Eugenics enforced ideas of superiority in the human race and made people view themselves and others based on their genetics.

People who did not conform to the “social norm” were institutionalized. Institutions, which grew in popularity in the 18th century, were facilities where people (mostly people with disabilities) were taken to live. In some cases, people in institutions were abandoned by their family. They were often housed in large buildings, located far from cities. The most common minority that were taken to institutions were people with disabilities.

Institutionalization of children was either orchestrated by the government or, for children with disabilities, by their family or doctors. In many cases, families believed that they were making the beneficial choice for their child, but were unaware of what was going on behind closed doors. In 1966, a book called “Christmas in Purgatory” was published. The author (Burton Blatt) was able to take photographic evidence of institutions and later recorded his findings in a book. The book concluded that the institutions that Blatt visited were places where children were mistreated and abused.

Institutionalized children were either given no education, or attended segregated schools within the institution. This only re-enforced stereotypical thinking and eugenics. People in institutions were sterilized, and unable to have children because of genetic bias and social configuration of “normality”.

In recent history, institutions and segregated schools still exist, although some countries have banned them. In fact, Italy has banned institutions and special schools since the 1970s and all children with disabilities attend regular schools.

Classification of people with intellectual disability by the national committee for mental hygiene.
Students from Sir James Mitchell School for Children with Cerebal Palsy (Western Australia).
Burton Blatt’s photographic essay of institutions in Eastern USA “Christmas in Purgatory” (1966)
Classification of people with intellectual disability with specific abilities attributed to each category.
The Provincial Training School in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, which opened in 1923.