Thursday, May 01, 2008

People believe strange and surprising things. Why would Rev. Wright be different?

According to Gallup, 6% of Americans believe that the Apollo Moon Landing was a hoax. Another 5% aren't sure.

A CNN/TIME poll shows that 80% of Americans think that the US Government is hiding the fact that it has knowledge of alien life.
Sixty-four percent of the respondents said that aliens have contacted humans, half said they've abducted humans, and 37 percent said they have contacted the U.S. government.

Huge numbers of Americans believe that UFO's are coming to earth and kidnapping humans.

Scientologists believe that L. Ron Hubbard's body is on a planet galaxies away from here, and that Xenu, head of the Galactic confederacy, was responsible for bringing billions of frozen humans to earth 75 million years ago.

16 % of the American people believe that the Collapse of the World Trade Centers was primarily accomplished by an intentional, controlled demolition, likely by the US Government.

49% of New York residents believed (in a poll in 2004) that the US Government knew ahead of time of the attack on the Twin Towers.
Over the years, 36-49% of Americans polled by Newsweek have believed that Sadaam Hussein was behind the attacks.

Scripps Howard found (Nov 23, 2007) that of 811 US adults,
42% think it likely or very likely that people in the US govt knew ahead of time about the assassination of JFK,
37% thought it likely or very likely that some people in the US Govt have proof of alien/UFO life.

Where people believe that UFOs are kidnapping humans, we know that Africans were kidnapped.
So it fascinates me that it surprises anyone that a leader in the African American community-- a community that has a collective history that includes, yes, kidnapping, slavery, lynching, murder, rape, exclusion and discrimination, less than average educational opportunity and greater than average incarceration rate, and medical experimentation without consent -- why is it surprising that this man might believe that the US Government introduced HIV to that community?

For goodness sake people. I don't have to believe this myself to understand how someone could! Frankly, I think it's more likely to be true than alien abduction, or ghosts or that Xenu planted humans in volcanoes 75 million years ago. No, change that. More likely to be true than alien abduction or Xenu, but less likely than the existence of ghosts.

This is not a fringe belief in our country, to be scoffed at by others, including Mr. Obama, but a belief we must acknowledge and grapple with what it means that, in fact, "A 2005 Rand Corp. survey found...that 15% of African Americans consider AIDS "a form of genocide against African Americans, and nearly 27% agreed that "AIDS was produced in a government laboratory." (Rosa Brooks, LA Times, Today)

This belief, unlike beliefs about UFO's or who killed JKF or MLK, this belief is one which contributes to killing people. A lack of realistic scientific understanding of the etiology and transmission of this disease is killing people. These kinds of beliefs can lead people to dismiss the basic behaviors they need to do to keep from getting HIV -- the use of barrier protection/condoms for all sexual activity. This kind of belief keeps people from going to the Dr early enough after infection to make appropriate use of the medication regimes available.

And this kind of belief, unlike aliens and their magic spaceships, can make people lose focus on their own bodies and health and prevention, and make them turn their heads and Look Over There at the Big Bad Government rather than thinking carefully about their next step with the hot guy next door who wants them.

(and just for fun, here's my favorite hot guy)

We know that Pres. Reagan tied the hands of his Surgeon General for five years.
Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." The president's advisers, Koop said, "took the stand, 'They are only getting what they justly deserve."
So, what is the distance between knowledge of apathy and inaction to belief that some people in the govt caused AIDS? A couple of inches? A Mile? Is it so hard to believe that some people might believe this? I think these are incredibly important questions. And Obama needs to take a speech and talk about HIV/AIDS again. Here (reprinted) is his HIV/AIDS Plan (I'd call it an overview more than a plan) the original pdf. is here. He can't just say that Wright is wrong, he needs to take a positive stand about this disease, and how it is ravaging people here in the US and around the world, needlessly, because people aren't protecting themselves.

What Rev. Wright said two days ago at the National Press Club: (whole transcript here) It was a good speech overall.

MODERATOR: In your sermon, you said the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. So I ask you: Do you honestly believe your statement and those words?

WRIGHT: Have you read Horowitz's book, "Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola," whoever wrote that question? Have you read "Medical Apartheid"? You've read it?

(UNKNOWN): Do you honestly believe that (OFF-MIKE)

WRIGHT: Oh, are you -- is that one of the reporters?

MODERATOR: No questions...


WRIGHT: No questions from the floor. I read different things. As I said to my members, if you haven't read things, then you can't -- based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.

In fact, in fact, in fact, one of the -- one of the responses to what Saddam Hussein had in terms of biological warfare was a non- question, because all we had to do was check the sales records. We sold him those biological weapons that he was using against his own people.

So any time a government can put together biological warfare to kill people, and then get angry when those people use what we sold them, yes, I believe we are capable.


Steve Caldwell said...

Cindy -- not to mention the 20th century history eugenics directed against black people in the US.

It happened enough that the slang term "Mississippi appendectomy" arose to describe involuntary hysterectomies and tubal ligations done on black women.

Steve Caldwell said...


Also a 2005 CBS news found that 51% of the public believed "God created humans in present form" in spite of all anthropology and molecular biology evidence to the contrary.

So Rev. Wright isn't alone in holding outlandish ideas.

Happy or Cranky Cindy said...

LOL Steve,

I was trying to avoid statements of belief about actual Deity-type figures ;-)

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Getting in on this rather late here, but the involuntary sterilization of Native American women only stopped(if indeed it has) in 1975. Furthermore, there is evidence of the intentional spread of smallpox among Native Americans. The government is certainly capable of great evil.