TW: eugenics, biological views of race, dehumanizing racist rhetoric, policing female sexuality, physical and mental abilism, coerced sterilization
Bryan Fischer has been one of many contributors to the growing presence of cultural racism in the past decade. As noted yesterday, this has particularly come in the form of “Western” Christian-influenced demands for assimilation of Native Americans, Muslims, and other groups to his cultural norms. In spite of this form of racism being very modern and “in vogue”, given the War on Terror, his word choices have revealed at times a passion for a less current variant of racism. Fischer has spoken of Muslims’ “darkened, benighted lands” and Native Americans’ “savagery” – revealing his penchant for an older language of racism, even if used in a more contemporary strategy.
In a few additional statements, however, it becomes clear that Fischer hasn’t just contributed to the recent wave of cultural racism, particularly targeting Muslims, but has been keeping alive earlier biology-heavy racist arguments. This, much like the eugenics of old, comes in the form of pseudo-scientific racism, that focuses (with anecdotes and poorly sourced facts, it should always be remembered) on birth rates, on sexuality, and on intermarriage. From that horrible, unfortunately unforgotten place has come the idea, which Fischer promotes, that Black Americans “rut like rabbits” and consequently have abused and overloaded welfare programs (which he likewise claims “incentivized [sic] fornication rather than marriage”). The sheer gall necessary to refer to Black Americans in such terms, as subhuman animals mainly concerned with sexual gratification, is nauseating. Fischer has since modestly edited his statements in response to public outcry. You can read his now modified article here.
Fischer works with this neo-eugenic view of fertility and race to reach multiple conclusions – not only condemning entire racial groups for failing his purity tests, but also questioning their collective usefulness to his politics. His fretting about the “illegitimacy” rate within the Latin@ community and how that reduces their capacity to fit his narrow definition of “pro-family” is a striking example of the latter. Fischer explains “the illegitimacy rate among Hispanic women is over 50%. I’m not sure pro-family values are as strong in the Hispanic community as Dr. Land [a pro-immigration social conservative] wants to believe“. There’s potent slut-shaming in these statements which fits into this larger paranoia over what ethnic groups are having the most babies, which clearly (in Fischer’s mind) relates to marriage, the role of women, and sexual propriety. In spite of the differences in description, Fischer again defines an entire racial group (of course, never Whites, though) within terms of fertility and sexuality.
(Bryan Fischer is hardly the first to believe that “inferior” humans are out-breeding their “betters” as this poster from Philadelphia in 1926 shows. Originally from page 219 of Transforming Better Babies into Fitter Families.)
In keeping with his contemporary islamophobia, however, Fischer mixes these traditional “farm animal” comparisons of the “stock” of people of color with a new racist concern about individuals of Middle Eastern ancestry. Based on Nicolai Sennels’ crackpot “research” (more accurately described as irrational, baseless claims about Muslims, more on that here), Fischer parrots that “massive inbreeding in Muslim culture[s] may well have done virtually irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health“.
This nonsense is the perfect “intellectual” framework within which to raise the historic concerns that people of color had racially-determined lower intelligence quotients (IQ), and Fischer doesn’t fail to argue as well that uncited “research shows that children of consanguinous [intra-family] marriages lose 10-16 points off their IQ and that social abilities develop much slower in inbred babies”. He likewise implies that children of (ancestral) Muslims are more likely to suffer from cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and other genetic disorders. He ties this to not only physical disabilities but also mental ones, obliquely arguing “[t]he closer the blood relative [presumably in marriage], the higher the risk of schizophrenic illness [presumably in children]”. Fischer clearly believes (as he’s recently restated these opinions about everyone of Middle Eastern or Central Asian descent, available here) that Muslims aren’t merely ideologically dangerous but are also genetically contaminating.
From these momentary slips in his longer racist screeds it becomes clear that the modern feel of Fischer’s racism is more than cosmetic, but has been grafted onto arguments so clearly lifted from eugenic theories. His arguments may have a primarily cultural orientation and show a fixation on conversion and assimilation, but they hold the same concern for controlling (primarily female) sexuality so that it creates outcomes based on an individual’s race and class. He holds the same paranoia of those who are physically or mentally different – treating them as contaminating elements to the population that should be geographically segregated. His solutions are ostensibly different from historical eugenicists’ – mostly in that he concludes these screeds with the same inevitable call for conversion to Christianity rather than coerced sterilization or wholesale genocide. His solutions are, nonetheless, terrifyingly vague and I think there’s valid room for worry about where he runs with these ideas. Even if he doesn’t come to the same conclusions as his historical precedents, until he changes those underlying ideas about people of color, disabled people, and women, he will lend credence to policies that are openly hostile to them.
This is the second of four posts as part of Bryan Fischer Week, in which I hope to lay out that Bryan Fischer is among the worst human beings on the planet, a terrifying influence on the United States’ body politic, and a threat to the security of a sizable chunk of the country’s population