A Dangerous Idea
Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream
Examines the history of the US eugenics movement and its recent resurrection, which uses false scientific claims and holds that an all-powerful "gene" determines who is worthy and who is not.
Directed by Stephanie Welch
Produced by Stephanie Welch, N. Jed Riffe
Executive Producers: Mary R. Morgan, Andrew Kimbrell
Writers: Stephanie Welch, Andrew Kimbrell
Editors: Maureen Gosling, Sara Maamouri, Stephanie Welch
Composer: Jonathan Zalban
Creative Director/Associate Producer: Ann Skinner-Jones
Consulting Producer: Bertram Verhaag
Narrator: Neil Harvey
A Paragon Media production in association with Denkmal Film
Accepting pre-release orders now!
"In this time of false facts and backlash against a new equality, A DANGEROUS IDEA should be required viewing." Gloria Steinem
Note: DVD can be played in two 53-minute parts for classroom and other uses.
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.
Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2017
Copyright Date: 2017
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-97-1
"Yes, this is a dangerous idea--and if you want to better understand why, watch this film and see the history, development and presentation of this idea that there is a book of life, a program that determines, from the moment of conception, all that we are and can be. It is indeed one of the more dangerous ideas humans have come up with."
Barbara Katz Rothman, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York, Author, The Book of Life: A Personal and Ethical Guide to Race, Normality and the Implications of the Human Genome Project
"The never-ending challenge with eugenics is making that abhorrent history relevant to a contemporary audience. A Dangerous Idea meets that challenge by showing how the very same biological justifications of inequality that were used in the past to justify involuntary sterilization, slavery, and genocide are employed in the 21st century to justify anti-immigration policies, the gender pay gap, and racial health disparities. As modern science and modern medicine focus more and more on genetics, A Dangerous Idea reminds viewers that this obsession with genetics is employed by many to promote a vision of society made up of biological 'haves' and 'have nots'."
Dr. James Tabery, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Author, Beyond Versus: The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture
"A Dangerous Idea is not only rich historic storytelling but an important reminder about the connection between science and equality; a subject that couldn't be more relevant. This film should be shown in schools as it is ripe for intense discussion and needs to be seen by as wide an audience as possible."
Aaron Leventman, Director of Programming, Santa Fe Film Festival
"An effective dissection of the genetic determinist worldview, rising again in new garb and aided by the Trump Administration. This documentary provides a timely rebuttal to those who continue to embrace this dogma, and offers a critique that both Liberals and Conservatives can readily converge behind."
Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney
"Extremely timely because of the new Trump administration and the threat of a new biologically determined politics. Trump takes an almost social Darwinian view of immigrants, women, people living in poverty and others. And that's dangerous."
Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California - Berkeley, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
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DVD can be played in two 53-minute parts for classroom and other uses.
Scene selection and SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
The Film's Website
Awards and Festivals
Best Documentary, Santa Fe Film Festival
American Psychological Association Film Festival
Savannah Film Festival
Red Rock Film Festival
Coronado Island Film Festivall
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