Wicked Silence Film Analysis

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Wicked Silence is a short documentary that focuses on the 7600 forced sterilizations that occurred in North Carolina even after World War II, making North Carolina among the worst in state sterilization programs. The film began with a forum for victims and their family members, in which the audience is introduced to the concept of feeblemindedness as the criterion that the Eugenics Board of North Carolina used to target victims for these forced and coerced sterilizations. Social workers would target people and form petitions based on this for the “operation of sterilization or asexualization by the Eugenics Board of North Carolina” (Haq, YouTube, Wicked Silence), most often not obtain consent from the patients, and send the cases to Raleigh…show more content…
With regard to coercion, North Carolina’s Commissioner of Public Welfare urged the state to follow up with people who were receiving assistance from the Aid to Dependent Child Program (243). This program targeted people who were already sterilized to see if other family members would also benefit (243) as was the case with Ann. These people were taken advantage of and their natural ability to have children was taken away from them under the guise of ridding the population of unfavorable characteristics that these people just so happened to have. They were also subject to immense psychological, emotional, and physical harm for seemingly no reason. Doctors must recite and uphold the Hippocratic Oath which states that one must “do no harm” and ethics was a large topic of debate during the 1960s and early 70s after a slew of unethical experiments had taken place i.e. The Humphreys, Stanford, and Milgram’s studies. I would assume that as a result, the same practices and increased ethical standards would be demonstrated in hospitals in the later years, but when dealing with low income people and people of color, the same standards do not seem to hold. Even today, there are instances of forced sterilizations in the United States, specifically in the United States prison systems as well as many other unethical practices taking
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