In his 2005 hit, “Heard Em’ Say,” Kanye West rhymed:
“And I know the government administered AIDS/ So I guess we just pray like the minister say.”
Kanye’s not the only black person who believes the Feds are behind this devastating disease.
The Rand Corporation reported in a study that, of the 500 black participants they surveyed on whether AIDS was man-made, half answered yes.
Back in 1995, Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, Minister of Health for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, called for a congressional investigation on the subject.
“We know from the Congressional Record that money was appropriated for the creation of artificial biological agents to defeat the human immune system. This took place in July of 1969. Ten million dollars was allocated to the U.S. Army. So… let there be hearings to uncover the files,” CNN quoted Dr. Muhammad.
Here is a rundown of a few theories that have kept the AIDS conspiracy merry-go-round spinning:
1) God Is Punishing You
The late Jerry Falwell not only felt that gays and lesbians were responsible for 9/11, he argued that AIDS was God’s punishment for them as well. “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals,” Fallwell said, “it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
2) Laboratory Accident
British journalist Edward Hooper claimed in his book, The River, that Dr. Hilary Koprowski of the Wistar Research Institute unintentionally created AIDS by using chimp kidneys to produce an oral polio vaccine, according to a 2008 Slate article.
3) The Government Is Trying To Kill Black People
A more recent claim that AIDS was government-sponsored came from the pulpit of President Barack Obama’s former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. During a sermon, Wright blasted the U.S. government for “inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”
4) What Virus?
In 1996, University of California-Berkeley professor Peter Duesberg claimed that AIDS is connected to recreational drug use and that HIV is harmless.
Does Any Of This Matter?
Whether or not the government manufactured AIDS, the illness is ravaging the black community in the most devastating fashion.
Blacks make up only 12% of the U.S. population, but account for 44 percent of new HIV infections, according to a recent study by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The study also reports that black women account for 57 percent of new HIV infections and that their incident rate is 15 times more than that of white women. Black teens between the ages of 13-19 account for 68 percent of new AIDS cases despite only making up 17 percent of the teen population.
Given these devastating numbers, are conspiracy theories even relevant? Do you feel conspiracy theories harm efforts to fight HIV-AIDS in the black community?