Jeremiah Wright and Black Conspiracy Theories
Race; Posted on: 2008-03-26 12:32:22 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
The Peculiar Theology of Black Liberation
By Ian Jobling
Everyone knows that American culture abounds in conspiracy theories. However, the Jeremiah Wright affair has revealed that such theories are much more common and reputable in the black community than they are among whites. Many white commentators have confessed themselves shocked that a popular minister regularly told his congregation, which included a US senator, that the US government invented the AIDS virus in order to kill off blacks and had foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack. As Democratic consultant Susan Estrich writes:
"I know many Obama supporters who were deeply troubled by what they’ve been reading and seeing of the rants of his former pastor. It’s ugly stuff… It’s the kind of stuff that you know is out there, but you’d like to think of as being at the fringe, outside the realm of where decent people travel, confined to the margins of the blogosphere instead of the pulpit of a large and powerful Chicago church."
In fact, conspiracy theories are so rife in the black community that Wright’s beliefs stop just short of mainstream.
According to a 2005 study of black beliefs about AIDS:
* Half of blacks believe the AIDS virus is man-made.
* One quarter think it was fabricated in a government laboratory.
* Twelve percent think it was spread by the CIA.
* Fifteen percent believe AIDS is a form of genocide against blacks.
* Forty-four percent think the government is withholding the cure for AIDS from poor people.
Another 2005 study finds that 33 percent of blacks believe that the government uses them as guinea pigs to test new birth control methods.
Many black celebrities, politicians, and other VIPs have endorsed conspiracy theories:
* Steve Cokely, aide to the mayor of Chicago, said in 1989, “Jewish doctors were injecting black babies with AIDS.”
* Bill Cosby said in 1991 that AIDS was “started by human beings to get after certain people they don’t like.”
* Spike Lee claimed in 1992 that the government had created AIDS to wipe out blacks, Hispanics, and gays. He wrote in Rolling Stone magazine, “I’m convinced AIDS is a government-engineered disease. They got one thing wrong, they never realized it couldn’t just be contained to the groups it was intended to wipe out. So, now it’s a national priority. Exactly like drugs became when they escaped the urban centers into white suburbia.”
* Actor Will Smith said in 1999, “Possibly AIDS was created as a result of biological-warfare testing.”
* In 2004, Kenyan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai said, “I may not be able to say who developed the (HIV) virus but it was meant to wipe out the black race.”
Other black politicians and celebrities have stated that the CIA encourages the spread of drugs in black communities in order to undermine it. Jesse Jackson, for example, said that the CIA “was involved in subsidizing drugs.” Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters has also endorsed this theory.
One common form of black conspiracy theory posits that the KKK is adulterating products consumed by blacks in order to cause sterility. As Daniel Pipes writes:
"In a minor but indicative example, a new and inexpensive drink named Tropical Fantasy appeared throughout the northeastern United States in September 1990 and sold extremely well in low-income neighborhoods during the next half year. The fact that most of its Brooklyn, New York, employees were black made the beverage the more appealing. But anonymous leaflets turned up in black areas in early 1991, warning that the soft drink was manufactured by the Ku Klux Klan and contained “stimulants to sterilize the black man.” Although journalistic and police investigations found this accusation to be completely fraudulent, it struck a chord among consumers, and sales plummeted by 70 percent. Other products, including Kool and Uptown cigarettes, Troop Sport clothing, Church’s Fried Chicken, and Snapple soft drinks, suffered from similar slanders about the KKK and causing impotence, and they too went into a commercial tailspin."
News Source: Ian Jobling