Texas Liberal

All People Matter

People Believe Wild Things Because Nothing’s So Horrible It Can’t Be True

Blogger’s Note—I’m on a Summer Solstice blogging holiday. I’m re-running some posts for the next few days. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal. I’ll be back to regular posting soon.)  

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote about conspiracy theories many people believe.  

For example, 30% of black people believe it’s possible AIDS was deliberately manufactured to kill black folks.

This is held out as a crazy thing to think.

I don’t believe it myself.

But if you asked me if many white people and white politicians don’t care if poor urban black people live or die, I would say that’s correct.   

And plenty of black politicians don’t care either.  

In my own experience as a city council aide in Cincinnati, Ohio, I read the files of black cancer patients who had intentionally been given extra doses of radiation to see how they would react.

Get this—They suffered.  

Poor black people in cities, blacks and whites in rural areas, our colonized undocumented labor force, and poor people of all kinds, get inferior hospitals and inferior care.

When you ask black folks if AIDS was the work of government, maybe what you’re really asking if the government would do things that would kill people who look like you do.

“Yes” seems to be a logical reply.  

Mr. Kristoff says it is crazy that 36% of Americans believe that government orchestrated 9/11 or knew about it advance.  

Well—I’ve always thought that was a mistaken belief .

George W. Bush was intent on going to war in Iraq before 9/11. He did not need any provocation. 

What people know is that we lied about why we went to war, we did not give our troops the right equipment to save their lives, we sometimes kill innocent civilians, and that the troops sometimes get terrible care upon arriving back home.   

Did the government or President Bush know about 9/11 in advance? No. Is the government as led by President Bush capable of terrible acts that cause people to die? Sure–All the damned time.  

Mr. Kristoff mentions two other conspiracy theories in his column. 

One is that the levees in New Orleans were opened on purpose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This is not so.

Yet it had been known for years that the levees might not hold during a bad hurricane and that much of New Orleans was vulnerable. Then, after it was clear the disaster response was poor, President Bush said his FEMA director was doing a “heckuva job.”    

So why not figure that levees were opened by design? Is that much worse than the truth of the matter? 

Another view held by many is that crack cocaine was deliberately introduced into poor neighborhoods.

Now that one is crazy

These communities were already so flooded with alcohol, cigarettes, overpriced grocery stores offering little or no produce, bad schools and a host of other urban afflictions, why would you have to introduce something new to harm people?  

The history books tell us that we won our land in good part by exterminating the native population, and that we built up the land with the frequent and longtime use of slave labor.  

Our own experiences in life show us that our cities are left to rot year after year. And the poor are getting more poor even as the rich get richer.

So when you ask if the people in charge of our country, or others in positions of power, are capable of barbaric or even genocidal acts, why would many give any other reply than “yes.”

June 23, 2008 - Posted by | Hurricane Katrina, Politics | , , , , , ,


  1. After the Tuskegee experiment, I don’t blame African-Americans at all for believing things like the stuff about AIDS or the levees, or even the idea that 9/11 was an inside job. People who are poor and desperate, especially people in groups that have been historically mistreated as in the case of the Tuskegee experiment and the broader treatment of African-Americans throughout this country’s history, are susceptible to falling for conspiracy theories. The key to dealing with thinking like this is to deal with the underlying problems that lead people to think this way.

    Comment by Big Tex | June 23, 2008

  2. people are stupid, those were some great examples you just need to add the bible and you will be 100%!!!

    Comment by bill brady | June 28, 2008

  3. Tex—That’s right—It’s about the underlying issues. Thanks for the comments.

    Bill—I don’t think people are stupid. They are though often over-matched by life.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 28, 2008

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