from the very beginning. It is a strong current of biological determinism which views some groups, races and individuals as inherently superior to others and more deserving of fundamental rights. Despite the founders' assertion that 'all are created equal,' this idea was used to justify disenfranchising women, blacks and Native Americans from the earliest days of the Republic.
A DANGEROUS IDEA: EUGENICS, GENETICS AND THE AMERICAN DREAM reveals how this dangerous idea gained new traction in the 20th century with an increasing belief in the concept of an all-powerful 'gene' that predetermines who is worthy and who is not. The film reveals how this new genetic determinism provided an abhorrent rationale for state sanctioned crimes committed against America's poorest, most vulnerable citizens and for violations of the fundamental civil rights of untold millions.
Featuring interviews with social thinkers including Van Jones and Robert Reich as well as prominent scientists in many fields, A DANGEROUS IDEA is a radical reassessment of the meaning, use and misuse of gene science. Like no other film before it, this documentary brings to light how false scientific claims have rolled back long fought for gains in equality, and how powerful interests are poised once again to use the gene myth to unravel the American Dream.