Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Senator Obama Condemns Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "Divisive and Destructive" Views

Senator Obama after he condemned the conspiracy thinking of his former minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Rev. Wright has claimed that the U.S. government made the AIDS virus to kill black people, although a State Department memo dated 1-14-2005 explains that in 1992, the head of Russia's foreign intelligence, Yevgeni Primakov, admitted right in Izvestia that the KGB had fabricated and circulated the lie that the U.S. had made AIDS.

This lie is extremely harmful because young blacks who believe that their government is trying to exterminate them may engage in destructive and unhealthy lifestyles.

If Rev. Wright were really speaking truth to power, he would denounce this vicious lie [see video] that is killing black young people. He would show them this State Department memo instead of making a lot of money by spreading lies.

Fox News (4-29-08) has a transcript of Senator Obama's press conference on Rev. Wright:

I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday...[Rev. Wright's] comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

...when [Rev. Wright] states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st centuries, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses.

They offend me. The rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

...Reverend Wright does not speak for me. He does not speak for our campaign. I cannot prevent him from continuing to make these outrageous remarks, but what I do want him to be very clear about, as well as all of you and the American people, is that when I say that I find these comments appalling, I mean it
[Full text].

I also heard Rev. Wright say on T.V. that the American government infected black men with syphilis in the Tuskegee Study.

The Tuskegee study was unethical, but the men were not infected with syphilis. They already had syphilis.

When the study started, treatments for syphilis were dangerous, and the scientists were trying to see if the men might be better off without treatment. After penicillin was available, the men should have been treated. The researchers also failed to obtain informed consent from their subjects. These medical practices were wrong, but the goal of the experiment was to study syphilis and cure it. The goal was never to use syphilis to exterminate black people.

An informative Washington Post article (1-25-05), published a few days after the State Department memo (1-14-05) that contained Primakov's admission explained:

More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic arrived in the United States, a significant proportion of African Americans embrace the theory that government scientists created the disease to control or wipe out their communities, according to a study released today by Rand Corp. and Oregon State University.

That belief markedly hurts efforts to prevent the spread of the disease among black Americans, the study's authors and activists said. African Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau figures, yet they account for 50 percent of new HIV infections in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said past discrimination is no longer an excuse for embracing conspiracies that allow HIV to fester.

"It's a huge barrier to HIV prevention in black communities," Wilson said. "There's an issue around conspiracy theory and urban myths. Thus we have an epidemic raging out of control, and African Americans are being disproportionately impacted in every single sense."

Black women made up 73 percent of new HIV cases among women in 2003, and black men represented 40 percent of new cases, according to the most recent federal figures available. Among gay men, blacks represented 30 percent of new infections, and adolescents ages 18 to 24 accounted for nearly 80 percent of new HIV cases.

"The whole notion of conspiracy theories and misinformation . . . removes personal responsibility," Wilson said. "If there is this boogeyman, people say, 'Why should I use condoms? Why should I use clean needles?' And if I'm an organization, 'Why should I bother with educating my folks?' The [Tuskegee]syphilis study was real, but it happened 40 years ago, and holding on to it is killing us."

Senator Obama has condemned Rev. Wright's conspiracy theories, but he didn't explain why Rev. Wright's conspiracy theories are untrue. Senator Obama only says that it is a "ridiculous proposition" that the U.S. government was "somehow...involved in AIDS."

I wish Senator Obama would explain to young black people where these lies about AIDS being "made in America" came from and that the American government and scientists are trying very hard to cure AIDS.

Perhaps if young people realize that their government is trying to help them, they will also help themselves by not engaging in dangerous behaviors that put them at risk for AIDS.

Here is a good government site that can educate people about AIDS research and prevention.


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