I must confess reading Michael Crichton's State of Fear has been rewarding in terms of number of new ideas I was exposed to. One of the ideas that was discussed was Eugenics. This topic was not part of the plot but was a part if apendix where Author discusses why science should not be politicized.
Reading this I realized how ingrained Racisim was just a century back. Everyone was embracing it with open hands. I would say it was the fashion statement of the time just like Global Warming now and Cold War before. Eveybody talked about it in such a manner that the point is so obvious that you must be dumb with an IQ just below that of retarted algae to not realize the point.
Its just after the act that we realize how incredibly cruel or biased or foolish our views are. Be it colloseum's during Roman times or Eugenics or Cold War.