Helen Keller, who was born deaf and blind, has become an inspiration to people all over the world for her perseverance in the face of hardship. However, in recent discussions, claims that Keller had racist sentiments have emerged, leading to a contentious reevaluation of her legacy. The purpose of this article is to shed light on these accusations by investigating the background, Keller’s personal convictions, and her political philosophy.
Helen Keller’s ties to the American Eugenics Society, which promoted the use of selective breeding to better the human race, are at the heart of the racist accusations leveled against her. Since the eugenics movement went on to be adopted by racist and fascist parties like Nazi Germany, Keller’s support for them has been met with criticism. It should be noted, however, that back in Keller’s day, many people saw eugenics not as a racist or discriminating doctrine, but as a forward-thinking scientific undertaking.
Keller was deeply committed to social justice movements, as seen by her ideas and deeds. Keller, as a Socialist Party member and supporter of workers’ rights, demonstrated an awareness of the structural factors that foster inequality. She spoke out strongly against racism, especially in the South, and against the genocide of Native Americans.
The fact that Keller collaborated with civil rights leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois provides more evidence that she was not a racist. Working with people like Du Bois and other leading Black thinkers of the period shows that she has empathy for and is aware of the challenges faced by the African American community.
Keller, like many historical individuals, was a product of her period, and it’s vital to keep that in mind when appreciating her achievements. It’s likely that the prevalent ideas and biases of her day shaped her perspective. Still, it’s not enough to look at her beliefs and behaviors in isolation; the whole picture has to be analyzed.
Helen Keller’s alleged racism is multidimensional and convoluted, begging for a nuanced examination of her worldview and deeds. Concerns about her membership in the American Eugenics Society are warranted, but a more comprehensive look at her life’s work reveals a dedication to social justice and equality. To create a well-rounded understanding of Keller’s impact, it is vital to take a comprehensive approach that takes into account both her innovative work and her contentious associations. It’s evident that her tale may spark meaningful conversations about racism, disability, and the intricacies of human belief, even if the dispute rages on.
The following readings are suggested for anyone interested in learning more about this subject:
- Hermann, Dorothy. “Helen Keller: A Life.” Dated 1999 by the University of Chicago Press.
- Joseph P. Lash wrote “Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy.” 1980, Delacorte Press.
- The name of the author is Nielsen, Kim E. New York University Press, 2004. “The Radical Lives of Helen Keller.”
- 1903 edition of Helen Keller’s autobiography, “The Story of My Life.”
- Author Martin S. Pernick wrote “The Black Stork: Eugenics and the Death of “Defective” Babies in American Medicine and Motion Pictures since 1915.” It was released by Oxford University Press in 1996.