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Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2022

The perception of human disability has swayed over time and was incredibly volatile when discussed in different cultures, religions, and social contexts. However, with the first publishing of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the Social Darwinism perspective has negatively impacted those with disabilities, ranging from physical to cognitive (Marini et al., 2011). He did this by equating those with intellectual disabilities as the link between current-day humans and earlier primates. This view enforced the then prevalent and detrimental perception of the disabled as not “wholly” human and inferior compared to others.

The Jukes and Kallikaks families were studied to find the relation between genetics and certain undesired behaviors, such as criminality, “feeble-mindedness” and poverty lifestyles. However, both studies resulted in uncertain and biased results. A substantial amount of variables swayed the experiments as well as numerous researchers and their differing approaches to the study. The Jukes were assessed on their ‘criminality’ through genetics but variables of the environment were not accounted for. Additionally, a significant number of individuals that were studied, were not related to each other or the original family. In the case of the Kallikaks, many external factors such as malnutrition were unaccounted for. The accuracy of the experiments is doubtful with many aliases used, recordings of data manipulation, and even practice of religion and pseudoscience as valid research tools.

The segregation of the disabled community from the rest of society is a harmful notion. It is often perpetrated by isolation, unwillingness to obtain knowledge regarding disabilities, and reliance on inaccurate scientific data as the reason for the superiority of able-bodied individuals. In addition, connecting behavior such as the likeliness of criminality to genetics is incorrect and damaging not only to the individual but to a community and society as a whole. Such negative perspectives can lead to the limitation of the rights of disabled people. It can also cause them harm or abuse within their living and family spaces. Lastly, it segregates them from society and minimizes diversity and equal opportunity.

Reference

Marini, I., Glover-Graf, N., M., & Millington, M., J. (2011). Psychosocial aspects of disability: Insider perspectives and strategies for counselors. Springer Publishing Company.

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"Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities." IvyPanda, 22 June 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-social-darwinism-on-the-perception-of-human-disabilities/.

1. IvyPanda. "Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities." June 22, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-social-darwinism-on-the-perception-of-human-disabilities/.


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IvyPanda. "Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities." June 22, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-social-darwinism-on-the-perception-of-human-disabilities/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities." June 22, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-social-darwinism-on-the-perception-of-human-disabilities/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Impact of Social Darwinism on the Perception of Human Disabilities'. 22 June.

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