Do you remember the Jeremiah Wright Reverend Wright controversy last year? If not, here’s a youtube video of his famous “God damn America sermon” that forced Obama’s race speech last year.
This represented well some of the conspiracy theories that subsections of the Black community believe. It’s hard to understand how anyone could believe such conspiracy theories if you don’t know a lot about Black history.
This summer, I worked on a story about black pro-life groups, and found that many of them believed legalized abortion was a plot against Blacks. Everyone I interviewed mentioned Margaret Sanger and her racist views. One person mentioned that a lot of Black pro-lifers believe that Planned Parenthood deliberately targets Blacks.
At first, they sounded a bit out there, but as I dug into the history of Margaret Sanger, and her racist and pro-eugenics views, I understood why they believe that.
In 1939, she worked on something called the “Negro project.” In a memorandum, she wrote:
We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.
Little wonder many Blacks think Planned Parenthood sets up shop in Black neighborhoods for the purpose of exterminating Black babies.
Or take the example of AIDS. A 2005 study by RAND and Oregon State University showed that a majority of blacks believed that a cure for AIDS was being withheld from the poor; that nearly half believed that AIDS was man-made, with a quarter believing that it was created in a U.S. government laboratory and 12 percent naming the CIA as its source.
This seems crazy until you read about the Tuskegee experiments. For 40 years, starting in 1932, the public health service studied Black men who had syphilis. Medicine was withheld from the men since health officials wanted to see how the disease spread, and how it affected people. When you add this to a history of slavery and segregation, it becomes easy to see how Blacks—especially older ones— could think the government is out to get them.
That history is where Black paranoia comes from.