“Low mentality” and “criminal tendencies”: Race, crime and disability in the politics of Latino men’s reproduction: “Baja mentalidad” y “tendencias criminales”: La raza, el crimen y la discapacidad en la política reproductiva hacia el hombre latino

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Abstract

This paper combines insights from scholarship on disability, criminalization, and the politics of reproduction to glean the contours of a politics of Latino men’s reproduction. Young Mexican-origin men’s experiences of institutionalization and eugenic sterilization in California during the early twentieth century are analyzed using a historical journal and sterilization data from one state institution. I contend that criminalization and disability were central components in a process of gendered racialization that marked young Mexican-origin men as requiring reproductive constraint. Centering these boys in the history of eugenic sterilization, this research both broadens the racial and gendered analysis and offers new insight on the way that institutionalization itself was used to manage reproduction. Moreover, this paper establishes connections between this history and contemporary carceral practices that continue to be sustained by ideologies of race, disability, and gender, thereby perpetuating reproductive injustices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-333
Number of pages24
JournalLatino Studies
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Criminalization
  • Disability
  • Eugenics
  • Reproduction
  • Sterilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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